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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
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Episode · 2 years ago
61: Making Channel Sales Work w/ Dave Davies
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
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If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, you can listen to every episode here.
You're listening to be tob revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executive stay on the cutting edge of salesand marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Welcome to beto be revenue acceleration. My name is Dan Seebrook and I'm here today withDavid Davis, author and chief sales transformation officer at summer training. David,how are you today? Yeah, I'm good, Dan. Thanks for havingme. Good, excellent. Thanks for coming in. So I'll topic fortoday is making channel sales work. Before we get into the conversation, David, could you please introduce, introduce yourself to the audience and tell us moreabout yourself, as well as the company, Sunder Training, of course. Well, my name to day, they've Davies. Yeah, I'm always Daveand unless you're my mom or I've been nautation was David. Been in salessince one thousand nine hundred and eighty six. So can we up to say fiveyears, typically working in technology and quite often in really in management andleadership of technology sales teams. But instyles are now for as a trainer forsix years and again, as you expect, I work with technology businesses, whetherthat's in start up or what I call spark up mode. The otherbeen around for a while. It's gotten from midsdale and they need a sparkor a scale up where they're phenomenally could at what they do. They haven'tsolved ever, have no idea where to start. We write the making channelsales, but making channel sales work work a couple of years ago. Iwas released last year, so she'd expect. Often the companies I'm working with noweither have a channel that for whatever reasons become somewhat dysfunctional. They've foundthey've got thousands of channel partners and two or three that are actually selling theirstuff or their channel curious and they've gone out and they've had some experience ofdirect selling and they believe that they've got a great proposition and but have noidea how to start building a channel, I. How to bring channel partnersinto their world. Okay, excellent. Interesting and today you mentioned that youpublished a book last year called making champ sales work, where you outline often tools to create an effective first party selling program so you share us abit, share a bit more about that book. What people can learn fromit, what they'd take from it, but also the sort of motivation,I guess, as to led you to write books. I must, Imust 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 mehow to write right, good content weekly without worrying about editing it, becausethat'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. Welooked our bookshells and thought there's a thousand and one direct sales books on ourshelves. Everybody's got some take on on some direct as. We thought,what else? What are the types of sales? We write it now andwe signed to talk about my career having built some channels in the businesses thathave worked in. We thought, I Casa, must be loads of bookson this subject. We found I two are any good. The other sevenbooks simply are direct sales books. But where the word sales is they've putchannel sales in front against it. Same direct sales clas and just trying toforce employ into channel world. In the channel world is completely different. Sookay, so we sort of we found this niche that we were going towrite into and you know, generally speaking, I was pronounced as the the expertin channel having built one. And then we spent a year interviewing hundredsof channel leaders, channel managers, channel people. Elise, we didn't knowactually 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 thestructured process to channel debourance. We learn quite quickly that there's not a lotagain 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 thebook starts with that, that selection process, your courtship. What does a perfectpartner 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 gotthe attributes of a great partner you ready, Jane, all the things in placethat make you ready to go into partnership with another persons they shit whata perfect partnership looks like. You're what are the attributes of good partners foryou and your business and what industries? So they focus on what does theirclient base look like? Does it resonate with your idea of what your idealclient looks like? So you've have in partnerships that have your wind for theclient, that win for the partner and the wind for Your Business. Wego to take that step further. We really help them to design good achannel managers. You. We did our interviews. What we found quite quicklywas that a lot of people in the channel, everybody, but a lotof 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 intomore of a partnering, the Assumption there being that, you know, it'sjust a conversation between two people too. Nice people have nice conversations. It'sa bit more so than that to be truly effective a channel management. Andyou really weren't for hats any given time, and so you need phenomenal expertise asa direct salesperson biggest criticism most ben as have of their channel is theywon't let's talk to the end user. I would let you talk to mineusers 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 managementskills and they also need to understand that they are in the management butthey have no power over the individuals they're managing. So your partners that you'remanaging in reality of managing a sales relationship with you have no decisionmaking power overwhen you can hire them, fire them. Little effort in on boarding you had. Don't