Halloween Special 3 - The Nightmare on Channel Street: The Walking Dead – Bad Referrals


Convey MicroCast Series 

This is Carolyn Bradfield and you’re listening to the Convey MicroCast audio series.  

This week is our Halloween MicroCast series and we gave Freddy Krueger a shout out by entitling our first episode, the Nightmare on Channel Street.  We identified nightmares in the channel that keep you up at night, can ruin your channel program and destroy your revenue.  So many of you have seen the Walking Dead, that wildly popular series that has lasted for 9 years and filmed in the state of Georgia, Convey’s home.

This episode of the Nightmare on Channel Street starts off easy enough.  Partners are throwing deals to you right and left, asking you for quotes and submitting deals.  But then the nightmare begins.  You’re working way too hard preparing tons of quotes for companies that are just plain wrong for your services.  It’s a nightmare because your entire channel team is totally deployed chasing deals that will never convert, partners are frustrated because they don’t know which prospects meet your standards and your channel is being sucked into a never-ending quoting nightmare.

What looked like good deals are the now the “walking dead”.  How can a channel program hold off those zombies and get deals that will actually convert?  If you want to survive this episode, here is what you can do.

Make sure that sales partners have a clear understanding of your ideal customer profile.

If partners are sending prospects over to you and asking for quotes that never produce a deal, whose fault is it really?  I’ve seen many channel programs complain about the wasted time in quoting bad deals, but not enough programs accepting that they were ones at fault because they never educated the partner on what types of customers are ideal for them. 

Partners need to understand what markets you are strongest in, the size of the company that is right for you, and what type of buyer inside that company you need to talk to.  Convey had a vendor that was getting absolutely no traction with partners for their hosting solution.  When we explored the type of customers they already had, we found out that 65% of them were healthcare organizations because of the HIPAA-compliant platform the company had.  However, their healthcare market focus was never shared with partners, so they had no idea where to focus their efforts.  Once partners were educated, the right deals began to flow through.

Make sure your program has a clear understanding of the ideal partner you want to represent you.

Not every partner that is out there has the customer base, technical expertise, or sales capacity to sell services, yet many channel programs cast a wide net then wonder why they are either ignored by partners or get the wrong referrals.

Convey’s Channel program has over 23,000 sales partners that belong to 40 master agent portals but trying to influence and form relationships with all of them when selling your services that are only appropriate for some of them is a recipe for frustration and un-met expectations on both sides.

And lastly, clearly define the rules of engagement for deal referral or getting a quote.

Partners like a clear understanding of process.  They have hundreds of vendor choices and if they are not clear about how to refer, how to ask for a quote, what information you want, and who to deliver it to, they will make up their own process.  Consider formalizing your referral and quoting process by creating forms to add the information you care about.  Set partners expectation about what you plan to do once you get their information so everyone is on board and on the same page.