You've done your homework and secured a meeting with a potential partner.
How do you drive the meeting toward desired outcomes for your partner program?
It's very likely that you've been in a few meetings that didn't turn out the way you wanted them to.
Let's face it, with everything partner managers have to juggle—the anxiety involved in trying to prepare a strong pitch, effectively communicating with the potential partner, being genuine, meeting overall company goals, etc.—getting into big channel partnership meetings can feel like you are walking over a shark tank.
What you need is a strong bridge.
You see, both you and your potential partner have something unique to offer, and it's all about compromising and coming up with creative solutions to make the connection.
Unfortunately, many businesses fail to recognize the value of these meetings and don't use them as a successful tool.
Whether you're having trouble getting more channel partners or onboarding them faster, chances are you're making mistakes in your partnership meetings that are slowing down business.
Let's jump into what those mistakes may be and how to ensure that your next meeting yields positive results.
- 1. What is a Channel Partnership Meeting?
- 2. Common Mistakes You’re Probably Making in Channel Partnership Meetings
- 2.1. You Don’t Know How to Talk About Value
- 2.2. You’re Not Showing Your Receipts
- 2.3. You’re Making it All About Revenue
- 2.4. You’re Making Promises You Can’t Keep
- 2.5. You’re Not Listening
- 2.6. You’re Not Speaking the Partner's Language
- 2.7. You’re Not Holding the Partner Accountable
- 2.8. You Only Have One Point of Contact
- 3. Conclusion
Table of contents
A channel partnership meeting occurs when two businesses come together to discuss the possibility of establishing a long-term business relationship. The type of relationship—or the type of channel partner—will depend on each of your products or services, what your goals are, and what value you can bring to each other's customer base.
Some types of channel partnerships (or relationships) that result from these meetings include:
Systems integrators or integration partners
Reseller partners, or Value Added Resellers (VARS)
And many more
During this meeting, both sides reveal what their respective companies can bring to the table, especially if one company is interested in profiting from the other's services or products.
They must ensure that a meaningful relationship is formed for mutual benefit by carefully examining existing customers, budget considerations, potential risks associated with the partner agreement, communication policies between both parties, and other pertinent details.
It is equally crucial for both parties to enter the meeting with an open mind and a desire to work together to develop new ideas, as developing partnerships with various parties is essential for a successful business.
With this kind of forward-thinking attitude, potential partnerships can strike the right deal where everyone wins freely and without any risks or damage to either party.
Once roles have been decided upon and expectations are clearly set, it is time for the momentous occasion of signing the papers and embarking on what is hopefully a perfect partnership.
As was previously mentioned, there are occasionally a few common blunders that occur in these meetings that can result in a lost relationship or opportunity. Let's break these mistakes down so you can avoid them in your next meeting with a potential partner.
It is often said that the difference between success and failure in channel partnership meetings comes down to presenting a joint value proposition.
However, too often, business owners do not do their homework, and without truly understanding how their proposed offering would benefit someone else, partners are unlikely to be interested in getting involved.
The key to success is being able to clearly articulate the joint value proposition that your partnership will bring. You should be able to demonstrate how your company can provide a specific solution for end users and how it will benefit both parties.
If you want to maximize your chances of gaining the attention of potentially valuable partners, take some time before the meeting to do thorough research into why it would be beneficial for them to collaborate with you.
And to have fruitful negotiations and to ensure that you can clearly articulate the next step forward in relation to their priorities, it is crucial to comprehend their needs, goals, and business plans.
And above all else, have evidence prepared!
When it comes to channel partnership meetings, one of the most important things you can do is show your receipts.
No, not the kind you get from a store after making a purchase. We're talking about data!
It's one thing to talk about the success of your program in the past, but it's another to provide data and evidence to back up your assertions.
Too often, businesses make the mistake of not providing enough evidence during partnership meetings, saying "we did this" without any records or receipts to prove it.
You can give potential partners a clear picture of what they can expect from working with you by providing data. You can also use data to tell a compelling story about the potential between you and your partner, one that they will find difficult to dismiss.
Yes, money talks, and we are all here to make money, but what can you offer that no one else can, especially for their customers?
When it comes to channel partnership meetings, it is easy to get caught up in the numbers and focus solely on revenue.
That's okay because revenue does build strategic partnerships.
However, if you want to make a lasting impression on your potential partner, you need to think beyond just money.
You must demonstrate to your prospective partner that you understand their customers' needs and can provide them with a one-of-a-kind solution that no one else can. This will assist you in developing a compelling case for why your partnership is the best option.
Once you have established a strong case for why your partnership is the right choice, it is time to focus on the money.
Show your potential partner how they can benefit financially from working with you. Explain how you can help them increase their revenue and profits and demonstrate how your solution can provide them with a competitive edge.
When it comes to channel partnerships, trust and transparency are essential for building impactful relationships with partners.
After all, for the partnership to be successful, both parties must rely on one another. However, if promises made during partnership meetings aren't kept, not only will the partnership suffer, but so will your reputation.
To establish trust and lay a solid foundation for the partnership, it is necessary to be open and realistic about what can be offered.
