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Keeping up with your Partner Channel and Keeping Them Up-to-Date

Over the last 5-10 years a lot has changed in Sales and Marketing but some things have remained the same—like keeping your partner channel informed and up-to-date about new product information and sales tools. Back in the mid-90s, we had three levels of inside sales and an amazing partner channel as our field sales team, so keeping them informed was pretty easy. That’s not the case today. This multi level sales approach is awesome when you can afford it, but in today’s market, most businesses have less people covering more territory, so communication is key.

One of my favorite ways to keep in touch is to plan a Partner Conference once a year to train the channel and reward them for their hard work. Content is important here; if you have certifications they need to have from you or any other vendor, get them together and negotiate a discount. Create a few classes to highlight and train them on the current sales tools and anything else that they might find valuable. Business and motivational speakers are always well accepted and appreciated.

Many times hotels will not charge you for banquet space if you have guests coming in to stay at the hotel. Often you can have these events break even, or you can even turn a profit if you want. When I worked at GoldMine Software our first partner conference in 1995 had 90 people, and we topped out in 2001 with over 1,000 partners in attendance. Channel Partners usually travel, so asking them to network with you and other peers and get good information/training and maybe a little R & R are sure ways to grow and manage an informed channel and have a little fun!

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