The Taylor Group
International Sales & Marketing Consultants
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Our Partners
  Consulting Co. and Resellers

Programs for Vendors

"Creating and growing a vibrant and successful channel program is much more than signing an agreement with a prospective partner, and then anticipating or hoping that sales will automatically roll in. If it were that simple, then every channel program would be hugely successful."

Software and Hardware Vendor programs fall into two main categories:

1. Sales and Business Development
2. Program Development and Support

We recognize the need to produce immediate results in generating new business opportunities and sales. As a result, we have "Fast Start" programs designed to do just that. We also develop the strategies used to increase the odds that these "Fast Start" programs maintain their momentum in generating desired results. To be successful, the programs must be developed and deployed so as to produce sustainable, long-term revenue and other types of growth. These "Fast Start" programs are custom developed to our Clients' specific needs and business environments and include unique combinations of program elements and services.

Our Alliance Development and Consulting programs and services are grouped as follows:

Partner Identification and Recruiting
Partner Program Assessments and Validations
Competitive Research and Analysis
Strategic Planning and Program Development
Opportunity Management
Channel Sales Strategies
Partner Enablement and Sales Support Program Development/Deployment
Partner Sales Training
Channel Conflict Management and Mitigation Strategies
Other Aspects of The Taylor Group Alliance Consulting Services

Partner Identification and Recruiting
This is where the rubber meets the road. For an alliance program to work well, it needs the right mix and number of partners. If all the other elements of the program are in place, but the right partners are not, the alliance program will be stifled. Much more is involved than simply calling personal contacts at a relatively limited number of companies and trying to recruit them into a program for which they may not be an appropriate match. This is often trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Much more is needed to make the process work.

By drawing on its extensive North American database of potential partners, The Taylor Group will help assure that the most appropriate partners and sufficient number of partners will be recruited. We have a detailed knowledge base of the size, types of specialized services offered, geographic presence, vertical industry specialties/targets, etc. of partners of any significant size.

We will also help define and develop a partner profile, which will be used in targeting and selecting potential partners. We provide partner-vendor mapping services, as well as perform potential partner due diligence. After identifying the potential partners, we will do the sales presentations and proposals, as well as negotiate the corresponding agreements/contracts. The extent of our involvement depends on the specific agreed upon alliance program to be developed.

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Partner Program Assessments and Validations
How well is your existing channel program working? Is it reaching your objectives and meeting its potential? If not, why? Its performance is its effectiveness. If it's not performing, it's not working. Corrective measures then need to be taken to put it on track. All too often, the partnering concept is blamed and hasty conclusions are made to eliminate all or part of the program. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater does not solve the problem. An effective channel program is critical to reaching near and long-range business objectives.

Periodic partner program assessments and validations need to be undertaken to make certain that these programs perform to their potential. They provide the valuable information to enable corrective measures to be undertaken in order to reach the objectives. We, at The Taylor Group provide these types of program assessments and validations.

As part of these programs, we review existing partner program elements or infrastructure, measure channel partners' client satisfaction, analyze partners' channel market presence, review and analyze partners' sales programs and initiatives, determine channel control and power, analyze revenue and opportunities generated by the indirect channel as a whole and by respective partners. We also assess channel trends.

We then make recommendations of how to keep the indirect channel working for you to deliver your objectives.

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Competitive Research and Analysis
There once was a time in the not too distant past when competition was only one of many factors influencing a sale. Competition was not a critical factor. There was business enough to go around for everyone. Many vendors were so confident in their solutions that they even claimed not to have any competition. This is because of a sometimes very minor differentiation in their products. Times have changed.

A substantial decrease in the release of budgets for new initiatives and the delay in purchase decisions in many circles have created a major new factor that must be reckoned with…competition. Using FUD can no longer be the major strategy when addressing the competition. Competitive issues or questions raised by prospects, clients, and potential partners must be directly met and answered. Strategies need to be developed for each of the major competitors in a vendor's niche. This is as important for a channel partner as it is for a company's direct sales force.

We, at The Taylor Group provide various competitive research programs and solutions to help address and overcome competition issues. These programs can become instrumental for both the indirect and direct channels.

