B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

61: Making Channel Sales Work w/ Dave Davies


Your job title shouldn’t be Partner Account Management — it should be Partner Development. Giving your partners leads isn’t the reason you built the partnership in the first place.

Invest time in teaching them how to prospect effectively and what the ideal client profile looks like

On this episode, I interview David Davies, author and Chief Sales Transformation Officer at Sandler Training

What we talked about:

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You're listening to be tob revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executive stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Welcome to be to be revenue acceleration. My name is Dan Seebrook and I'm here today with David Davis, author and chief sales transformation officer at summer training. David, how are you today? Yeah, I'm good, Dan. Thanks for having me. Good, excellent. Thanks for coming in. So I'll topic for today is making channel sales work. Before we get into the conversation, David, could you please introduce, introduce yourself to the audience and tell us more about yourself, as well as the company, Sunder Training, of course. Well, my name to day, they've Davies. Yeah, I'm always Dave and unless you're my mom or I've been nautation was David. Been in sales since one thousand nine hundred and eighty six. So can we up to say five years, typically working in technology and quite often in really in management and leadership of technology sales teams. But instyles are now for as a trainer for six years and again, as you expect, I work with technology businesses, whether that's in start up or what I call spark up mode. The other been around for a while. It's gotten from midsdale and they need a spark or a scale up where they're phenomenally could at what they do. They haven't solved ever, have no idea where to start. We write the making channel sales, but making channel sales work work a couple of years ago. I was released last year, so she'd expect. Often the companies I'm working with now either have a channel that for whatever reasons become somewhat dysfunctional. They've found they've got thousands of channel partners and two or three that are actually selling their stuff or their channel curious and they've gone out and they've had some experience of direct selling and they believe that they've got a great proposition and but have no idea how to start building a channel, I. How to bring channel partners into their world. Okay, excellent. Interesting and today you mentioned that you published a book last year called making champ sales work, where you outline of ten tools to create an effective first party selling program so you share us a bit, share a bit more about that book. What people can learn from it, what they'd take from it, but also the sort of motivation, I guess, as to led you to write books. I must, I must amit. It must take a lot of work to do so. Yeah, it's I was very good. I had a very good teacher taught me how to write right, good content weekly without worrying about editing it, because that's what they did to supposed I'll tell you. I wrote the book first. So we wanted to write a sales both my partner and in writing, the scy called Markers couchy. We wanted to write a sales book. We looked our bookshells and thought there's a thousand and one direct sales books on our shelves. Everybody's got some take on on some direct as. We thought, what else? What are the types of sales? We write it now and we signed to talk about my career having built some channels in the businesses that have worked in. We thought, I Casa, must be loads of books on this subject. We found I two are any good. The other seven books simply are direct sales books. But where the word sales is they've put channel sales in front against it. Same direct sales clas and just trying to force employ into channel world. In the channel world is completely different. So okay, so we sort of we found this niche that we were going to write into and you know, generally speaking, I was pronounced as the the expert in channel having built one. And then we spent a year interviewing hundreds of channel leaders, channel managers, channel people. Elise, we didn't know actually that much about it, and that's how we started to form them. Okay, we need quite a lot about Yo, how we did it, but we didn't know so much about how it was being done and what the structured process to channel debourance. We learn quite quickly that there's not a lot again of training content as designed and delivered to this book readers of text book, which one of the things I love about it's actually working system in the book starts with that, that selection process, your courtship. What does a perfect partner look like? Before going out...

