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Our last post focused on the importance of nurturing the reseller-vendor relationship to ensure lasting success. In this post, we put that relationship to work.
Coaxing a sale out of a prospect typically takes a great amount of time and effort to achieve, as any good salesperson knows. In channel programs, there is an advantage: a tag team of resellers and vendors to double the effort. Channel events, which bring together resellers, vendors and multiple prospects to introduce vendor solutions or services that address a specific business need, provide the perfect backdrop to showcase the strength of a reseller-vendor relationship and their mutual goal to drive sales.
[Related: 2012 Best Companies To Partner With]
Assuming your reseller-vendor relationship has been established, the following steps present a framework for executing a successful channel event.
1.) "He Who Fails to Plan, Plans to Fail"
There's a reason this proverb is so famous: It's true. Before assigning responsibilities to either the reseller or vendor, before inviting prospects or selecting your venue or pulling together your presentation, develop a complete but simple event plan. Start by determining the goal of the event. Is it to close deals or engage new prospects? Creating a list of attendees is also part of the planning stage. When compiling your list, pay careful attention to who the most appropriate prospects might be. Are they executives? Mid-level managers? Once this has been determined, tailor your presentation accordingly. The number of invitees will also determine whether the event will be a small, intimate gathering or a larger group.
Deciding which day of the week the event will be held is also key. Remember that midweek is best: Mondays and Fridays are often used to extend weekend getaways for many lucky folks, and statistically speaking, Mondays are the most popular sick days. Aim for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday instead. Next, determine how many invitations and reminder emails you'll send out, and work backward with a timeline. This will keep your event planning on track so last-minute (and often unwelcome) surprises are minimized.
2.) Divide and Conquer
Keep in mind this is a co-sponsored event, so resellers and vendors must divvy up responsibilities, share resources and agree on methodology. A complex MS Project program can be used, or even something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, but there must be some system in place to track and itemize all that must be done and which party is responsible for each task. Determine whether the reseller or vendor will draft the invitations, reminder emails and calendar invitations, for example, and who will make follow-up calls to ensure a satisfactory turnout. This is also a good time to decide who will pick up the tab at the close of the event. Depending on whether the reseller has an established run rate, the vendor may take on this responsibility. But these channel events are also an appropriate way to dispense a reseller's accumulated marketing development funds.