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Channel Partner Management: Solutions to 7 Common Pain Points

To ensure your channel partner program succeeds, it’s important for your Program Manager to prioritize program performance over program administration. When you’re battling day-to-day challenges, you lose the opportunity to learn from data and create impactful program enhancements. 

Below are seven pain points Channel Partner  Managers often experience while administering a channel incentive program. Cumbersome programs can be a burden for admins which means that they focus more on running the programs and less on analyzing program performance. That’s why, in addition to listing common pain points, we’ve also included solutions to help drive performance.

Pain point: your resources are stretched too thin.

Is your team too small to manage a channel partner program? Is your lack of resources holding back your growth? Are you looking for better efficiency in your program operation?

Solution: Level up with technology

Create a wish list of things you want to implement to improve your channel program. Technology with a robust collection of features—from rules design to performance tracking to award structures—can come to your rescue. Program attributes that were impossible to accomplish manually are suddenly available for you to enhance your program and drive stronger results.

Pain point: your team doesn’t have expertise in key areas

Your channel marketing team is smart. They’re good at what they do. However, they may lack expertise in critical areas, such as loyalty strategy, channel partner management, rules modeling, program design, behavioral science, tier analysis, etc.

Solution: Determine which components to outsource

You can’t be an expert in all areas, and your team may lack experience to help your channel program succeed. You need to determine where and how to get reliable support to design, optimize and nurture your program. It’s out there, and the best programs make use of it.

Pain point: you have too many manual processes in place

Manual processes are time-consuming, error-prone, and inefficient. Doing things manually often causes delays with channel partner management and can result in partner disengagement.

Solution: Graduate from manual to automated processes

It’s time to move away from manual processes. Instead, go digital … move your claims, allocations, and other incentives management online and watch partner engagement soar.

Pain point: you lack real-time visibility into program performance

Without real-time visibility into program performance, it’s hard to know what you’re doing right and wrong. You need to have eyes on the data and figure out if you’re hitting your goals. The more visibility you have, the easier it will be to make changes and drive success.

Solution: Activate the power of your data

Real-time dashboards and reports are key to your channel program participants succeeding and your overall success. Real-time data enables you to make data-driven decisions with visibility to KPIs. Plan and pivot with confidence.

Pain point: you’re not communicating with partners efficiently

Meeting channel partner management objectives is dependent on getting key information in front of your partners. Making sure they have the information they need in a timely fashion requires dedicated resources. 

Solution: Platform-driven, data-driven communications

Smart automation allows you to deliver triggered and targeted communications to the right people at the right time. Create partner journeys in the platform, and communications will automatically deploy when events or behaviors are triggered. These branded messages can be time-based, event-based, or achievement-based, offering a flexible way to reach the right people.

Pain point: you’re not meshing short-term goals with long-term loyalty

Management has given you both objectives. You’re expected to drive long-term channel partner loyalty, while also hitting some short term numbers. It may feel impossible to do both, but if there’s a will there’s a way.

Solution: Stackable programs and promotions balance your goals

Stackable programs let you juggle a bunch of different things at once, supporting different groups of people and promo deals. Promotions will achieve short-term objectives while your overall program will build loyalty over time.

Pain point: You’re being weighed down by the burden of legacy programs

Did your team inherit an existing program that was broken and underperforming? Has the program become part of the fabric of partner commissions and expectations but instead of driving new behaviors, it reinforces the same behaviors keeping you stagnant?

Solution: Rethink your program structure

Find out what will truly motivate your partners to sell more. Incentivize the right behaviors that actually drive growth. Consider adding or changing tiers and creating stretch goals that will inject new energy to get your program flourishing again.

Considerations to empower program managers

Consider adding these components to your channel program to drive your success. Looking to prioritize? We’re here to help.

  • Partner with a provider who offers a flexible SaaS platform and access the benefits:
    • Agile and flexible 
    • Easily scalable
    • Reduced time to benefit
    • Automate updates & maintenance
    • Integrations
  • Move from DIY to digital technology
    • Save time without surrendering control
    • Focus on results, not administrative minutiae
    • Avoid costly, embarrassing mistakes with tested software
    • Engage and motivate your partners with proven features
    • Devise a program that drives your company’s strategic goals
    • Constant improvement with regular platform enhancements
    • Consolidate partner recruitment, onboarding, enablement, and management in one platform
    • Reduce claim errors, fraud, and time with AI-driven optical scanning, adjudication, and allocation
    • Create workflows to review and approve marketing development funds
  • Add an administrative toolset to make managing complex programs easier
    • Access to data, dashboards, and reports
    • Claims validation
    • Edit/add partners in the CRM
    • Ready access to the KPIs your CEO asks about in the hallway
    • View and manage your promotions
    • Manage support requests from partners
    • Manage MDF programs
    • Enable partners with downloadable and customizable resources.
    • Manage document review and signing of partnership agreements, contracts, or any document
  • Practice Horizon planning
    • Don’t do everything on Day 1 
    • Use experts for guidance 
    • Understand when to activate each component 
    • Remain effective today, but lay a solid foundation to build upon as you grow
    • Add complexity over time
    • Build a growth plan roadmap
    • Plan for opportunities to keep the program fresh & engaging

Benefits from empowering channel partner managers

Start to empower Channel Program Managers and you’ll start to see noticeable benefits.

  • Achieve growth faster
  • Get more advancements – velocity and capacity
    • Cost savings from automating manual processes
    • Time savings through automation
  • Results of data-driven decision making
    • More confidence in decisions
    • Real-time visibility into program performance
    • Immediate answers to executive questions
  • Benefits of flexible technology
    • Pivot in response to the needs of the market and your business
    • Positive changes so your program never gets stale
    • Answer shifting business objectives (excess inventory, customer trends, etc.)
  • Refocus toward program performance over administrative minutiae 

Next step

Ready to act on these solutions? Maritz is ready to help! Start with this video to learn more about Maritz Channel Partner Management Solutions. If you have questions or would like further assistance, connect with us to speak with an expert.