The Good and Bad of Partner Recruitment: Part One

Most channel programs are inundated with Partners with various skills, funnel sizes and lead quality (or lack of leads). The challenge for most Channel Managers lies in the fact that recruiting Partners is easy--but actually identifying good Partners who can resell is a much more involved process.

In the article below, I'm going to discuss why most Channel Managers end up facing these challenges, and what they can do to rescue a poor partner program in it's early stages.

Why is Partner recruitment "easy"?
For most vendors, partner recruitment can be as simple as purchasing a list, making a phone call, and then signing up potential resellers.

The resources you devote at the partner recruitment stage are fairly minimal and don't involve too much ground work to get going. You share already existing sales assets, a product catalogue, and a compensation plan. This makes the early recruitment stage great in case you happen to--
  • Have an easy product to sell
  • Find "diamond in the rough" partners who are able to resell easily
  • Already have sales assets in place you can share with partners
This means "Bad" Partner recruitment is easy. The low level of resources involved to kick start the process lends itself to sloppy management. 

For this reason, most channel/sales managers who specialize in partner recruitment find the first stage--finding and signing up partners--to be relatively seamless.  Without too much effort, you might find that regardless of your company size, you can create a big bucket of partners to support your reselling efforts. You may even get lucky with a few who are able to drive most of your business.

Most early recruitment programs focus on bringing in as many Partners as possible relying on the 80/20 rule --- where 20% of partners ultimately become responsible for 80% of actual sales. This is why most partner programs actually struggle with more partners than they can actually support.

Can too many Partners negatively affect your brand?
From small to enterprise level businesses, too many partners can easily become unmanageable. 

Large numbers of partners without proper infrastructure can:
  • Increase support demands
  • Lead to over-exposure
  • Create poor end-user (customer) experiences 
All of this combined can negatively affect your company's brand and reputation. This is why regardless of business size, at some point every channel manager takes a step back to re-examine the health, growth, and engagement of partners in their channel program.

The first thing you should do when you've hit this point of struggle is calmly reassess what issues you can address in the short term and then plot out your long term goals.

Next week, I will discuss "Good" partner recruitment techniques and tell you how you should actually go about recruiting channel partners.

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