Channel partner management for international markets
Before I get started with the post, let me set the context. This is an overview of factors to consider when working with CPs. It’s not an in depth study (I’m limited to 300 – 400 words after all) and it’s for the newbies – to get you started. Channel Partner expertise will be essential if you are going down this route: don’t expect you can learn all there is to know and do it yourself!
And, there’s no shortage of information out there – a Google search of “Blogs on Channel Partner Management” turns up about 1.67m results. Channel Partner Management has a bigger number, 6m+. Phew! That’s where Bloggertone fits in – a filter for all the information out there from people we trust and whose expertise we value.
Entering international markets is a big step in the life of any company. The opportunity versus risk pendulum swings back and forth in the early days. One of the ways to de-risk your new market entry and investment is to use Channel Partners as a Route to Market.
Routes to Market
There are several: direct, internet, channel partners – distributors, resellers, ISVs (Independent Software Vendors, relevant for IT industry), systems integrators, advisory integrators/consultants.
For the purposes of this post I’m looking at Direct versus Channel Partners – that’s one of the first decisions that a company must take.
Benefits of Channel Partners
The Channel Partner model offers many companies a quick and cost effective way to enter a new market.
- It either gives you or extends your geographic reach.
- You gain early access to the existing client base of your CP and your product suite should provide new lead opportunities for the CP, which in turn will generate leads for you.
- You de-risk your new market entry, working with a local market expert.
- You avoid start-up costs, setting up an office, hiring local recruits for instance.
- Your partner carries the Direct Sales Force costs.
- Sales should come sooner. That means more and earlier reference sites.
Channel costs and issues
But there are other costs and issues involved in managing a Channel Partner distribution model.
- One of the Key Success Factor to Channel Partner Management is constant and regular communication. This requires time and financial commitment.
- There can be a significant upfront investment in partner training – enablement of the CP.
- Marketing can take on new layers of complexity with the CP model.
- You will need to develop and maintain processes and procedures around Channel Structure Development to drive partner recruitment.
- There are inherent channel conflicts which need to be managed.
Who’s doing it?
Assume your competitors! Check out who they partner with!
Here are a couple of examples of Irish tech companies:
Bottom line – successful Channel Management must deliver Win-Win for all the parties involved.
Get started: build Channel Partners into the DNA of your social networking: join the Channel Partner LinkedIn Groups. Find and follow CP experts and practitioners on Twitter.
Today’s post is one in a series on Channel Partner Management. Check back again for the next update.
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