With the heat wave across Europe, I thought it would be relevant to share my recent experience trying to teach my youngest child to swim. I am not a great swimmer myself but as I managed to teach my oldest I thought I would succeed quickly in doing the same thing with the little one. I didn’t follow the popular dads’ technique ‘throw him in the water, he will figure out’ I experienced. No, I didn’t. I did think about it but his mum would have killed me….
Instead, I tried to take it easy, being gentle and reassuring. I first held both of his hands, pulling him while asking to kick his legs so he would stay at the surface on his own, but with my help. After what I thought was a sufficient amount of time doing that, I started to let go one hand and this time I was SHOUTING (gently) ‘Kick your legs, move your hand…’ I was shouting because he was crying. Basically, he was scared and not confident enough yet for me to let go and for him to try on his own. He wasn’t ready and needed my support to continue to progress. Understandably… We only spent about 20 min and although it wasn’t his first time in the water obviously, he needed more time, more attempts, more training to build his confidence and develop this new skills.
Reflecting on this experience, while snuggling him in his towel, I understood that there was disconnect between me wanting him to be able to swim and his capabilities to do so. Clearly, I needed to take in consideration that he is 4 years younger than his brother, the fact that he is not yet used to be in a big swimming pool and that this is a complete new set of skills for him that will take time and a lot of support to develop.
Being a channel marketing expert working with the global IT leaders, I realised that vendors do the same things with their partners. Today's changes in sales and marketing are disrupting the way partners (and vendors) do business. With the boom of digital marketing, partners (and vendors) need to adapt and develop new skills to stay competitive, survive and grow their business. Too often, vendors’ expectation is that once a partner program is available with lot of great sales and marketing tools, content and assets, partners should be able to leverage this investment to drive revenue and ROI. Well, this is not how it works! This only generates frustration because vendors are not understanding why partners are not making the most of what they have access to and not seeing progress on ROI and the partners are struggling to see the relevance or how to use vendors’ assets. This is how you damage the relationship and engagement; and in come the competitors…
So what do vendors need to do? Here are a few tips:
Understand clearly and in depth your partners’ current marketing skills, time and resource available - where are they on their “digital journey”?
Align partner program offerings with partner needs – Provide the right level support based on skills, capabilities and goals
Don't just focus on sales but include enablement to your channel strategy - Guide them on their journey
Don’t rush them – Be conscious of where they are and drive appropriate change
Monitor their progress – show that you care with evolving support
This is how the most successful Partner Programs drive the best outcomes from their partners and build strong and long term business relationship.
If you want more information on how to best enable your partners on their journey, or if you're a partner looking to improve your marketing, find more information at the Digital Partners services page.