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Updated: Feb 1


How is it that some companies seem to build a massive indirect channel, yet others barely get started…?

How is it that, despite knowing the development cycle is a long-term investment, some companies seem to harness the discipline and ability to put one tactical foot in front of the other and continually make strategic progress?


Internally and conceptually, everyone seems to get the value of an Indirect channel.

Over simplified, it is: someone else sells our product (for a lower cost of sale, shorter sales cycle, and greater reach); we do that over-and-over…and sales scale!


The concept is simple, in theory: people sell our stuff and we get rich, together!

That being the case, companies love their product and believe everyone must see the opportunity in it as clearly as they do.


However, the indirect channel, like every sales channel, is inattentive.

Partners have their own priorities and the opportunity to generate services revenue (or additional margin) isn’t always as compelling as we might believe it is.


The channel needs plenty of motivation to sell; or, it needs to be easy for them to sell.

Thus, it takes some effort to convince partners to sell/refer and perhaps some investment in tools to get partners up-to-speed, selling easily.


On the partner’s side, executives often get the benefit of a partnership; but the field...not so much!

Executives see the compelling value-proposition and additional services revenue that are to be had; but, at the field level, it is hard to get a rep’s attention.


Reps are coin-operated. They don’t naturally carve-out the time and effort necessary to get adequately acquainted with a new product and represent it effectively, especially if it is slightly complicated.


The common thread: there’s an overestimation of the simplicity and an underestimation of the investment necessary to build the Indirect Channel.

  • · Direct sales are faster - they offer a shorter and more known path to revenue.

  • · Indirect has a longer ramp-up - that means greater uncertainty and longer path to revenue.

So, even if Indirect scales better in the long run, companies (with all their competing priorities) too easily fall back to the known element of direct sales. They get around to Indirect: one-day, someday…maybe!


If no one ever plants the seed, the oak tree never grows.

Many times, partner programs are given lip service and languish perpetually underdeveloped as they wait for the right partner to come along. We want the result, but don’t put the shovel in the ground.


A small tree needs water.

Exceptionally, some companies know Indirect Channels take some level of investment. They allocate resources, even if moderately, to give indirect some dedicated attention.


Others seem to never get started. They leave partner development as a 2nd (or 3rd) task on someone’s already over-crowded plate. Unfortunate as it is…the channel fails to capitalize on potential.


Knowing that it takes effort, the reluctance to go “all in” may be justified.

Historically, a properly funded indirect team has meant allocating budget for a: Partner Program Manager, Marketing Manager, Inside Sales, Business Development, and Channel Manager.


Quickly, executives see that developing an Indirect Channel can consume $500K or more of budget, just in salary – on a bet with a longer lead time and often no proven success.


With competing priorities, indirect sounds nice - but more immediate needs can tend to win the day.

Realizing the tug between the potential of the channel and reality of expense; some companies forgo investment in the channel – reverting to direct sales.

However, it need not be like this. Indirect can be strategically developed, one tactical step at a time.

Certain vendors get started by outsourcing the business development and channel program development to contracted resources – services that can be turned on/off and scaled more easily, with less risk.

Companies do not need to invest the 500K which was historically required - they can commence their partner program easily with SaaS-based PRM tools that have a low cost and easy on/off business model.


Testing the waters.

As the analogy might go: rather than going all-in to build a swimming pool (i.e. full partner team) in the backyard, which may get used only a few times a year; some companies are getting a toe-in-the-water by joining a “club” (i.e. contracting resources), where they can access the pool.


Contracting SaaS and consulting resources comes at a fraction of the cost, with a lot less risk.

If you want to get started with your channel program by making a strategic decision to allocate the base minimum of tactical resources necessary to help it succeed, see about contracting with some of the services available from Dynamic Channels to get your program a dedicated “toe-in-the-water”.


Get your channel started by putting one tactical foot in front of the other.


Updated: Feb 1

P2P Marketplace for Dynamics is a partner-to-partner Marketplace where Microsoft Dynamics partners can list their products for Internet-enable Person-to-Person representation in the channel - both the Microsoft Channel and 3rd party channels. You might think of it as AppSource, for partners. And…it works for both SaaS and traditionally licensed offerings.