control their rewards, their recognition, share their accountability. Soyou 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 doinga great job on their behalf or partnership with your good analytic skills, goodresearch skills? It's it's a much bigger subject and interesting and in terms ofthat book you mentioned it, it's written as a textbook. So what's theaudience for that? Is that a ceeover company looking to really understand and developthe channel for their first time is it? Is it a channel director that's actuallylooking 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 tellyou. I tell the audience. Re wrote it for, and I guessthis is most of my experiences, is growing very small businesses in excessful,not really multinational. Yeah, so I was writing it from that guy thatjust started a technology business and thought, yeah, maybe alongside my direct salesefforts, I can stub to build a channel. got a great proposition forthe channel partner's it. So it's written for for what we call the channelcurious, those that might not yet have developed a channel and we're looking forsteps to take to building out an effective channel path of their business. Butwill 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 sendingme Fink back and asking me questions on how this stuff works. And they'vealready got what they would considered to be a well defined channel business. It'sjust not functioning the way they hope to word. Yeah, and they're deployingthis system in their business again to to really spark up their channel business andunderstand more about what the responsibility on them as a vendor is when working withtheir partners. They becomes a true partnership, not what many, many of thevendors when we talk to the resellers. It's not a partnership, it's adictatorship that being told what to do by an overbearing vendor or an overbearingrepresentative the using the systems or men we're already doing and improve how they werethe partners. Okay, interesting and and...
...through the writing of that book andinterview that you've done to lead to book being developed, I guess you musthave 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 leadto a successful channel program on the flip side of that, what would yousuggest would be some of the challenges or the me perhaps the number one challengeyou see companies face when they're trying to build a channel? Number one challengethey face from the build and they go out to try and build a channelas they believe. Why? I think comm you three but absolutely, absolutelygo for it? Yeah, no one. Number one problem theyve got is arenot ready. Yeah, you're one of the single biggest values you bringto partnership is your ability to train them as if they were one of yourown. Because they aren't want that you write a little point bring them intoa partnership and then treating them like a competitor. So having a strong onboarding system for your partners. That's normally missing even in some of the biggertech companies you have don't know how to bring the partner on board and getthem to the bank. Within big debate about this. I think you've gotninety days to get a new partner to the bank and cutting an invoice sellingyour products before that influence ways and their interest ways and they're starting to aflow with other venge that might get them there quicker. Yeah, so that'sone 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 bitto Nice but really f really nice people that come in there. YEA Thepowerful welcomes and coming in because actually they're more like furniture than they are causingany kind of disruption. You only positive way, as in getting the peoplemotivated to sell their stuff. So that's, you know, finding the right partner'sfinding the right people and lust been not least. I mean especially inthe established ones. The approach is wrong. It's off the ringing partners once amonth or even worse, one in particular I work with was sending andnext cell spreadsheet once a month what we called the list of demands. You'rein partnership without his here. Yeah, what have you got for us thismonth? That bringing up and saying what's what have you sold on our behalfthis 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 waysto augment and improve. Of Yeah, this is really horrendous. One oncea month. What have you got from me? Approach to partner develop?Well, Partner Account Management. We spoke earlier about my my theory that ifyou take the change the word partner account management to partner development. Yeah,that's simple. Simple changes syntax. Changes that the mindset the individual. Theyrealize their job is to develop their partners, not to run up and asks demandfrom the business. Yeah, absolutely, and just on the the note youmentioned are around the has bit of debate around how long you have toget the partner to revenue before maybe their interest Wednesday going to start looking elsewherein order to help them to get to revenue. What do you think themost important sort of element or process you can put in place to support themto do that is that? Is that, from a marketing perspective, feeling themwith the D or opportunities is it? Does that come back to the onboarding 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 atthe 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 reallyhelp them in the long run. Sure we all know what and sales forquite a long time that marketing are often blessed with the the misguided criticism ofyeah, these leads are not great, yeah, or any other word thatpeople like changement not great. With giving end leads is it might be astart. Actually, the reason you've gone into partnership is because they're already workingwith 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 tohope this coulture your account development teams on the how to, how to conveyyour proposition and get their existing clients interested in what it is that you doknow if this if they're just coming out...
