Businesses should (but often don’t) understand that working with a channel is a huge commitment. Like selling directly to customers, building a successful relationship with channel partners requires an understanding of several unique variables.
- Do you know the difference between a channel goal and a channel strategy?
- Does your business have both a channel goal and channel strategy firmly set into place? What are they?
- Does your entire company know and understand the channel strategy?
- Is your product ready for the channel?
- Are you prepared to support your partners differently than your end-users?
- Does your company’s marketing message support or complement your channel marketing message?
- Are your executives competent and confident enough to support your channel strategy and marketing message?
Most importantly: How well do you understand your end-user?
You should be well aware of your end-users’ business needs, transactional behaviors, product preferences, and service needs—and segment your end-users by this data. By doing so, you can select channel partners that are relevant to the end user. And, just as you segment your end users based on their individual characteristics, you should segment your products and channels. By doing this (and answering the questions above), you’ll be ready to build a channel partnership that is uniquely tailored to your product, end-users, and goals. And isn’t that the whole point?