A listing in the P2P Marketplace for Dynamics makes your product available to multiple partners, providing every approved partner their own custom referral link - at the terms you define, with the tools you provide to represent your products. Partners also get their own dashboard to track referring and reselling progress.

While activity in the many-to-many, partner-to-partner marketplace will continue to increase over time; from the beginning, a direct listing immediately provides a one-to-many partner referral and/or reselling tracking program to kick-start your partner initiative. That means, partners (and even your employees and customers) can immediately become brand ambassadors to refer and resell your product – by the end of the week!

Listing your product:

  • Defines the terms of your “partner program”

  • Equips your partners and business development managers with the tools they need to represent your products

  • Affiliate tracking tools with 6 different ways for partners to refer your product

  • You can add-on full PRM (Partner Relationship Management) tools needed to manage through-partner sales in a Business2Business environment.

Already have your own partner program?

No problem! The terms of your existing program can extend to people representing you through the P2P Marketplace for Dynamics.

Don’t yet have a partner program?

No problem! The process of getting listed will help define that for you as you work with our success team.

So, what are you waiting for? Start the process today!

Set a meeting to see about getting listed.

Just as people skipped (or abandoned) landlines in favor of cell phones; so too can you skip the cumbersome hassle of legacy B2B reseller programs.

By running your partner program through an Affiliate Marketplace you can get straight to where the internet-based market is headed: affiliate referral programs, that provide influencers the core functionality they need to get started referring quickly.

Many ISVs (and SIs) have a well-developed network of partners, that is clear. Heck, at one point, we all had great landlines – many of which are now used for DSL internet and TV connections.

Similarly, even as we add affiliate partners and tools to support them, we can maintain or transform the existing “relationship-based” partnerships of the past – leveraging the affiliate component of the relationship and get it optimized for lead development in the evermore internet-centric sales world.

Reseller relationships are highly effective. No doubt, they work – often for large, deal specific connections. They are so good (in either practice or theory) that, many times, they are backed-up by broad partner agreement supporting a repeat experience.

But the challenge with these partnerships and any partnership for that matter remains: repeatability is elusive.

Not only does turnover in an organization stress the partner “relationship”, but the challenge of educating and empowering folks at the frontline is tough. What makes sense at the executive level or for one deal, doesn’t radiate.

Many times, the capital and political investment required to “represent” a product as a reseller is a hurdle too high. Even after closing a deal together, implementation partners can remain reluctant to invest in skilling-up resources on an ISVs product. Or, influencers simply aren’t equipped enough with the tools to resell. On top of it all, salespeople and consultants are busily focused on their core business.

To solve this attention problem, many are preferring the simpler affiliate referral model which is more well-suited to the internet - one where the ISV does all the work to sell their product and the influencer gets paid for referring the deal. This works well for ISVs who prefer to deliver the sales muscle to represent their product, as well as for the ISV who simply want referrals.

“Just send me the lead and I’ll sell it.”

The affiliate concept is simple, in theory, but more complicated in its operational practice.

As the Affiliate model gains momentum and Covid-driven shifts push more interaction to the internet, fortunately, there are SaaS-based solutions which simplify the challenge of getting started and getting to scale.

Just like the move to cell phones which brings with it not only mobility, but also all the capability and apps of a smartphone; so too does the listing of your partner program in a Partner Marketplace bring with it, not only eyeballs of people looking for products to represent, but also all the tools to support them, including: partner sign-up, onboarding resource repository, deal registration, affiliate referral links (down to the rep level), and payout commission tracking.

Organizations looking to redefine their existing reseller partner programs or those just starting out in the channel are skipping over the clunky reseller model, going straight to affiliate referrals…enabled through systems available from an affiliate Partner Marketplace.

Read More:

Chicken-and-Egg

The Airbnb of the Channel

If you have a partner program and are looking to implement an affiliate referral program, you might want to consider:

The Public Marketplace is a: SaaS-Based listing of your product, in front of 100,000’s of affiliates who are looking for B2B products to represent.

The Private Marketplace is a listing of your program and partners, on your site, where you drive customers and partners to look at your program and referral offering.

 

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