Is Your IT Company Really Channel-Ready for 2016?

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s a great time to assess what worked well and where you could have done a better job in supporting your channel partners to ensure their success with your products.   From my experience in the channel, I know there’s always room for improvement as technology and our companies evolve.   So how do you assess your Channel Readiness for 2016?

2105 was clearly a year of Channel Transformation, driven by the ongoing IT Transformation from on-premise technologies to the cloud. VARs moved towards managed service models and MSPs began providing more advanced SaaS offerings including Analytics, Disaster Recovery, Security, and Mobility as a Service.

According to the article, 2016 channel trends: Digital transformation to alter relationships, by Lynn Haber, partner transformation remains at the top of the list of channel trends in 2016. Are you prepared as a vendor to help your partners transform their business to be successful in selling your products?

Look across your organization at each functional area to assess your company’s Channel Readiness for 2016. Here are some questions you should be asking:

Channel Managers
• Have you assessed the sales, marketing, and technical capabilities of each of your partners?
• Have you mapped out a training and enablement plan that meets the specific needs of each partner?
• Are you ready to help your partners determine how your product fits into their overall value add to their clients?
• Do you have a Partner Program in place that will support your current partners and help you recruit the new partners needed to achieve your goals?

• Does your social media marketing support your channel partners or only drive more direct business?
• Does your co-marketing program allow your partners to promote their own brands and value add?
• Have you developed your 2016 campaigns, promotions, and events to involve and support your current partners and help recruit new partners?

• Are you prepared to engage your partners earlier in the sales cycle to help their sales reps gain the skills needed to sell your solutions?
• Are your compensation plans set up to encourage channel sales over closing business directly?
• Can you articulate the value-add of your partners to your prospective customers?
• Does your Partner Program provide the margins and deal protection required by partners to keep them engaged with your products?

These are just some of the key questions you should be asking to assess your Channel Readiness. What else are you asking to ensure your channel partners’ success in 2016?