Our client, a multinational Fortune 500 Telco company, had developed a global channel program, with an emphasis on attracting, retaining, and incentivizing “rising star” channel partners in key geographies. In recent months, the client had learned that key channel partners in Europe and North America were successfully being recruited by three regional competitors. The client asked Maia Strategy to conduct a benchmark analysis of its channel partner program so that it could prepare a successful competitive response to the three major competitors.
Maia Strategy Group conducted a two-part study. In Phase one, Maia Strategy used a combination of primary and secondary research to conduct an exhaustive benchmark analysis of its client’s channel program vs. three major competitors. In Phase II, Maia Strategy conducted in-depth interviews with key channel partners to understand the perceived strengths/weaknesses of our client vs. the competition. The channel partner interviews were double-blind to ensure authentic partner responses.
While the benchmarking exercise suggested that the client provided an extremely competitive incentive structure and service portfolio, partner interviews revealed an unknown dissatisfaction with the client’s channel partner support system. Competitors were providing stronger training programs, sales tools, and access to marketing assets, helping channel partners to convert sales and shorten sales cycles. This was an unexpected outcome of the research, and provided the client with an opportunity to improve its channel program within a very short time period (less than 4 months).
By the following quarter, our client had developed a strategy to share marketing material and collateral with new partners. Channel partners were given a formal “onboarding” training period and a direct contact for partner sales support. Our client also provided marketing collateral and sales battle cards to enable partner sales efforts. The channel program modifications yielded increased retention and a substantial increase in indirect channel sales in the 24 months following the study.