Software Executive Magazine

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2017

Software Executive magazine helps software executives grow their businesses by showcasing the business best practices of our readers, executives from established and innovative software companies.

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7 Lessons Learned From Building A Reseller Program Advice from a software founder who took the channel fork in the road K E V I N K O G L E R ▶ How is the purchase made, and who does the set- up and training? ▶ Are there other third-party technologies or integra- tions that are critical in the purchase decision? You need to train and support a network of partners selling your product, so you must understand every step of the sales journey from the customer's perspective. STEP TWO: CREATE A CLEAR VALUE PROPOSITION FOR THE PARTNER Signing up good partners is a competitive process, as you often must replace an incumbent product. A good partner program (1) provides adequate compensation for the partner, (2) provides sufficient economics to the developer to enhance the product and support the re- seller, and (3) results in a competitive end-user price in the market. Be sure not to ignore any one of these levers. e ultimately decided to build out a partner network, but we learned many lessons the hard way, as creat- ing successful partner programs isn't easy. It takes lots of time, effort, and strategic planning. Here are some of the steps that I wish we would have done a better job with when developing our reseller pro- gram. Hopefully, the following suggestions will help you develop your channel strategy with fewer hard lessons. STEP ONE: UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMER'S BUYING JOURNEY The tendency is to jump right into talking to partners, but the first step of building your partner program should be to completely understand the customer's buying journey — from an end-user prospect first learning about your product to a customer making the purchase decision. Be sure you can answer questions such as: ▶ How and where do users initially learn about your product? ▶ How do they evaluate and test your product? ▶ What key features or benefits are most important to the customer? ▶ Where do prospects go with questions? ▶ What is the return on investment? W Like many startups, my company, MicroBiz, initially subscribed to the "build it and they will come" theory when developing our product. After launching our new product and gaining traction with early adopters organically, we came to a crossroad. We could ei- ther go direct and invest our marketing dollars in SEO and online advertising or invest in growing and strengthening our reseller channel. The direct strategy would enable us to keep 100 percent of the revenue, but that came with potentially lower growth. You need to train and support a network of partners selling your product, so you must understand every step of the sales journey from the customer's perspective. CHANNEL STRATEGIES Framework By K. Kogler 7 LESSONS LEARNED FROM BUILDING A RESELLER PROGRAM SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2017 34

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