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Ante Up and Focus on Partner Program Basics First

Originating from the game of poker, table stakes represent the minimum amount to play. Not unlike any investment exchanged for goods or services, when it comes to partner programs, if you’ve not addressed table stakes, the rest has to work particularly hard to compensate.  If the minimum is not met, “the rest” becomes extraneous and doesn’t matter as much as you might think.

So, a few salient reminders about Tables Stakes when designing or revising your partner program:

• TABLE STAKES ARE THE STARTING POINT.  Defining baseline requirements for partner participation and the benefits you will extend are the foundation of every partner program. Table stakes requirements might include a partner’s volume of business, geographic reach, technical resources, as well as product knowledge and/or certification.  Benefits might include permission to resell the product at a certain discount level, a web site listing, a channel account manager, and/or leads.  “Keep it simple” is the guiding mantra here.

• ADJUST FOR PARTNER TYPES. While table stakes represent the base line, some tailoring is warranted typically to acknowledge various partner business models. This can be done by testing your baseline requirements and benefits across the various profiles of your partners. If you are a hardware provider, for instance, your software partners are unlikely to be motivated by revenue thresholds, given they are more likely to influence a sale versus resell your product.  Software partners will resonate well, however, to what you offer by way of technical and/or marketing support.

• CALIBRATE YOUR “GIVE AND TAKE” FORMULA. Make sure that what you are asking of partners is in balance with the benefits you extend for being a partner. It’s natural to want the most qualified, truly committed partners to help you grow your business. At the same time, setting that bar too high may keep out an emerging partner from addressing a niche market on your behalf, inadvertently.  Either way, ensure that partners can rationalize a return on their investment for meeting those requirements, by way of benefits that you offer.  If you’re going to require a certain level of certification to gain product access, reward those partners with priority leads generated from your demand generation initiatives, for instance.

• DELIVER FLAWLESSLY, OR TAKE IT OFF THE LIST.  No matter where you land on the “give and take” balance, be sure that you can ensure program requirements compliance and that the benefits you offer can be executed readily. For example, if your table stakes technical support is delivered through a partner portal knowledgebase, make sure that portal is operational 24 x 7, with an on-call back-up technician should your site go down.

A clean, well-executed partner program that delivers table stakes requirements and benefits trumps a complex program every time. It’s a surefire way to differentiate your partner program.

December 11, 2014  ·  

13 comments so far. (Post your own)

#2 | On August 25, 2016, Mr Feroz said:

Ante Up and Focus on Partner Program clear information in your post. i read it and it really helping post. thanks for this.

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#3 | On December 15, 2016, illiena johns said:

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