By Theresa Caragol, Founder and CEO, AchieveUnite
Summertime is in full effect. By now you’ve probably taken your “big summer vacation” or are right in the middle of it. Either way, you can start to feel the fall season knocking at your door and are already mentally gearing up for the September-to-December hustle. Just like the back- to-school preparations you’re making for your kids’ first day back, here are four strategies you can implement right now to get your channel ready for the start of the fall season.
Conduct a Channel SWOT (Micro)
Get some reflection time to focus on your most important areas for growth and improvement by performing your own channel SWOT. When complete, identify your top 5 high potential/best partners to invest more in, and then your top 5 underperformers that, if you turned even 1 of them around, it would be a totally different ballgame. Take advantage of this time to get microscopic with it. Think small. Think people. Be specific. Do your best planning, SWOTs and assessments now ahead of the executives asking, as opposed to at the end of the year when everything is crazy, and your staff and partners are traveling.
Implement or Update Your Partner Listening Initiative (Macro)
Now step back, think big, and dig into your mid-year survey, interviews, and benchmarks. Think about where you want to be for 2020 and get a jump on channel engagement with your partners before the fall madness descends. This will give everyone a leg up when it comes to 2020 budgeting, priorities, etc. Work hard to embody the voice of the partner that is truly representative of: geographies, verticals, partner types, and roles in the company. These are critical facets to your planning. It’s also important to vary your listening initiatives, and ensure you’re optimized in this arena. Last, ensure your listening initiatives can be benchmarked year over year. We all know what September and October are going to be like in terms of events and activities. Summer is a great time to “do the doing” that stems from your mid-year benchmarks and surveys.
Focus on Your EQ (Emotional Quotient)
Chances are that you’re not launching a new product or service this month. Good. Take advantage of the decreased operational volume and take the pulse of your EQ (emotional intelligence) and soft skills across your team and partners. It’s always been about more than a transaction when it comes to partners, and the EQ part of the relationship is absolutely critical to long-term success. If you have staff, sales reps, or partners who lack in this area, invest in training them in the soft skills side of the business. It’s value beyond the product and the slightly slower months of summer are a great time to lock in this training. Offerings like AchieveUnite’s ACE leadership training can help you, your team, your colleagues, or your partners shift from good to great and really help ensure relationships last the test of time.
Use the ACTIVE Model for a Preventative Check-Up
Before your kids join a soccer team or go to summer camp, they almost always need to get a physical, right? The same goes for your channel. We partnered with the University of Glasgow on a research initiative called Partner LifeTime Value® to identify the critical factors and priorities that translate into lifetime value for partners. The framework that came out of this research, called ACTIVE, can be used as a checklist to assess your organization’s channel health and predict where you may need to invest the greatest resources in the months and years to come. When these 6 components are present, overall company revenue, company channel profitability, and channel revenue all grow. It’s science. So, take a look at all 6 ACTIVE categories below and use the reflection questions for each to give your channel the check-up it needs:
Training and Education
Investment and Incentives
Velocity and Resource Expansion
Summertime. The days are long, and the sun is warm. Take advantage of these often-underutilized weeks while you’ve got some summer left and get in front of your strategic initiatives before that back to school rush hits. Ask the hard questions. Focus on action. Make some moves. You’ll be glad you did.
Stay tuned for the next installment of our Channel Check-Up series where we’ll talk about everything you need to have in order to start 2020 in the best shape possible!
AchieveUnite is a consulting and education company helping companies of all sizes generate maximum results from their channel and strategic alliance partner organizations. AU is a performance partnering company built by experts with over 200 years of combined experience in partnering, sales, channel leadership, channel education, and coaching.