It is also crucial to be open and honest about any potential risks or challenges that may arise. It will help ensure both parties are aware of the possible issues and can work together to find solutions.
Additionally, it is essential to have clear communication throughout the partnership. It will help ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal.
It might be tough to hear, but there are times when we assume we are experts in all things partner-related.
You may think that you know what your partner needs and their goals, but if you don't take the time to listen to them, you could be missing out on valuable information.
Your partner may have ideas or insights to help you reach your goals more quickly and vice versa. And taking the time to listen and ask questions can give you a better understanding of their needs and how best to assist them in achieving their objectives.
In addition, listening to your partner can help you develop a stronger bond with them because, when they feel heard and understood, they are more likely to put their trust in you and collaborate with you in the future, proving that you are partner-worthy.
It will also create a more collaborative environment that can lead to great success for both of you.
And lastly, by listening to your partner during channel partnership meetings, you can identify potential issues or obstacles before they become a problem. It will help you stay on track and reach your goals more efficiently.
And remember, if you don't understand anything, ask questions!
When it comes to channel partnership meetings, the key to success lies in speaking the same language.
Although this may seem like a simple task, it is overlooked, and too often, businesses treat their potential channel partners with a "one size fits all" mentality without taking the time to comprehend how their partner speaks about their business or goals.
It can be a costly mistake, as each partner has unique needs and expectations that must be addressed for the relationship to be successful.
So, to better understand your partner, learn how they discuss their business and goals. It will also help you comprehend what to expect from your channel partnership, resulting in a more positive working relationship.
The thrill of a potential partnership can be intoxicating, but it's important to remember that without setting expectations and holding your partner accountable, the partnership won't reach its full potential.
To accomplish this, ensure that at the end of the partnership meeting, you have tangible items that will keep your partner on track and demonstrate their commitment to the venture.
For example, you can use a:
• Timeline for the completion of tasks.
• Business plan that defines roles and responsibilities for each partner.
• Method of communication to stay in touch.
• System to track progress and measure success.
• Plan for potential issues that may arise and how they will be addressed.
• Document that outlines any financial commitments and expectations.
It's critical to remember that accountability is a two-way street. You should also be willing to accept responsibility for your part in the partnership and ensure that you are meeting your partner's expectations.
As Charlene Strain shares in her Greatest Minds in Partnerships interview about her accountability process:
“For example, I'm working on an initiative, and I created a go-to-market template. To be transparent, I told the partner all the things that Pendo plans to do. The dates, and the stakeholders involved. I asked them, ‘What are you guys going to be doing? Here's what we're going to be offering, what about you?’ I put that on paper and made sure that it was very clear to that team, too. That's the key to both internal and external alignment.”
This will help foster a trusting relationship and create an environment of mutual respect.
Remember that the more points of contact (POCs) established between your company and the partners, the harder it is to break the partnership.
Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of only having one point of contact when they meet with their partners; this is a huge mistake that can lead to missed opportunities and a lack of communication.
Please note that when working with a small business, you might not have a choice. However, when working with larger companies, you should make POCs for champions not just in their partnerships team, but in their marketing and sales teams, as well.
To ensure successful partnerships, also make sure that these POCs have the info for folks on your team that can help them succeed. The last thing you want is bottlenecked operations.
The main goal is to be a team with the mentality of "one team, one ecosystem," as Jennifer Richey would put it, to build a bigger and more effective team with your partners.
It will help ensure that communication remains open and that no potential opportunities are missed.
Now that the meeting has ended and all the agreements have been signed, it's time to move on to managing the partnership.
That's where Kiflo’s intuitive software comes in.
We understand that success doesn't just come from deciding to work together, but from working together productively.
Kiflo PRM can help you manage your channel partnerships by providing a platform to streamline communication, automate processes, and track performance. With a PRM, you can easily keep track of all the details of your program, helping to align sales and marketing teams alongside your partnership goals.
You can also use it to create reports and analyze data so that you can make informed decisions about how to optimize your partnership.
Additionally, a PRM can also help you stay organized and on top of tasks so that nothing slips through the cracks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How should I prepare for a channel partnership meeting?
When preparing for a channel partnership meeting, it is important to research and create an agenda prior to a channel partnership meeting, as well as come prepared with questions, experiences, and successes that show you are a suitable partner.
Best ways to convince channel partners to join my program?
To convince channel partners to join your program, emphasize the benefits to them such as increased visibility and sales opportunities. Show them how partnering with you will open new markets, and be flexible when negotiating deals so they get tangible rewards.
Red flags to look out for in channel partnership meetings?
Red flags to look out for in channel partnership meetings include unrealistic expectations, a lack of trust or commitment, unclear roles and responsibilities, and a lack of communication.
Should I take notes in a channel partnership meeting?
Yes, taking notes in a channel partnership meeting is highly recommended. Not only will it help you to remember the key points discussed and ensure that everyone is on the same page, but it can also provide helpful context for things that are discussed later.
Example agenda for channel partnerships meetings?
A channel partnerships meeting agenda typically includes introductions, presenting value, setting collaborative goals, mapping milestones, and final questions.