CEOs of innovative tech companies that are ready to bring their product to market can travel down two paths: direct sales reps or channel partners. While both alternatives provide unique advantages, channel sales have become increasingly appealing for many a Silicon Valley and venture-backed start-up.
The most overt benefit of an entrepreneurial firm opting for the channel is the instant access they gain to partners’ existing customer relationships. For a product that isn’t fully established in the market, consumers likely won’t know to look for your specific offering or brand.
Productive channel partners are in tune with their customers’ wants, so if your product fills a demand gap while also making the partner money, they’ll be willing and able to push it all day long.
Broader Market Access
Likewise, channel partners allow vendors to trump geographic boundaries that would be a costly challenge to overcome with direct sales reps. Instead of needing to open multiple offices, vendors can leverage their partners’ locations as a means of broader distribution and for a fraction of the cost.
Lower Up-Front Investment
Relying on channel partners allows capital-strapped entrepreneurs to minimize initial costs associated with a sole reliance on internal sales reps. The reason is two fold: partners come to the table with technological expertise and earn their keep based on a percentage of the revenue they bring in. That said, partners still require support from the vendor to be successful including proper training, sales support and, of course, leads.
So does this mean that every tech venture should take off running down the channel partner road? Of course not. Without the right product and the right strategy, a small business that flops it’s way into the channel is sure to fail. However, for those who understand exactly what channel sales success takes, it can be an extremely viable, lucrative option.
About The Guest Author: Stacy Desrosiers is an accomplished channel expert with nearly 20 years success in engaging, enabling and marketing with VARs for technology companies. Her work with Channeltivity, stems from the belief that having a strong foundation will enable any organization to successfully manage and support their growing partner base.
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