Whether you’re managing an established telecom resale channel and looking to sharpen your sword or if you’re just contemplating adding a partnership program to your business, we’re here to help. The channel landscape has changed drastically due to the rise of SaaS, cloud, IoT, and usage-based offerings. In addition, new types of partner relationships are emerging to complement any offering and any industry. Building, piloting, and managing a resale channel is more important than ever.
In the first part of our Telecom Resale Channel blog post series, we discussed 4 Factors for Launching a Successful Resale Channel.
In the prequel, we answered these questions:
- Why build a resale channel?
- How to validate the market to be sure an indirect model will be a well-received strategy?
- What is a partnership proposition and why do I need to do this?
- Is my company ready for a resale channel?
(If you haven’t read the post yet, I’d encourage you to read it before you’re too far into Part 2.)
Now that we’re all caught up, we’ll dive into steps 5-8 in Part 2: Launching and Supporting an Effective Telecom Resale Channel.
Here are the key steps you should take to launch a partner program and improve ongoing channel management:
5. Product messaging and readiness
What good is an indirect resale strategy if your partners cannot clearly and concisely explain your product and how it fits into part of a comprehensive solution? If they can’t effectively communicate the benefits and features, then they can’t effectively sell it.
For new and existing products that you’re offering, ensure your team has gathered relevant information and packaged this up for your future partners.
Key elements of this package include:
- Clear product messaging and scripts
- Awareness of existing and emerging markets (with data)
- Easy accessibility of product information
- Competitive analysis and pricing
- Your onboarding and ongoing support strategy
6. selecting your curated list of strategic partners
Now that you have your ducks in a row to deliver partners with the tools for success, let’s take a breath before we open the strategic partner floodgates. A critical success factor for your telecom resale channel model is picking the right types of partners. When you select this group of partners, you’ll want to be sure to fully vet these companies.
Make sure the partner is aligned with your company’s:
- Service level agreements
- Vision for future initiatives
If they pass all of these initial tests, they’re a winner! Now let’s build a program that not only attracts new partnerships but also rewards partners for working with you. Defining your channel model for that particular partner should include a deep understanding of their sales models, what matters most to them, and how they are funded. Understanding your partner’s business will help you structure a customized, business proposition that’s too good to turn down.
7. training & ongoing channel management
Once you’ve established the need and your organization’s readiness to support a channel and put the various tools in place to support your partnerships, it’s time to create a strategy for new partner onboarding and build the ongoing management plan.
There should be an organized onboarding program for each new partner. This should begin the moment the partnership is finalized until they’re fully proficient and bringing you regular business. Depending on the complexity of your offering, this enablement program could be a month, a quarter, or a year.
Keep track of their enablement progress through key metrics.
These could be:
- Number of trainings completed
- New referrals
- Signed mutual clients
- Implementing a lead gen program
- Participating in a co-branded webinar
Lastly, let them know when they’ve “graduated” from the program!
Like any relationship, communication is key. Proactively communicate with your telecom resale channel and establishing a regular cadence of meetings, emails, newsletters, annual reviews, etc. This should be predictable so that partners understand when, how, and where to go for information.
Provide these partners with additional resources in a variety of formats like videos, collateral, and lunch and learns that can be easily consumed. Many vendors will consolidate and streamline partner management with a partner portal.
Look for a partner portal that has critical components, such as:
- Information center / file sharing
- Visibility into new orders / support
- Automated commissions
- Accessibility to view mutual client usage, history, and payments
If you’re thinking that a system like this would benefit your business, check out Rev.io’s Agent Portal. We’d love to set up some time to share how your business could benefit from our platform.
Once you have your partner program up and running, think about promoting your partners in your marketing initiatives. Rev.io supports partners by adding them to our Partner Marketplace (on our website), joining up or co-boothing at tradeshows, participating in co-branded webinars, and inviting them to sponsor our client events.
Lastly, make sure you and the partner have a mutual understand of each others’ preferred methodology of referrals (who should these go to, what info is needed, etc.) and diligently track referrals sent to / received from each partner.
8. measure the channel effectiveness
The channel landscape can add incredible value to your business. Even after your telecom resale program is in place, channel leaders should consistently learn and evolve to need the changing needs of their partners and their market. An often overlooked factor of success is measurement. Rev.io’s Agent Portal can help you measure, engage, and support your agent relationships. Once the partner marketplace is launched, take a proactive approach to measuring, monitoring, and supporting your partners. Now that you’re ready to tackle an indirect sales channel, be sure you’re ready to bill your customers for their usage-based and recurring revenue offerings. Or, if you’re not sure about billing, stay in touch. We’ll send tips and resources directly to your inbox to help you improve your business and billing strategies. Of if you’re interested in joining the Rev.io Partner Marketplace, check out our Become a Partner page. We’d love to hear from you!