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Go all-in and be generous when you want to sell through partners
I have the privilege to meet lots of Microsoft Partners as well as other IT companies in North America and Europe. Many come to me because they nurture a dream to build a Partner Channel or bi-lateral P2P - and I love that, because P2P is my passion!
One problem is that many of them don't realize that becoming great at P2P takes time and it needs to have a structured approach. It starts with building a strategy, then execute on that strategy and stick with that strategy.
I am a very strong believer of being focused and not trying to do too many things at the same time. One mistake that companies often do when they want to build a Partner Channel is that try to hedge and don't go all-in!
If you used to sell direct and you now wants to sell through partners you will need to make sure that there is not even the slightest risk that your partners feel that you are competing with them.
Therefore you will need to make sure that you always have a partner attached to every deals that is made. I've met a few companies this Fall that think that they can do both but building a Partner Channel is hard and your partners have a choice who to do business with so you will need to make sure that you are 100 percent transparent and 0 percent in competition. Your existing customer base needs to be treated in the same manner so that you proactively over time distribute your existing accounts to your partners.
There are a few exceptions and the way to handle them is to have clear guidelines and rules so that it's fully transparent. For instance you might say that customers over a certain size or under a certain size will be handled direct. Or customers in a certain geography are handled direct. Just be careful and instead of being shortsightedly greedy you should be generous and let your partners flourish.
In this context, I should like to quote the French proverb"grasp all, loose all". Furthermore, when selling through partners, don't engage in competition against one's partner at the perils of changing partnership into animosity. We must know when to hold firm and when to make concessions and we must learn to share return on investment on customers with partners.
Well said Cheikh!