A Letter To A Channel Partner

Make THINGS Happen.

Customers are becoming increasingly distrustful of sales people. I’ve written about this before. Why? Because everyone is a skeptic…especially in today’s world of MASSIVE access to information. They just don’t believe you, and won’t until they have decided for themselves that what you are selling can do what is needed to solve a problem they have.

So…how do you deal with this? Well…one way is to leverage a channel partner, a re-seller or solutions integrator. They have relationships with a lot of the customers you are trying to connect with…and have avenues of entry that are different from yours. The question is, how do you leverage it effectively?

Have A Plan…And Share It

You can’t expect anyone to build your plan for you. If you are looking for someone to help you, then you need to add value to that resource. Put it down on paper. Write it in a note. Give it to your partner. It sets an expectation and provides an opportunity for the partner to evaluate and agree.

Below is an email I used to engage a partner to commit to a MASSIVE ACTION campaign. I had floated the idea for weeks…and when it came down to nailing a date, I wrote a note that fleshed out the WHAT and showed the thought behind it. I knew I needed help…and I needed them to know that we would be working together and not expecting the partner to shoulder the load. Maybe this will help you build your own plan. Names have been changed.

Email To DataViz Partners

Dear Joe,

I’ve been talking about initiating a program with my team to help them cover their entire territory for a while now — and I know that DataViz Partners can be a big piece of that. I have asked Zane and Marcy to share details with your team about their entire territory — to show you all of the accounts they cover —and choose a set of targets that we both want to cover with a campaign that includes consistent touch points.

The main messages we want to share with these customers are:

  • That we are focused on these targets / industries for a reason.
  • That we are working with our target customers to learn about their current challenges — whatever they may be — we have experience to share with them — We need to be curious!
  • That we would like to learn about how they are trying to address these challenges — reporting/analytics/visualization, etc…why they need it, why they don’t have it…what prevents them from having it now…how they are leveraging data — or not…what’s their cloud strategy. (How can we dig better?)
  • That we can offer an opinion on what — if any — solutions they are looking at, have looked at, and are unaware of.
  • That we want to help them quantify the value of the challenge they have…and the value of a solution — (how can we best deliver that message?)

Ultimately — I’d like Zane and Marcy to — Establish a goal of what we both want to accomplish.

To help facilitate this, I’d like us to meet and agree to a set of sequential events/touch points with the targets over an 8–12 week period to reach into as many line of business contacts as we can find, to:

  • Create an awareness of who we are.
  • Understand their needs
  • Identify a set of marketing materials from XYZ Corp and DataViz Partners that we can leverage (Links, Use Cases, events, webinars, articles, blog posts…) to share with these targets over the course of the campaign — to address those needs.
  • Engage via social media — everyone participates, LinkedIn, beBee, Twitter, Blog — develop an echo chamber

During this meeting, we will start the process to:

  • Clearly identify the targets — who, why and how you expect to reach them — what number works for BOTH parties?
  • Determine Industry, Line of Business, Existing Customers, New customers…be specific — who does what to profile the account.
  • Identify who on your team is involved — what their role is, and what they will be doing — what each will be responsible for.
  • What we would like from channel partnership and need agreement — Outline a plan of weekly action.
  • Define what success looks like — Define what failure looks like.
  • Agree upon initial metrics, and manage to them — determine tracking mechanism and stick to it. Do this for a long enough period to prove success/failure.
  • Follow up process with specific expectations — what happens when you get a bite?

I’m looking forward to this!


I hope this was helpful and gives you something to work with.  If you find it relevant, please feel free to share.

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A Letter To A Channel Partner

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