...the cakes and you've got to investtime in teaching them how to prospect effectively and what's the ideal client profile looklike? Help them to build some obsession lists. Who are the people wecommitted together to going and doing business with? What's our approach? How we're goingto 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 bothof us. And so getting those either thirty second adverse or one hundred andtwenty second adverse, because a couple of minutes to go your message. I'mall working together on building that value proposition. What is it? What what doesit do? HAS IT benefit you? How do you measure the benefit sothat they know that that partner's team really comfortable in going out and generatingnew business? Of optunity for you here's my standing rules of channel, channelor partner Development Manager. You must stand in there, for stand on theirfloor and make calls with them. Yeah, going there and tell them the theoryhow to do it, because you can't prospect yourself. Don't go andtell anybody else to do yeah, I agree. I agree. Show them. We see we see it all the time and some of our clients actuallyand they come in and sit with our team and and absolutely shocked, tobe quite honest, when actually our team will don't reach every single prospect thatthey may pick up the phone too and actually you may make fifty calls orsend fifty emails and not here back. So it's at thecation. Should neverbe a strategy in develop channel. Absolutely expecting them. This is a troublesomepeople decide to go into Chang to build a channel because they can't work outhow 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 becauseyou have enabled yourselves to do so. A frustration plus frustration leads very quicklyto angle. Sure, so you're frustrated, you can't do you're frustrate. Theycan't there. Yeah, get these angry interactions between the vendor and thechannel. Your love our partners are any good. That's your responsibility to getthem good. Not There as they've got an audience for you. If youcan't train how to convey that message, simply you screwed and just let yourselfin 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 Sportis 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 backfrom 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 mentionedthere's other vendors that are emerging. There sort of perhaps of that channel curiousstage and clearly the difference between a large technology company and emerging companies. Thator 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 ifyou to, it's obviously difficult to say precisely what those challenge just would looklike. There's some of the common themes that you see between trying to helpa channel curious business build their channel and actually either help build or ignite thechannel for a large company. What there's some of the key differences that yousee. The benefit of picking up a good vendor that's already got some emergingtraction 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 soldbefore. They come from technology and never solved before. Why love about someBS never sold before us? When I teach in my system technology, peopletend 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 followthe system and the system works. So so that's one of my favorite thingstoday. You so soon. Then again, so as we start to build outa channel, never done it, no idea what to do, andSoho, we do it and on the book and so so, in thatsense we follow the book and we follow a process. It's a wonderful blanksheet that we get to work from. We get very sharp about building Icall the Special Forces unit approach. Quite often, when organization starts to builda channel, they try to build this...
...land army, trying to get theirlogo on as many different doors across the the the the MSP network as theycan and get logos and product pictures on people's website. Yeah, and justthese 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 toyourself. I truly really when you're building a channel as your partners shooting hitin 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 theirown specialist skill base. Yeah, each and trained to very, very highstandard, hand picked often from a collection of people are available to and hasthe best in their field. You put that group together and they work asa team, work off each other. Special Forces. You approach to channelwith finding really really works. Okay, figure organizations are working, but nowor at deploying my scare system there is where you look at your partner networkof thousands. You've got some of you want to keep and they they're goingto 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. Maybea bit of nurturing. You've got an acquisition lest you're the partners that youreally wish were on your list. The ad should be no more than twentyfive companies, by the way, of any size of company. Okay,you get psessed over a small list of prospects. would be much more effectivein your prospecting approach. Yea to just draw and as resurrect. So theymay 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 themget more. Now the YES, most people don't like the scare system hasan asset start on its sack. You must, must look at the greenfieldpartner development slightly different because you hand thinking. But sure, if you've been inthis game for a while, eighty percent of your partner community probably isn'tperforming. Yeah, and at least the bottom twenty percent should be. Letgo, yeah, in as polite a manner as you can and tell themit's your fault, by the way, because you haven't built a good systemthat's enabled it to grow their business and must come away from you. Andas you bring those partners away, it's in any case of replacing them withsome 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 havebuilt this land army and you've got hundreds of partners. Yeah, and youdon't need hundreds of partners, you need twenty specialists. Yeah, you wantto find it, a twenty specialists have already pretty and your pre pre registeredthemselves 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 youthink about those twenty partners are very clear audience that they work with, agepartner network, and I personally I'd rather have take the now approach of twoin each category, and I'm very small, very tight partner network that I caninvest, almost obsess over my investments in growing their business and then havinghundreds. I rarely speak to, rarely touched, don't do a lot forhow 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 ofgoes on to the next question, which it around. We spoken about what'sneeded or what's necessary to help vendors build a good partner community in and builda strong channel. You've obviously been in the in the industry a long timeand must have helped a lot of organizations build up successful channel programs in theUK and Europe. What are some of the key points that the organization shouldbe looking at as they're looking to build a successful channel program both in theUK but also then as you s got into new regions that, of courseyou have the cultural differences, you have language differences, you have different waysof selling and everything like that. What are some of the key point tothe organization should be looking helpful? Well, I think some of what you justjust isolated some of the first thing...