...and looking for that perfect partner, we actually to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you've got the attributes of a great partner you ready, Jane, all the things in place that make you ready to go into partnership with another persons they shit what a perfect partnership looks like. You're what are the attributes of good partners for you and your business and what industries? So they focus on what does their client base look like? Does it resonate with your idea of what your ideal client looks like? So you've have in partnerships that have your wind for the client, that win for the partner and the wind for Your Business. We go to take that step further. We really help them to design good a channel managers. You. We did our interviews. What we found quite quickly was that a lot of people in the channel, everybody, but a lot of people in the channel tended to be failed direct sales people. Okay, fairly nice people, but we're not top performance in the direct sales well, yes, but LD by the organization. So they were kept and put into more of a partnering, the Assumption there being that, you know, it's just a conversation between two people too. Nice people have nice conversations. It's a bit more so than that to be truly effective a channel management. And you really weren't for hats any given time, and so you need phenomenal expertise as a direct salesperson biggest criticism most ben as have of their channel is they won't let's talk to the end user. I would let you talk to mine users if I didn't trust you and believe you were are a successful professional salesperson. The other operates the way I do. Yeah, yeah, any great management skills and they also need to understand that they are in the management but they have no power over the individuals they're managing. So your partners that you're managing in reality of managing a sales relationship with you have no decisionmaking power over when you can hire them, fire them. Little effort in on boarding you had. Don't control their rewards, their recognition, share their accountability. So you have to learn to manage that power. The currency of that is influenced. How do you influence other people to trust, like believe that you're doing a great job on their behalf or partnership with your good analytic skills, good research skills? It's it's a much bigger subject and interesting and in terms of that book you mentioned it, it's written as a textbook. So what's the audience for that? Is that a ceeover company looking to really understand and develop the channel for their first time is it? Is it a channel director that's actually looking to implement a new methodology or bring some new ideas to the day? Well, what's what's a general to the audience? It's makes I tell you. I tell the audience. Re wrote it for, and I guess this is most of my experiences, is growing very small businesses in excessful, not really multinational. Yeah, so I was writing it from that guy that just started a technology business and thought, yeah, maybe alongside my direct sales efforts, I can stub to build a channel. got a great proposition for the channel partner's it. So it's written for for what we call the channel curious, those that might not yet have developed a channel and we're looking for steps to take to building out an effective channel path of their business. But will you launch a book, Publish Your Book? The audience changes really quickly. So I've got people in some of the largest technology organizations and planet sending me Fink back and asking me questions on how this stuff works. And they've already got what they would considered to be a well defined channel business. It's just not functioning the way they hope to word. Yeah, and they're deploying this system in their business again to to really spark up their channel business and understand more about what the responsibility on them as a vendor is when working with their partners. They becomes a true partnership, not what many, many of the vendors when we talk to the resellers. It's not a partnership, it's a dictatorship that being told what to do by an overbearing vendor or an overbearing representative the using the systems or men we're already doing and improve how they were the partners. Okay, interesting and and...

