Optimizing Reseller Channels
The most common channel concern I hear from software companies is the desire to improve reseller productivity. This is particularly challenging if the ISV has a cloud-based offering: cloud application providers have the added complexity of consumption based pricing, in addition to the usual reseller channel challenges of balancing incentives and rewards.
The most valuable (strategic) resellers will invest time in their own readiness, support, and marketing because your product represents a significant percentage of their revenue. They’ll typically assign a dedicated account executive that works with you and truly drive sales versus reactively processing orders.
Tier 2 (referral) resellers look to you to be the primary lead source and typically generate only a handful of sales per year. They view your product as a minor piece of their overall portfolio — you haven’t garnered enough revenue mindshare to draw their attention from their more strategic products.
When assessing your reseller channel, consider the winning profile of your more successful (or ideal) partners. This might be a particular industry or segment focus or they might target a particular line of business area or role. Assess other resellers that service the same or similar segments & roles and use this to inform your channel recruiting efforts.
You can improve the productivity of your reseller channel by recruiting partners more likely to have repeatable success selling your kind of product, making it easy for them to position your offerings & gain initial reference customers, and actively manage the ongoing relationship. Helping them develop initial reference wins will prime the pump for future sales, growing your strategic role in their portfolio and their own selling autonomy.
When it comes to cloud application partners, consider whether they have a track record in selling SaaS solutions. Do they have complementary services and expertise? How do they compensate their account representatives in an annuity-driven cloud revenue models? Understanding their maturity in these areas should inform their suitability as a cloud application reseller.
How might you get more sales productivity from your reseller channel?