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Effective Partnering Rules Of Engagement

When crafted well and used correctly, Rules of Engagement can help you manage your business profitably, as well as deliver partner and customer satisfaction. Indeed, Rules of Engagement bring order to your channels’ universe and shed light on what your partners can expect from you.

So, consider the following guidelines for designing and delivering effective partnering Rules of Engagement (hereafter “ROEs”):

1. Have them. Talk is cheap and subject to change or misinterpretation. Put your ROEs in writing, like you would a mission statement.

2. Start small. Focus on the most common selling scenarios (and their potential conflicts) and build from there. While your ROEs may evolve over time, they shouldn’t change drastically. Getting started with your most important guidelines is better than waiting until you have all the bases covered.

3. Invite participation. The best way to ensure your sales team and partners embrace your ROEs is to involve them in the process of creating them. Transparency encourages input while helping to attain balance with business requirements.

4. Speak the truth, no matter how uncomfortable. If you intend to sell direct to some of your key customers, let your partners know. They may not like it and may still decide to compete for that business, but at least you each know where the other stands.

5. Gain commitment from the top. ROEs that lack buy-in from the highest levels of the organization have little hope of gaining traction.

6. Ensure sales teams and partners understand. Companies that value their partners as an extension to their sales teams, as opposed to a “necessary evil,” make ROEs an integral part of their training and enablement programs for sales and partners alike.

7. Communicate publicly. Very few companies do, but those that publish their ROEs gain high marks for integrity with their partners. “Putting it out there” creates a standard of conduct and puts your values front and center.

8. Have a clear escalation path. If you’ve gained commitment from senior management (see #5), this one is simple. We hope your partners will never have to go that far, but they’ll know what to do, if it is necessary.

9. Set the tone. The best way to send a message to your sales teams about how serious you are about your ROEs is to have a digression affect someone’s paycheck. Word will spread quickly and partners will respect your integrity.

10. Get cultured. Truly successful ROEs transcend training and management buy-in to become a part of your company’s culture, which may mean changing sales expectations, and even compensation.

While there is some truth to the old adage “rules are meant to be broken,” ROEs offer a view into your partnering value system. The more you remain true to those values, the more your partners will want to engage with you.


July 5, 2012  ·  

9 comments so far. (Post your own)

#2 | On July 25, 2015, universe said:

Thank you for providing such a nice and detailed information.


#3 | On August 16, 2016, kamal78 said:

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#4 | On September 07, 2016, Tabish Ahmed said:

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#5 | On December 13, 2017, Allen said:

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#6 | On May 03, 2018, Funadiq said:

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#7 | On June 25, 2018, April D. Walker said:

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