I often get the question what steps to take in channel development. Exactly 10 years ago I founded TELLUS International with the idea to help software vendors to establish their channel in the US. There are many reasons why I decided to start my own management consulting company, but the main reason to focus initially on channel development was an easy one: I knew how to scale the business with a channel as the company I was running as Chief Executive Officer had a strong channel and most of the revenue was generated from channel partners.
During those years, I also learned the hard way what did not work so I decided that it would be my mission to educate ISVs and channel partners how to work together. My leadership roles in International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) helped also to really get “under the hood” of different channel topics and challenges. Since those days, I have educated hundreds of channel partners and ISVs as well as Microsoft field teams on a global level and even built a course in channel development in TELLUSacademy.com.
This is the “kickoff” blog entry into a series of blogs that I will be creating in respect to channel topics. I will provide practical advice of how to go about channel development, what tools I use in doing it and what kind of things an ISV should be thinking about when scaling the business with a channel.
I will start this series by just posing a few questions that I want you to be thinking about. If any of the questions are unclear to you, you should consider sitting down with your team and reflect and decide what to do about the topics that you do not have a good handle on.
PRE-QUALIFYING QUESTIONS IN CHANNEL DEVELOPMENT
- Do you already have success in your own home territory with your solution?
- Have you crafted and defined how your optimal channel partner profile looks like?
- Do you have an understanding of the ecosystems that you are going to go after?
- Do you know what the expectations are from the ecosystem that you are going after?
- Do you know how the influencers are in your ecosystem?
- Have you identified the market segments that you should focus on?
- Is your solution tied into specific regions/geographies due to compliance and other regulatory requirements.
- Is your solution tied to one language or do you support multiple languages?
- Have you defined the level of automation that your solution should have in provisioning the service when deploying a cloud solution?
- Have you defined the roles and responsibilities between your organization and your potential channel partners?
- Do you have a support organization in place that can support your market entry into a new region?
- Do you understand the velocity of the business in the target marketplace?
There are many other questions that you should reflect on, but this should get us going. I will address these questions and many more in the upcoming blog entries.
Dr. Petri I. Salonen