Excelling in Channel Partner Management: Best Practices and Beyond

Icon-watch 3 min read
Icon-date Apr 12, 2024
Lee R.

Customer Success Manager

Excelling in Channel Partner Management: Best Practices and Beyond


    Channel partnerships have become an increasingly popular means of expanding business operations globally and excelling in tough market competition. A meticulously crafted and effective channel partner management strategy does more than drive growth and revenue. It enables companies to find the right partners and oversee relationships over the entire course of a partner lifecycle.

    Showing the effective channel partner management software

    Channel partners serve as an extension of a business’s marketing and sales efforts. Hence, successful management of such relationships allows companies to reach new markets and customers that they can not find on their own.

    However, the implementation of an effective channel partner strategy is always prone to certain challenges that business owners need to find and resolve for better efficiency and results. In this blog, we will discuss valuable insights to manage channel partners successfully, their importance, common challenges, and strategies to overcome them.

    What Is Channel Partner Management?

    Channel partner management is a much-underrated tool. It has the capability to build, maintain, win, and expand relationships with sales and marketing channel partners. Ultimately, it is responsible for partner recruitment, driving sales, and profitability.

    Channel partner management is basically an indirect sales model that relies on third-party agents like agencies, distributors, and resellers. It is a strategic process that facilitates onboarding partners who further endorse your business, resell your products or services, and refer new customers. In return, they often get discounts, commissions, or rewards.

    Managing channel partners with a one-size-fits-all approach fails to address the specific needs of a diverse range of partners. To effectively manage channel partners, channel leaders need to be careful while

    • Selecting partners (Partner recruitment).
    • Deploying an appropriate partner strategy.
    • Customizing solutions to meet partner needs.
    • Evaluating partner performance and partner progress.
    • Enabling ongoing optimization for diverse partnerships.

    This business model enables channel managers to develop and execute sales strategies using multiple sales channels. It is crucial for reinforcing effective collaboration, achieving business goals, and driving mutual success.

    Importance of Managing Channel Partners Using a Stellar Channel Strategy

    A woman uses a stellar channel strategy for managing channel partners

    Selling your products and services is an art and it requires different talents, tools, and strategies to get the job done. Channel partner management is an effective tool for business owners and marketers to try to reach newer markets and audiences.

    Stellar channel management enables channel managers to

    • Carefully select, manage, and win multiple relationships.
    • Incentivize channel partners with commissions, rewards, or bonuses.
    • Create a partnership plan to improve chances of mutual success.
    • Set and track mutual goals to ensure everyone is working towards common objectives.
    • Use PRM software to streamline processes.
    • Set a written contract so that everyone knows what to expect from your partner program.
    • Onboard, educate, and train partners for effective presentation of your brand.
    • Create a partnership community where you share tips, best practices, and updates about your products.
    • Effectively communicate with your salesforce by responding to questions promptly, providing up-to-date contact information, and collecting feedback about your partner program.
    • Maintain mutually beneficial relationships with your partners by inviting them to events or getting in touch through virtual meetings.

    Stellar channel management enables your partners to:

    • Promote you effectively.
    • Achieve mutual goals.
    • Generate more leads.
    • Better understand your products and brand voice.
    • Stay up to date about the latest information.
    • Effectively communicate about challenges.
    • Avail necessary resources, documents, and training materials.

    Developing an Effective Channel Strategy: Challenges and Best Practices to Excel at Channel Partner Management

    Managing channel partners involves much more than product information, training, incentives, and leads. It demands a meticulously crafted business strategy with mentoring, support, and training to enable your partners to win in a complex external sales environment. Below are mentioned some common challenges business owners face while managing their partners.

    1. Lack of Insights into Partner Performance and Activities:

    Business men trying to find insights into partner activities

    Channel partners are independent entities that do not operate like direct employees. Hence, it is difficult to ensure that your partners are depicting your brand in ways that align with your business objectives and goals.

    Controlling partners’ performance is often challenging for partner program leaders due to manual processes of data keeping, tracking, and recording. It leads to issues like

    • Not meeting performance targets.
    • Not understanding and presenting your brand effectively.
    • Not following agreed-upon strategies.

    2. Misalignment of Business Objectives and Goals:

    For the success of a partner program, it is crucial that both the channel managers and channel partners work on the same page. If the partners’ goals and objectives do not align with those of the company they can not effectively collaborate, best represent the brand, or achieve mutual success.

    3. Communication Barriers:

    Channel partners belong to different localities and cultures of the globe. Hence working independently can challenge smooth and effective communication between the partners and the company. Failure to timely communicate can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and missed opportunities & updates.

    4. Resource Constraints:

    Channel partners are not direct employees of the company. Hence, they do not have access to all the required tools and resources to consistently deliver high-quality service. Poor access to resources, product information, or marketing budgets limits partners’ capability to effectively promote your brand and drive sales.

    To overcome these challenges, below are given some best practices that can help companies streamline and win external partnerships.

    1. Retain Control and Consistency:

    Business owners need to ensure that their partners are working towards the sheer objectives, goals, and values of the company. They can do so by providing:

    • Clear product and brand guidelines.
    • Customized training and support to teach effective marketing and sales strategies.
    • Regular reports of partner’s activities and progress.
    • Personalized feedback on partner’s performance.
    • Sending timely updates about the latest product information.

    These steps help partner program managers retain control over partners’ activities and deliver a consistent brand image to new customers.

    2. Collaboration and Transparency:

    Collaboration and transparency are two of the key aspects to make a partnership successful. Collaboration ensures the commitment of both partners to achieve common goals by sharing timely and latest resources and information.

    Transparency involves setting clear terms for what to expect from this partnership. Both approaches ensure strong and trustworthy relationships with channel partners. Ultimately, it drives more sales, market share, and customer satisfaction.

    3. Alignment of Goals and Priorities:

    Aligning the goals and priorities

    Ensure that your partners’ goals and priorities are aligned with that of your business. You can do so by setting clear terms for your partner ecosystem that elaborate on how you want to proceed with your channel partners through the entire partnership lifecycle. For instance:

    • Providing written documentation.
    • Open and regular communication.
    • Setting clear performance metrics.
    • Reviewing partner activities regularly.
    • Discussing challenges and limitations.
    • Providing resources, training, and support.
    • Incentivizing good performance through recognition or rewards.

    4. Communication and Relationship Building:

    Open and effective communication with channel partners can be a game changer for your partner program. Regularly communicate with your partners to discuss:

    • Challenges in promoting your products, targeting new audiences, and best utilizing available resources.
    • Limitations in your channel strategy and areas to work for improvement.
    • Feedback for analyzing partner performance and targets.
    • Provide instant support and answers to partner’s queries.


    A partner ecosystem is a diverse and intricate network of partners committed to boosting sales and recognition of a brand. Channel partners promote products or services and in return get a reward or commission. The process is not as simple as it may seem. It involves multiple activities partners perform and channel managers foresee to analyze the success of the program.

    One of the easiest ways to manage all these operations in one place is to use channel partner management software like Relavate. It provides each individual with a personalized partner portal that serves as the hub of all activities crucial for excelling in channel partner management. It is an all-in-one solution that empowers all types of partners by enabling assistance at every step of their partnership journey.

    Lee R.

    Customer Success Manager

    LinkedIn icon

    A seasoned Customer Success Manager known for his unwavering dedication to ensuring client satisfaction. With a knack for building lasting relationships and a passion for problem-solving, Lee is committed to helping customers thrive.

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