New processes for the “New Normal”: partner programs with added value
We are currently finding more and more of a “New Normal” (back) – so now is a good time to take a closer look at current challenges and opportunities in partner networks.
Covid-19 has fundamentally changed our everyday life in the last year. Shops were closed, workers were working from home, students were home schooling, and city centers that were once bustling were suddenly deserted. We are all currently adapting to long-term changes, and companies have to establish new processes accordingly. The channel ecosystem in particular has shown how important flexible action is. It is all the more important that manufacturers work in an agile and cooperative manner with resellers, sales partners, integrated software providers and other partners.
The past year has shown that companies that have responded flexibly and at the same time thoughtfully are best able to cope with the challenges of Covid-19. For channel-affine companies, for example, maintaining and even expanding communication with partners despite the obstacles was a high priority. As in other areas, the focus in the Channel Network has shifted from face-to-face meetings to virtual meetings. And flexibility was required: companies that switched to a virtual format for partner training courses, events and everyday communication with one another as quickly as possible had an advantage and could continue to offer a comprehensive channel program for their partners and customers.
Especially in difficult times, partners have to be accommodated: also by temporarily suspending certifications for certain guidelines or the review of sales performance. Companies that are currently considering participating in a partner program should therefore look out for manufacturers who take the economic challenges into account and then also accommodate their partners.
While it would be tempting to believe that the pandemic was an extraordinary and one-off event, unfortunately, it probably isn’t. Critical events occur all the time, although fortunately not so often on this scale. Be it storms or natural disasters, Internet failures and hacker attacks or economic problems – companies must be prepared for such disruptions and flexibly adapt their business activities and cooperation with partners and customers. Providers who are well positioned in the channel are continuously developing their partner programs, for example with various new tracks in order to adapt the sales program to individual needs and regional conditions in the market
During Covid-19, it became clear to companies and sales partners how resilient and resilient their own channel ecosystem really is, for example through working in the home office. Companies should ask themselves a few questions here: Was communication going well with one another? Have the marketing and sales methods been successfully adapted to the new hygiene measures? Were manufacturers able to continue their partner programs satisfactorily at all? And what can we learn for the future?
Long-term business success is no longer possible today without collaborative collaboration between manufacturers and partners. Nowadays this cooperation is often international, and partner networks usually span several countries. But what exactly does successful cooperation with partners look like?
In addition to good personal relationships, everyone involved must equally benefit from the cooperation: Manufacturers should bring quality products, a respected brand and transparent guidelines for a trusting cooperation. The partners, for their part, should make a contribution to business success and create added value for the mutual customers – for example through optimal product availability, competitive prices, smooth processes and expertise in consulting. For a successful collaboration, manufacturers must also support their partners with their expertise, for example through access to exclusive information, with training courses, other events and business and marketing plans.
Independent software vendors (ISVs) play an increasingly important role in the partner ecosystem of an increasing number of IT providers. Manufacturers have to offer this type of partner special tools, such as development tools for their own platform, etc.
The basis for a successful partner ecosystem is trustful cooperation between the various partners, often with very different business models. The partners have to be convinced of the manufacturer’s offer, invest in their own sales and of course a competitive return is important. And last but not least, the main goal should always be to meet the needs and expectations of our mutual customers and to offer them concrete added value. If you take all these aspects into account, an agile and successful channel ecosystem is created – this is an advantage for everyone involved.