...through the writing of that book and interview that you've done to lead to book being developed, I guess you must have seen a lot of companies being extremely successful in the Jenneral some less successful. You outline some of the elements you believe are needed or necessary to lead to a successful channel program on the flip side of that, what would you suggest would be some of the challenges or the me perhaps the number one challenge you see companies face when they're trying to build a channel? Number one challenge they face from the build and they go out to try and build a channel as they believe. Why? I think comm you three but absolutely, absolutely go for it? Yeah, no one. Number one problem theyve got is are not ready. Yeah, you're one of the single biggest values you bring to partnership is your ability to train them as if they were one of your own. Because they aren't want that you write a little point bring them into a partnership and then treating them like a competitor. So having a strong on boarding system for your partners. That's normally missing even in some of the bigger tech companies you have don't know how to bring the partner on board and get them to the bank. Within big debate about this. I think you've got ninety days to get a new partner to the bank and cutting an invoice selling your products before that influence ways and their interest ways and they're starting to a flow with other venge that might get them there quicker. Yeah, so that's one of them. Secondly, we've covered down boarding peace. They don't. They don't bring the right people in to manage to channel into the little bit to Nice but really f really nice people that come in there. YEA The powerful welcomes and coming in because actually they're more like furniture than they are causing any kind of disruption. You only positive way, as in getting the people motivated to sell their stuff. So that's, you know, finding the right partner's finding the right people and lust been not least. I mean especially in the established ones. The approach is wrong. It's off the ringing partners once a month or even worse, one in particular I work with was sending and next cell spreadsheet once a month what we called the list of demands. You're in partnership without his here. Yeah, what have you got for us this month? That bringing up and saying what's what have you sold on our behalf this month? But the right to do it if the expectation isn't, say, you're not investing time in that partnership weekly, daily, to find ways to augment and improve. Of Yeah, this is really horrendous. One once a month. What have you got from me? Approach to partner develop? Well, Partner Account Management. We spoke earlier about my my theory that if you take the change the word partner account management to partner development. Yeah, that's simple. Simple changes syntax. Changes that the mindset the individual. They realize their job is to develop their partners, not to run up and asks demand from the business. Yeah, absolutely, and just on the the note you mentioned are around the has bit of debate around how long you have to get the partner to revenue before maybe their interest Wednesday going to start looking elsewhere in order to help them to get to revenue. What do you think the most important sort of element or process you can put in place to support them to do that is that? Is that, from a marketing perspective, feeling them with the D or opportunities is it? Does that come back to the on boarding where it's actually just about enabling them as as best as possible? What's your thoughts on the best tactic or strategy to get them to revenue at the first night? He days teaching to feed themselves and I see no issue, when you're building a partnership, with giving them lead. That doesn't really help them in the long run. Sure we all know what and sales for quite a long time that marketing are often blessed with the the misguided criticism of yeah, these leads are not great, yeah, or any other word that people like changement not great. With giving end leads is it might be a start. Actually, the reason you've gone into partnership is because they're already working with the type of people you want to work so you need to train them, train their account development teams. It probably called account management. Just to hope this coulture your account development teams on the how to, how to convey your proposition and get their existing clients interested in what it is that you do know if this if they're just coming out...

...the cakes and you've got to invest time in teaching them how to prospect effectively and what's the ideal client profile look like? Help them to build some obsession lists. Who are the people we committed together to going and doing business with? What's our approach? How we're going to get time in their diary and we get time and it done. What we're going to do together that turns them into a brilliant client for both of us. And so getting those either thirty second adverse or one hundred and twenty second adverse, because a couple of minutes to go your message. I'm all working together on building that value proposition. What is it? What what does it do? HAS IT benefit you? How do you measure the benefit so that they know that that partner's team really comfortable in going out and generating new business? Of optunity for you here's my standing rules of channel, channel or partner Development Manager. You must stand in there, for stand on their floor and make calls with them. Yeah, going there and tell them the theory how to do it, because you can't prospect yourself. Don't go and tell anybody else to do yeah, I agree. I agree. Show them. We see we see it all the time and some of our clients actually and they come in and sit with our team and and absolutely shocked, to be quite honest, when actually our team will don't reach every single prospect that they may pick up the phone too and actually you may make fifty calls or send fifty emails and not here back. So it's at thecation. Should never be a strategy in develop channel. Absolutely expecting them. This is a troublesome people decide to go into Chang to build a channel because they can't work out how to sell it themselves. It's not going to work. Yeah, absolutely. And then you're going to rely on partners that actually maybe aren't enabled because you have enabled yourselves to do so. A frustration plus frustration leads very quickly to angle. Sure, so you're frustrated, you can't do you're frustrate. They can't there. Yeah, get these angry interactions between the vendor and the channel. Your love our partners are any good. That's your responsibility to get them good. Not There as they've got an audience for you. If you can't train how to convey that message, simply you screwed and just let yourself in the mirror. If you partner, if you're partners your channels not working, have a look in the mirror and ask yourself a question. Who Sport is it? And the answer should always be one hundred percent. Of course, absolutely interesting. So you mentioned a few minutes ago that you've heard back from some mixtremely large technology companies and every in asking you about your book, and I'll sing your opinion on an element to your book. And you mentioned there's other vendors that are emerging. There sort of perhaps of that channel curious stage and clearly the difference between a large technology company and emerging companies. That or any business doesn't have to be technology, but for the purpose of this conversation, they're going to have different challenges when building their channel. Right if you to, it's obviously difficult to say precisely what those challenge just would look like. There's some of the common themes that you see between trying to help a channel curious business build their channel and actually either help build or ignite the channel for a large company. What there's some of the key differences that you see. The benefit of picking up a good vendor that's already got some emerging traction in the market and developed some clients is, let's work on the assumption. Typically Tet businesses aside by experts. Yeah, quite often they've never sold before. They come from technology and never solved before. Why love about some BS never sold before us? When I teach in my system technology, people tend to be systematic in their approach to what they do anyway. Yeah, and you layers selling system on them versus some cheap tactics and they just follow the system and the system works. So so that's one of my favorite things today. You so soon. Then again, so as we start to build out a channel, never done it, no idea what to do, and Soho, we do it and on the book and so so, in that sense we follow the book and we follow a process. It's a wonderful blank sheet that we get to work from. We get very sharp about building I call the Special Forces unit approach. Quite often, when organization starts to build a channel, they try to build this...

