Partner Maturity Model Main

What resources should we be investing in developing partnerships?

How many partners should we have?

What automation infrastructure do we need to be effective with partners?

The answers to these questions depend upon your stage of partnering maturity. Effectively developing partnerships can increase organizational success – impacting revenues and profitability, customer reach and satisfaction. Success first comes with an understanding of where your organization falls on the spectrum on partnering maturity and how to continue to drive growth.



Five Phases of Partner Maturity:

Novice – Build the Foundation

As a Novice organization you are evaluating the overall value of partnering for the way your organization goes to market. Will an indirect model help you reach your target customers more effectively? What do you need to get started in engaging partners as a new sales channel? What resources do you need to expand your channel reach, and when can you expect payback from that investment?

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Tolerant – Engage with Partners

Once your executive staff determines the expected return is worth the investment in time, resources and budgets and you begin to launch your first partner program, basic portal and communications activities, you will move from being a partnering Novice to what we consider channel Tolerant.

As a Tolerant organization you start to add indirect sales to your direct model. You know you need to recruit partners and improve their engagement and sales. What partners do you have? What are the skills and experience that make partners successful? How many resources are needed to support the partners in the field? How do you develop internal operational processes and policies (like recruiting and on-boarding) to enhance partner engagement? Where can automation help you in the core processes of on-boarding, deal registration and partner communication?

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Reliant – Become Fully Operational

As the programs, processes and automation initiatives begin to effectively engage and empower partners, you will start to become Reliant upon the volume the partners are producing.

Your Reliant company is focused on segmenting your partner ecosystem to various target customers – branching into new partner types to reach unique market opportunities. You are prioritizing and organizing existing partners and have recognized you need to recruit a new class of partners to reach new customers. Do you have a strong business value proposition to clearly articulate the financial opportunities to this new set of partners? Do you have a formalized field engagement process to reduce channel conflict – including identifying inside and outside partner account managers and implementing a unified engagement process for both licenses and services across the direct and indirect teams?

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Accomplished – Globalize Your Program

When the partnering success has increased executive attention, investment and transparency, you are propelled into the next phase of partner maturity – Accomplished.

As you move forward your Accomplished company is focused on driving specialties like services partner programs, ensuring a full solution sale by facilitating partner-to-partner relationships and globalizing the partner program and processes. You are evaluating your channel coverage models, ensuring an effective ROI from the partner and the support resources across the regions. Does the partners’ financial investments and potential return align at each program level? Can you simplify the programs to align to the partners’ investment and performance – revamping program levels, deal registration, rebate and MDF initiatives? Do you have the systems to track partner engagement, performance and profitability?

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Centric – Optimize for Continued Growth

When a channel model is well integrated into your company’s DNA, you become channel Centric – your entire company is aligned with the partnering vision and mission.

Your Centric company has executive sponsorship for fostering a partner ecosystem as your primary route-to-market model.  Before the business units develop product, you think about how the partners are going to be able to drive the products to their customers. Are these products going to be easy to sell and support by the partners? Have you segmented and defined the roles and responsibilities to develop and manage partners across the channel team, the sales team as well as the expectations for the distributor resources? How do you reduce the administrative burden of partners (ease-of-doing-business initiatives) and measure and optimize partner profitability? There is still a great deal of fine-tuning and evolution to keep margin levels strong, communication lines clear and processes and programs easy to embrace.

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