Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Selecting a Channel Partner

One of the challenges I face this year is selecting and managing channel partners. Although this is not entirely a new experience it is the first time that I have determined to actively manage the relationships. In the past, partnership arrangements have been created solely by expertise in a certain technology.  For example we became experienced with a specific microprocessor family and toolset and developed a solution partner relationship with the vendor.  The relationship was casual with few interactions. And as one might expect we had had mixed results; some referrals, some proposals, and minimal actual work.

I began to think whether having channel partner relationships are really helpful towards meeting our business development goals. I believe they can be. But I need to figure out how to make the partnership work.

So I began asking questions.

  • How can I know which company is the right one to establish a relationship?

  • What type of company should I be evaluating (i.e. service or product)?

  • How much time and money should I invest in the partnership?

  • How does our company add value?

  • How can I project a business return?

  • Are our business interests aligned?

I have many more questions with few answers so far. But it is a beginning. I will have more to say about channel partnerships as the year progresses.