Put 75 people together in a room and you never know what the conversation is going to turn too. That is the magic of conferences and what keeps me coming back. The Channel Management Summit created this effect and then some. Yesterday I made a forecast about how I thought the conversation would go and well, it went a whole different way. There were some great panel discussions, and good presenters. The conversation quickly departed the stated theme of “From Volume to Value”. That being said several of the channel partner program owners did indicate that they wanted to invest more meaningfully in a lower number of partners – which seemed to fit the bill.
Here were the items that stuck out for me in my notes:
Look in the Mirror First
If you want your partners to respect you, make sure you have your act together and that starts by working internally to ensure that everyone inside your company understands and agrees with the direction and is willing to stick with the messaging. This will result in fewer random changes, a greater ability to explain the reasoning behind your decisions, and less confusion. All seemingly simple, but in real life – quite a challenge to execute.
Get in their Shoes
We can get so caught up in our own stuff that we lose touch with the reality of our partner’s businesses. Take the time to actually talk with them, figure out how they make money, understand their pain points. We had a great conversation about what partners will and will not do. Will sell your product (if it works), will work side by side with you, won’t penetrate new markets, won’t lose money.
The Death of Leads has Been Exaggerated
Instead of killing leads, social media has increased the volume. Along with this increase has come a decrease in quality. This has increased the importance of good process, professional qualification, and rigorous feedback tracking. This was great validation for us – because it is what we do at CSG.
There were also some good presentations about measuring investment in partners – partner by partner – and comparing it to revenue generated. Some ideas about how to start using social media tomorrow (get your partners to do it). And good thoughts about specific things you can do with your most valuable partners.
All together a great conference.