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Strategic Planning and Program Development
Not all partner programs are created equal. Why is it that some programs are hugely successful, while others never really seem to get out of the starting gate? The answer is really quite simple. Successful programs result from well thought out strategies, and not necessarily the latest technology product. Too many times companies overlook or disregard the "get set" aspect of "get ready/get set/go". Many programs are hastily deployed before they are developed. Strategy development is so critical to the near and long-term success of these types of programs. Great strategies do not necessarily delay deployment. Rather, their development hastens the time that these types of programs start producing results.

The Taylor Group provides strategic planning and program development services that will help you maximize the success of your channel program. These plans are custom developed for every vendor and its channel partners. We do not believe in cookie-cutter strategies or programs. The solutions are pragmatic and are designed to maximize returns with minimum investment. They are also designed so that they can easily be modified to meet your needs and those of your markets.

We also develop R.O.I. models, using verifiable results, to help you justify the investment that potential clients make in your solutions.

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Opportunity Management
Turning opportunities into sales is both an art and a science. To maximize the success of any sales program, both need to be well-honed. Closing deals is the ultimate goal, but managing the opportunity through the various stages of the sell cycle is just as important. A fine-tuned opportunity management strategy and methodology can help accomplish the ultimate goal and assure that no opportunity falls through the cracks.

The Taylor Group will help accomplish these goals by helping you develop an opportunity management program as part of an overall CRM system if none is yet in place. We will also help you review and analyze an existing program to fine-tune it. This includes an overview of existing sales processes and recommendations for improvements. It also includes assistance with developing sales forecasting processes and methodology tools.

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Channel Sales Strategies
Just as no two vendors are alike, no two partners are alike. So if they are all different, why develop identical, single sales strategies for all? A "one size fits all" solution simply does not create maximum results. This is especially true when partnering with large partners.

We, at The Taylor Group will help create customized sales strategies that are appropriate for respective partners.

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Partner Enablement and Sales Support Program Development/Deployment
Once the partners are recruited, the degree to which they are enabled has much to do with their ultimate success. Included here are all the sales, product, service, and other support program infrastructure to enable the respective partners to become relatively self-reliant. These programs are designed to assist the partners to generate maximum results. They also greatly help to minimize the constant partner handholding that otherwise would have to be done.

Enablement programs vary by type of partnership. A program for VARs is not the same as that for pure Systems Integrators or consulting companies, nor is it the same for OEMs as for Technology Partners. Just as each type of partnership is different, enablement programs for each type is also different and must be so developed.

As the partner program attains a critical mass of partner members, the program elements also change. A new or younger program with fewer partners in the onset requires basic elements to get it jump-started. Once the program starts maturing and more partners are added, then the support program also needs to evolve into greater and more sophisticated elements. The time period that this process takes varies greatly. It can be very rapid or gradual, depending on the partner strategies that are developed and implemented.

The main categories of these types of enablement/support programs are:

  • Sales Support Material Programs - These are the items that are essential in helping the partners' sales and business development staff help sell the company's systems and solutions. Included, but not all-inclusive, are partner collateral material, power point presentations, sales guides/alerts, value propositions, and partner success stories. This is in addition to the support material available to the company's direct sales channel reps.
  • Promotional Programs - These items support the sales efforts. Included here are partner program identification seals, logo exchanges, trade show co-ops, event signage, PR and analysts programs, vendor-partner internet site linkage, etc.
  • Marketing Programs - In order to maximize their level of success, partners also need to develop and implement their own marketing programs. To assist them and to make certain that these programs not only include their own solutions, but also to do this in the best possible manner, vendors need to provide such types of programs to their partners. Included here are marketing extension, co-op marketing, and prospect database marketing programs.
  • Support Programs - This includes items such as partner newsletters, partner tech bulletins, and partner handbooks. These are developed when the partner program attains critical mass.
  • Conferences - These are company conferences specifically developed for partners. They can be stand-alone or part of a company's Users Conference on a regional, national, or international scope.
  • Product Software - Included here are demo and developer systems.
  • Product Support - This includes product maintenance and support programs. Also included here are product update summaries that feature valuable product related information. These can be distributed on a weekly or monthly basis. They keep the partners' staff informed of all relevant product issues and trends.
  • Product Certification - These are the extension of a company's technical certification program to its partners.
  • Partner Proposal System - A valuable key to winning contracts is producing top proposals. These are stand-alone or ASP based systems that will provide the tools to enable partners to quickly and efficiently produce the "Best of Breed" proposals for a vendor's solutions.
  • Webcasts / Webinars - The use of webcasts/webinars in sales are increasingly valuable tools for vendors and partners alike. They are becoming strategically important because they enable virtual presentations and meetings to take place. They can be used for product demos as well as to disseminate other information in a meeting environment. The advantage is that the members can attend the meeting from their corporate offices, virtual offices, or any other location where they have access to an internet connection. Meetings made easy and less expensive.
  • Partner Intranet Sites / Portals - Partners require greater access to information than clients and prospects. The best way to provide for this is by the development and use of an intranet site that only contracted partners can access. These sites are crucial to providing self-service capabilities to the partners for the information and support that they need in their daily business and technical operations.