...land army, trying to get their logo on as many different doors across the the the the MSP network as they can and get logos and product pictures on people's website. Yeah, and just these feels to me like it's great unspoken marketing exercise on half of the vendors. The more people that talk about and stuff, more likely we are to yourself. I truly really when you're building a channel as your partners shooting hit in the same way you build a special forces. You've net special forces. You intend to be a collection of very specially designated individuals, each with their own specialist skill base. Yeah, each and trained to very, very high standard, hand picked often from a collection of people are available to and has the best in their field. You put that group together and they work as a team, work off each other. Special Forces. You approach to channel with finding really really works. Okay, figure organizations are working, but now or at deploying my scare system there is where you look at your partner network of thousands. You've got some of you want to keep and they they're going to set the world right or they'll self you once or twice a year. You know that and don't need a lot of time invested in them. Maybe a bit of nurturing. You've got an acquisition lest you're the partners that you really wish were on your list. The ad should be no more than twenty five companies, by the way, of any size of company. Okay, you get psessed over a small list of prospects. would be much more effective in your prospecting approach. Yea to just draw and as resurrect. So they may have been a partner of yours for a while. They probably were successful, when the way you want them back and expand is that development group. Probably the top twenty percent of your partners that are performing. You know, it doesn't matter how well they're performing. You can do more to help them get more. Now the YES, most people don't like the scare system has an asset start on its sack. You must, must look at the greenfield partner development slightly different because you hand thinking. But sure, if you've been in this game for a while, eighty percent of your partner community probably isn't performing. Yeah, and at least the bottom twenty percent should be. Let go, yeah, in as polite a manner as you can and tell them it's your fault, by the way, because you haven't built a good system that's enabled it to grow their business and must come away from you. And as you bring those partners away, it's in any case of replacing them with some of those handpicked partners that you've identified on that that list of twenty five. The answer that questions maybe, because it may be treat that you have built this land army and you've got hundreds of partners. Yeah, and you don't need hundreds of partners, you need twenty specialists. Yeah, you want to find it, a twenty specialists have already pretty and your pre pre registered themselves as a specialist in public sector, for or especialist in the NHS, or a specialist in banking and finance or a specialist in manufacturing. So you think about those twenty partners are very clear audience that they work with, age partner network, and I personally I'd rather have take the now approach of two in each category, and I'm very small, very tight partner network that I can invest, almost obsess over my investments in growing their business and then having hundreds. I rarely speak to, rarely touched, don't do a lot for how you got a weather do on next week? Clock on? Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think we see that happened right across the technology spectrum. So will make sense to me. And in terms of that sort of goes on to the next question, which it around. We spoken about what's needed or what's necessary to help vendors build a good partner community in and build a strong channel. You've obviously been in the in the industry a long time and must have helped a lot of organizations build up successful channel programs in the UK and Europe. What are some of the key points that the organization should be looking at as they're looking to build a successful channel program both in the UK but also then as you s got into new regions that, of course you have the cultural differences, you have language differences, you have different ways of selling and everything like that. What are some of the key point to the organization should be looking helpful? Well, I think some of what you just just isolated some of the first thing...

