My company has developed a billing system for legal professionals. The product is being used by 50+ customers. Now we would like to sell this product to different regions where we do not have any physical presence. I found that channel partners are the best option to sell and provide supports in remote regions.
Unfortunately, I am not sure where to find channel partners and initiate collaboration work with them. If you have worked in such model in past do let me know - where to start from?
You are choosing the perfect next big step which is adapting the channel model to approach more clients and decrease your time to market while doing you non-organic sales growth.
The best way to start is to identify the right customer segment you are trying to reach and find who else is serving them complimenting services, these are your first group of Channel Partners.
It takes more than just hiring the right channel partner, so you also need to consider how you will retain them and make sure that they don't move from your Ecosystem and work with your competitors.
Feel free to reach out to me if you need more information in how to build a proper channel mode. this is what i do successfully for the last 12 years.
We have started to look for VAR's and channel partners recently with our hosted phone system product. Our approach was to firstly identify the the types of companies that would fit well with our product and just who do we think can push sales. I have learned a few things already that may help.
Identify fit: Which type of companies and professionals are in a related industry and what are the advantages?
Since we have a technical product, the best partners for us our I.T professionals and Network consultants, primarily. These companies have a good grasp of technical know how that extends to being able to setup and manage end user deployments. Since we are growing, we prefer these partners because they take a large portion of trivial support off our hands. Relying on us only when the issue is not end user related since they likely handle the customer network, escalating to us in a Tier 2 fashion. These tech companies also are familiar with terms and basic know how of VoIP as well.
In your case perhaps you could target accountants that want their clients to better be able to manage their book keeping, or that don't currently use a standardized system. Wave Accounting for example offers a partner network with this exact model. Similar to our model it seems likely that IT companies and consultants could help as their client needs vary.
Is everyone a good fit?
Admittedly at the beginning we would get excited about each and every partner inquiry and work hard to get the partner up and running. Although this helped considerably with the onboarding process, it is quite a long process and you need to weigh the pro's and con's. If the partner is a one man operation and does not have a dedicated sales team or existing book of potential customers, you can easily spend a month on training and back and forth discussions only to have 0 follow through. Consider vetting your partners for fit as you would your customers.
Where to start?
Finding partners is no different than finding customers in terms of channels.
Social networks: I would certainly start with LinkedIn and identify the professionals and companies that would be suitable. Try paid ads as well.
I would also look to Quora for relevant posts and answer where and when you can.
Ad channels: Google is always a way to source inbound partners and resellers with a well thought out campaign with relevant keywords. Focus specifically on partner terms here.
In addition I would find sites where target partners hangout (accounting forums perhaps) and see what the paid ad solutions are. I would also look for organic ways to slip in your solution into forum conversations.
Search engines: Consider typing in questions or problems related to the solution you are providing and see which sites and forums come up, answer directly if site rules permit.
Hopefully this helps to get things started. Best of luck!
Nitul, you can find many channel partners for a solution that have described. Many times they wouldn't go by the name channel partner, but would be service providers to the same market providing some other solution. If you need to chat on how we approached finding channel partners for BizMerlin, just DM me or connected via LinkedIn. Good luck.