    Intranet sites contain items that only partners are authorized to view and download. This includes technical information, strategies, white papers, product patches and upgrades, and other items not meant for the general public. These sites also are the entry point for customer support for a partner network. They not only provide this type of support to the respective partners, they reduce the time that the vendor's staff needs to personally handle partner requests. They significantly reduce the response time to provide partners the answers, items, and support that they need to service the ultimate clients.

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Partner Sales Training
In order to maximize revenue, partners must have a well-trained sales or business development force that not only has an excellent understanding of the products and solutions that the partner sells, but also is trained how to sell the respective products. Since partners sometimes have a wide assortment of different solutions that they offer their clients, there is oftentimes a wide discrepancy in the type and level of training they provide to their sales and business development staff. General sales training that encompasses all their products is just that…too general.

We, at The Taylor Group develop and administer the customized sales training that will help enable each respective partner's sales and business development staff to better sell your solution. This includes strategies, value propositions, pricing, and also topics such as R.O.I., competitive intelligence/dealing with your biggest competitor/s.

Special training programs are developed in a variety of training formats including traditional classroom/conference room settings, training tapes, CD-ROM, and Internet-based eLearning. We will help you decide which is best or which combination is most conducive to your solutions and partner program.

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Channel Conflict Management and Mitigation Strategies
When a company has both a direct channel and an indirect channel of sales, distribution, or business development, there exists the possibility that channel conflicts may occur from time to time. These conflicts most often result from chance occurrences that the same companies are called on by both channels for the same business opportunity. Most often these conflicts are revenue or sales compensation related.

These conflicts fray relations between the company and its partners if not dealt with immediately or prevented from occurring or reoccurring in the future. If the conflicts occur too often or if the severity is too great, they can cause major, and sometimes irreparable damage to the respective partnership. In these instances, no one wins. The primary reason for partnering is to create win-win scenarios in which both the company and its partners prosper from the relationship.

The degree and the number of times that these conflicts occur varies from company to company and partnership to partnership. We, at The Taylor Group will assist you in developing the custom strategies to manage these conflicts when and if they should occur. More importantly, we will help you to develop the strategies to mitigate the likelihood that these conflicts are apt to occur.

The one thing that is certain is that conflict is much more likely to occur if no strategies are in place to prevent it from occurring. Potential damage is greater when any conflict that does occur is not dealt with immediately. We will help you to create long-lasting partnerships that will generate many greater returns by addressing these areas so vital to both parties.

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Other Aspects of The Taylor Group Alliance Consulting Services
We provide various categories and levels of services to maximize the impact of your existing or new channel program. This ranges from assisting you with specific aspects of these programs, as described above, to the development and management of the complete program and operations on an outsourced basis.

Recognizing that the degree that these elements are in place is different for all companies, we provide and offer specific solutions that will address and solve your specific needs. The objective is to help you create a "Best of Breed" indirect channel program and operation that will generate maximum revenue for your company.

These programs and solutions are also available for select, individual categories of partners, including VARs, SIs, Solution Providers, Big 5 and other Business Consulting Companies, OEM, and Technology Partners. We also work with a variety of vertical industry specialties within each of these above categories. We will assist you in developing specific strategies and then implementing those strategies to help you "Sell More of What You Sell".

  • Does your existing indirect channel program fall short of your expectations?
  • Is current indirect channel revenue or revenue growth lower than what you expect or need it to be?
  • Do a small number of your partners generate the bulk of your indirect channel business?
  • Are per partner revenue numbers lower than your expectations?
  • Do your competitors try to steal your partners?
  • Is the level of client satisfaction with any or your partners lower than what it should be? Are client issues higher than what you would like?
  • Have any of your partners quit being a partner?

If you answered yes to any of these, please contact us for more information!


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