...should be looking out for is the that work work here, excuse to work the world's largest sales of Leadership Training Organization and they our system is deployed in twenty two languages across two hundred and twenty locations, quite a lot of from in the US, quite a lot in the UK and quite a lot of the more in Europe, and that bring the local language, but the system of human interacts and doesn't change that much. Yeah, so you've definitely got to appreciate the culture. That I mean you don't don't send the wrong person into the territory because it will be scorched UF by the time you have to rescue them, as in pull them back in out again. Yeah, something conscious of the type of that. Well, they must understand their locally thetry and the style of the type of people you the way they behave and communicate. In that sense, watch for the excuses. This won't work here, that won't work here, that isn't done that way, because some of that is just yeah, absolutely. And is that something that you've seen in the past? A lot of where organizations have maybe got a successful channel program it in say, North America. It's it's developed well, is successful, partners are selling, but actually they're try to apply almost exactly the same model in Europe and it's just not working. You've had to start again. There are subtleties as you try to travel having built businesses on on all five continents, not the two Poles. Yet going to come yeah, the land comes back again. There is the sense of what work there doesn't always work here, and so you have got to be aware of what's happending in the market and you have got, I think, to bring in or buying expertise. Even if there are a third party today, before you go into the territory, understand what's happening in that space, not the excuses, but the truce was happening in their space, with the market look like, what's growing, what's declining? At your really getting some comp full understanding. Like you said, if you come in there's somebody who's trying to build a land army and then certainly your land up be land stomping all over their grounds, you're going to get resistance. They're going to fight you back. Nobody wants a US company storming into the mirror with their one size fits the world approach. Yeah, and equally, you know British spit distances struggle sometimes to go to the US and get themselves started or light side or we've seen some traction in Germany. Let's just go to Germany do the same thing we did. Went through. You wouldn't go for two weeks on holiday certain parts of Europe. You might get away with it, but you wouldn't go on a cultural holiday and not embrace some of the local language. Sure you know, just to keep yourself around and fed on anything else or ticular lines. Work out how you have to an order a beer first, then food. They don't have an everything priorities. Wouldn't do this. You do have. You do have to work it through again. If you're going to go and build a partner network in Europe and start with one ideal partner, really invest your time in them. Don't give him exclusivity that that costs a lot more money than most people charge for exclusivity. Pig One that you think is that ideal partner, and work with them for a year before opening it up. You have to be clear with the UPFRONTS at the expectation. We want to give you prime in this territory. Sure, and we're going to bring a lot of stuff to help you. Great. We want you to help us to translate it into your local market. Okay, interesting well, they've really appreciate you all your insights. It's pleasure. It's been an interesting conversation and New Perspective for me, certainly on certain certain elements of channel development and the different size of organizations. Just about reaching the end of our conversation here. So if anyone wanted to get in touch with yourself or some one the training, no more about it, continue the conversation offline. How would they suggest to do both of that? Get in touch with yourself, but also sounda training. Well, wherever you are in the world there's a sound of trainer. I can introduce you too quickly. Cool. Introduce you to to the person locally, but I'm getting hold of me. Easiest way to find me is on Linkedin. I'm David W DAVIES OR DAVID DAVIES MAKING channel sales work. If you're going to...

...go search one type David Davis in, I should be the first one that comes up. or The or the English MP is one. You can come me on my mobile, which is plus forty four, travel seven, three, three, nine, seven eight, ones up. Zero. Yeah, encourage my steps. Follow me on linked in. Its uses way to find me and get hold me. Excellent, great well, appreciate that, Dave. Once again, it's been great, I mean on the show. Laugh. Thanks having me, Dad. Much appreciate it. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be tob revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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