Whether you’re considering adopting a resale channel or your partner program just hasn’t taken off the way you’ve expected, we’re here to help! As one of the best IoT and telecom billing solutions in the industry, we’re excited to share how partnerships have helped Rev.io grow its business. But, before you go “all-in” on a resale strategy, it’s important to evaluate your market and company for some critical success factors.
In this two-part blog series, we’ll dive into the key steps you should take to assess the market, prepare your business, and build partner relationships that last. For Part 1, we’re sharing 4 considerations for your channel partner strategy that will help in launching a successful resale channel.
1. what is your reason for building a resale channel?
Typically, companies adopt an indirect strategy when adding more direct sales resources is not a practical option. However, there are other scenarios where your company could benefit from forming a business partnership:
1. Your product or service is not a stand-alone offering or it complement another offering
Ask yourself, “does my offering require other products, services, or companies to deliver a more complete solution?” If your answer is yes, then this is a perfect opportunity to partner with other businesses and provide customers with a combined solution. Look for companies that are selling their services to the same target market. A partnership here (or better, a partnership AND integration here) improves the experience for your mutual customers.
At Rev.io, we understand that our clients benefit from our partnerships with communications tax and compliance experts, GSA and Wolters Kluwer. In addition to creating a better end-customer experience, we’ve been able to send referrals to each other. It’s a win-win!
2. Your growth strategies include new geographies or new verticals
According to the Quick Start to Building a Channel Strategy from CompTIA, indirect business models are used by 80% of the IT industry. Hiring and managing a direct sales team in remote geographies is complex and expensive. Instead, consider leveraging a resale channel as a more cost-effective way to grow sales in a new region or to enter into new markets.
While Rev.io is already an established name in the Communications industry (as one of the best billing softwares in the market), we recently ventured into IoT billing. Before expanding into this vertical, we relied on partners like AT&T Partner Exchange, Cisco Jasper, and KORE to help us get an initial foothold in the space. In addition to speeding up time-to-market, these partners helped Rev.io develop our new suite of IoT features and avoid some potential pitfalls.
2. validate the market opportunity
Now that we know why we’re building a resale channel, the next step is to validate the market to ensure the indirect model will be a well-received strategy. There are four key steps to validate your market opportunity:
1. Do market research
Determine if there is enough market demand to support a direct and indirect strategy. By researching the market and related studies, you’ll further your understanding of the market. Once you’ve confirmed that the market demand is there, your research will help you craft your partner business propositions and improve your channel credibility.
2. Craft Your Customer Value Proposition
Develop a clear and compelling customer value proposition to quickly build your resale channel. Define the solution you offer and the benefits to your end-customer in this statement. Your customer value proposition should include your benefits and competitive advantage.
3. Create Your Client Profiles
Client profiles are important for a channel model. Before you approach your first potential partner, you should be able to clearly articulate your target customer profile. This will help you educate your partners and assist them with their marketing and selling efforts. Elements of a customer profile include geography, customer size, vertical, department, buyer, and number of employees.
Clients using Rev.io’s billing and back-office platform can leverage our customer management and business intelligence reporting to gather relevant data and flush out these client profiles. Not a client yet? Contact us to learn more about our platform. We’re rated among the best billing softwares for usage-based and recurring revenue models.
4. Understand Your Top Competitors
Zero in on your top three competitors and then look for your competitive advantage over these competitors. Knowing your competition and their market, product messages, go-to-market business model, and several target clients, will help you as you approach new partnerships. Ultimately, having these competitor strategies defined will validate your business and help you select the right partner type.
3. develop a partnership proposition
It’s imperative to validate the partner opportunity to make sure there are compelling reasons for both businesses to join the partnership. Partner business propositions are different from the customer value proposition and they will be different from partner to partner. These channel partner strategy proposals should address the key reasons the relationship is beneficial to the two companies. A successful partnership is formed when your goals and strategies align.
A partner proposition should be created for each potential partner and address the following questions:
- How will this relationship affect their business?
- How will this relationship improve their end-customer experience?
- What are the financial benefits for the partner and which services would they be able to wrap around the partnership?
- How would this relationship help the prospective partner differentiate from their competition?
4. is your company ready?
Several internal aspects need to be addressed to ensure your company is ready to engage with the channel. Before launching the channel partner strategy, here are some considerations to help ensure your success:
1. Executive Alignment & Support
Each leader in your organization must be in alignment with the channel strategy as an effective go-to-market model. If a single department head is not in alignment, it will upset the entire initiative.
2. Build a Channel Team
A key ingredient to your company’s readiness is having various methods of support for your channel partners. For most companies, this means hiring a new Sales Team role, such as a Channel Manager. In addition, one critical success factor is defining this role, the expectations, and their short and long term goals.
3. Channel Tools and Resources
Partner training and enablement is critical to building a successful relationship. Prepare for new partner onboarding with tools and resources, including product documentation, technical sales knowledge, industry application for your product, sales collateral, and product demonstrations. Building a mutually beneficial channel relationship requires both parties to be knowledgeable about each others’ products and services.
A partner enablement tool, like Rev.io Agent Portal, gives you the technology to improve agent relationships. Our all-in-one solution was designed to help streamline communication with agents, improve end-customer satisfaction, provide agents with their customer information, and share sales collateral and training resources from one, consolidated place.
4. Channel Escalation Paths
Before launching a partner strategy, a clear escalation path needs to be defined to capture missteps and address issues that arise with mutual customers. Think through these escalation paths and prepare for potential issues that could occur during the sale, as customers transition, and with ongoing support.
Now that you’ve established partnerships, it’s important to nurture this relationship. When serving your mutual customers, your partnership should appear as a united front and should never point fingers back and forth. Established channel escalation paths make it easy to work directly with a partner and solve issues on behalf of the customer – and, both of the companies and the customer win!
Now that you understand the initial factors for evaluating a resale channel model and the preparation steps for your business, stay in touch to receive Part 2 of this blog series! We’ll send other tips and resources to help you improve your business and billing strategies, directly to your inbox. Or, contact us if you think Rev.io is a potential partner for you! As one of the best billing softwares for usage-based offerings, we’re always looking for new partnership opportunities.
Don’t think you’re a partner? Well, you can always evaluate our billing platform, Bill-on-Behalf-of solution, and Agent Portal to alleviate your back-office and customer management challenges. Clients using Rev.io have grown by more than two times the industry average for four consecutive years. Get in touch today!