...should be looking out for is thethat work work here, excuse to work the world's largest sales of Leadership TrainingOrganization and they our system is deployed in twenty two languages across two hundred andtwenty locations, quite a lot of from in the US, quite a lotin the UK and quite a lot of the more in Europe, and thatbring the local language, but the system of human interacts and doesn't change thatmuch. Yeah, so you've definitely got to appreciate the culture. That Imean you don't don't send the wrong person into the territory because it will bescorched UF by the time you have to rescue them, as in pull themback in out again. Yeah, something conscious of the type of that.Well, they must understand their locally thetry and the style of the type ofpeople you the way they behave and communicate. In that sense, watch for theexcuses. This won't work here, that won't work here, that isn'tdone that way, because some of that is just yeah, absolutely. Andis that something that you've seen in the past? A lot of where organizationshave maybe got a successful channel program it in say, North America. It'sit's developed well, is successful, partners are selling, but actually they're tryto 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 havingbuilt businesses on on all five continents, not the two Poles. Yet goingto come yeah, the land comes back again. There is the sense ofwhat work there doesn't always work here, and so you have got to beaware 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 themarket look like, what's growing, what's declining? At your really getting somecomp full understanding. Like you said, if you come in there's somebody who'strying to build a land army and then certainly your land up be land stompingall over their grounds, you're going to get resistance. They're going to fightyou back. Nobody wants a US company storming into the mirror with their onesize fits the world approach. Yeah, and equally, you know British spitdistances struggle sometimes to go to the US and get themselves started or light sideor we've seen some traction in Germany. Let's just go to Germany do thesame thing we did. Went through. You wouldn't go for two weeks onholiday certain parts of Europe. You might get away with it, but youwouldn'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 orticular 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. Youdo have. You do have to work it through again. If you're goingto 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 costsa lot more money than most people charge for exclusivity. Pig One that youthink is that ideal partner, and work with them for a year before openingit 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 goingto bring a lot of stuff to help you. Great. We want youto 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 interestingconversation and New Perspective for me, certainly on certain certain elements of channeldevelopment and the different size of organizations. Just about reaching the end of ourconversation here. So if anyone wanted to get in touch with yourself or someone the training, no more about it, continue the conversation offline. How wouldthey suggest to do both of that? Get in touch with yourself, butalso sounda training. Well, wherever you are in the world there's asound of trainer. I can introduce you too quickly. Cool. Introduce youto to the person locally, but I'm getting hold of me. Easiest wayto find me is on Linkedin. I'm David W DAVIES OR DAVID DAVIES MAKINGchannel 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 theEnglish MP is one. You can come me on my mobile, which isplus forty four, travel seven, three, three, nine, seven eight,ones up. Zero. Yeah, encourage my steps. Follow me onlinked 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. Muchappreciate it. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companiesworldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse hasexisted for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agilityand scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. SeeHow operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listeningto 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 forlistening. Until next time.
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