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▶ Economic support for certain trade show and in- dustry events ▶ Geographic territory ▶ Support of out-of-the-box integrations And here are a few things that you may expect from your partners: ▶ Follow-up on leads in timely manner ▶ Market expertise and introductions ▶ Commitment to train and certify employees on your product ▶ First- or second-level support ▶ Attendance at trade shows and industry events STEP FOUR: DESIGN A PROGRAM WITH DIFFERENT TIERS FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF PARTNERS Not every partner is the same. Some will want to con- trol every aspect of the sale and customer relationship, while others will want to pass along a lead and move on to other opportunities. Make sure you understand the goals and capabilities of different types of partners. Do they want to do the installation and/or provide sup- port or just pass along a prospect? Who will train the salespeople? How much marketing will the reseller do? Who will handle billing and collection? At a very high level, there are three major types of re- seller channel partnership options: 1. Selling through your partner. In this situation, you are provided with leads by the partner that you must close, or the partner sells your product through a third-party storefront or marketplace. While the partner exposes your product to a pros- pect or user, you are completely responsible for the sale. Example: Apple App Store. 2. Selling with your partner. Here, you and your partner jointly sell your products. This could be as an upsell or to meet a specific need in a service offering. Example: an MSP selling an IT security service as part of a larger solutions offering. 3. Your partner sells for you. In this case, your partner actively promotes and sells your prod- uct. This type of partner uses its own resources to promote, sell, implement, and support your offering. This scenario is the most complex be- cause you must ensure that your partner has proper incentives and resources to market and sell your product. Example: a reseller selling white label software under its own brand. Most reseller programs define different partner lev- els. These levels typically consider the resources, com- mitment, and needs of the partners — and attempt to In approaching prospective partners, you will need to clearly articulate what they will get out of your partner program. How easy is your product to sell and deploy? How can your product be clearly differentiated against competitors? What type of sales volume should they ex- pect? What resources will be available? How and how much will they get paid? Unless you have a totally unique product, your com- petitors' partner programs are a great resource to help build your value proposition. What types of partners do they have, and what other relationships do these part- ners have? How is the program organized? How are they being compensated? Try picking up the phone and asking these partners what they like and dislike about your competitors' pro- grams. You ultimately will be competing for partners, so this intel will help you design a better program. STEP THREE: DEFINE RESPONSIBILITIES FOR YOU AND YOUR PARTNERS Your partner program will run much more efficiently if you make it very clear up front who is responsible for what. The goal is to define roles clearly so everyone is on the same page and understands what they are re- quired to do (or not do) during the sales process. In defining all of the activities, make sure to be specif- ic enough so each activity can be assigned to either you or your partner. Also, be sure to define expectations. What do you expect from partners, and what can they expect from you? For example, here a few things partners may expect from you: ▶ Prequalified leads ▶ Support during pre- and postsales process ▶ First- or second-level support ▶ Comarketing materials ▶ Training and education programs Your partner program will run much more efficiently if you make it very clear up front who is responsible for what. 35 SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2017

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