Unlocking Channel Partner Success: 3 Vital Traits to Prioritize

The top five US-based tech OEMs generate over 80% of their revenue through channel partners.

Channel partners help OEMs grow not only revenue but also their footprint in the market. Channel partner’s local knowledge and regional expertise help OEMs penetrate new markets easily. OEMs can localize their offerings, leverage known brands, and reduce their customer acquisition costs in the new markets.

Channel partners are critical for spreading OEM’s products and services far and wide. Empowered channel partners help the OEMs focus on innovation as they manage the customers and business growth.

What are Channel Partners?

Channel partner definition varies little across the industry, as almost every business aligns its partner network for a larger footprint. So, a channel partner is a third-party organization or individual that collaborates with a manufacturer or vendor to market, sell, or distribute its products or services to end customers.

Channel partners can include distributors, resellers, value-added resellers (VARs), systems integrators, consultants, and other types of intermediaries. They play a crucial role in expanding the reach of a company's offerings and accessing new markets or customer segments.

Channel partners typically receive commissions, discounts, or other incentives for their sales efforts and contributions to the business's success. Channel partners are a critical cog in the sales and marketing value chain for the OEMs across the industry.

Types of Channel Partners

Modern industry uses a variety of channel partners depending on which business goals the partners will serve. However, OEMs have traditionally stuck with the following types of channel partners:

  • Resellers: These partners act as an external extension of your sales team. They purchase products or services from manufacturers or distributors and sell them to end customers.
  • Technology Partners: These collaborators specialize in complementary tech solutions. They can enhance your product offerings by integrating their technology with yours.
  • Referral Partners: Word-of-mouth promoters who refer potential customers to your business. They don’t directly sell but play a vital role in lead generation.
  • Affiliates: Online product endorsers who earn commissions by promoting your products through their channels (websites, social media, etc.).
  • Distributors: chain intermediaries who manage inventory and logistics. They distribute products to retailers or resellers.
  • Wholesalers: Bulk product sellers who supply goods to retailers or other businesses.
  • Value-Added Resellers (VARs): Customized solution providers who bundle your products with additional services or features.
  • Value-Added Distributors (VADs): End-to-end solution deliverers who provide technical support, training, and other value-added services.

Benefits of Channel Partner Program for OEMs

While channel partners offer several tangible benefits to OEMs, factoring in all the benefits is important. Understanding the benefits can help OEMs design channel partner enablement programs aligned to them. This can include using the right tools and resources to empower the partners.

So, here’s a list of benefits of a channel partner program:

  • Expanded Market Reach

    Reach new geographic regions and market segments through the networks and customer base of the partners.

  • Increased Sales and Revenue

    Leverage the expertise and relationships of channel partners to accelerate sales cycles, and ultimately increase revenue.

  • Cost Efficiency

    Shared marketing and sales expenses, reduce the overall cost of customer acquisition. Thus, partnerships allow you to scale without significant upfront investment.

  • Access to Specialized Skills

    Channel partners can bring unique industry knowledge, technical expertise, and market insights.

  • Enhanced Customer Experience

    Partners provide localized support, customization, and service, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Faster Time-to-Market

    Partner programs enable quick expansion in new markets or launch new products.

  • Flexibility and Adaptability

    Channel partnerships allow businesses to stay competitive and agile. You can identify and adapt to changing market conditions and customer preferences using partner insights.

  • Brand Visibility and Credibility

    Partnering with reputable channel partners enhances brand visibility and credibility. You can benefit from your partners’ established trust and reputation in the market.

  • Focus on Core Competencies

    Channel partners handling consumer-related functions help companies focus on their core competencies and strategic priorities.

  • Long-Term Growth Opportunities

    Strong relationships with channel partners can lead to long-term growth opportunities. You can start joint product development, and co-marketing initiatives, and expand collaboration in new markets.

The Three Vital Traits for Channel Enablement

For Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), channel partner success hinges on several key priorities that ensure effective collaboration, streamlined operations, and mutual growth. Here are three essential priorities:

1. Channel Enablement and Training

  • Developing Expertise

    Providing comprehensive training and support to channel partners is essential for their success. OEMs should offer training programs that cover product knowledge, sales techniques, marketing strategies, and technical support.

  • Content Enablement

    Effective channel enablement ensures that partners have the skills and resources needed to effectively promote and sell OEM products. Content such as product design and feature-related information is critical for selling high-engagement and high-value assets.

  • Solution-Oriented Sales

    High competition, complex products, and strict accountability rules have driven B2B consumers to scrutinize products for solutions. The key question sales teams must address is, “Does this product solve our problem and at what cost?”

    Modern channel sales are also about offering a solution rather than a good product.

Helpful Tools & Methods for Partner Training

  • Qualifying certifications for channel partner onboarding process to ensure right selection
  • Learning Management System (LMS) connected with the partner portal for continuous learning and certification of the partners.
  • Webinars, workshops, and sales training.
  • Product Information Management (PIM) and Digital Asset Management (DAM) Systems integrated with LMS and partner portals.

2. Channel Relationship Management

  • Long-term success with channel sales requires strong relationships. OEMs should invest in tools and processes to foster open communication, collaboration, and trust with their partners.
  • Proactive engagement and regular communication help address partner needs, identify opportunities for improvement, and resolve issues promptly. Building a collaborative partnership ecosystem fosters mutual success and strengthens the overall channel network.

Helpful Tools & Methods for Partner Communication

  • Accountable Communication: Dedicated Channel Managers, and project management tools like Jira, Asana, Trello, etc. Partner Portals for dedicated partner support.
  • Collaborative Development: Collaboration platforms such as Sharepoint, Google Workspace, and PIM systems with collaboration features.

3. Channel Performance Optimization

  • Key Performance Indicators: Constantly monitoring and optimizing channel performance is vital for maximizing partner success and driving revenue growth. OEMs should establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure partner performance and track progress over time.
  • OEMs can identify areas for improvement, implement targeted strategies to address challenges, and capitalize on growth opportunities. This may involve refining sales and marketing tactics, optimizing channel incentives, or expanding into new markets or customer segments.

Helpful KPIs, Tools & Methods for Channel Performance

  • KPIs are an important channel enablement tool as they help OEMs understand the gaps and opportunities. Examples include:
    • Sales Stats: Revenue growth, sales performance (success rate), ROI
    • Market Capture: Market share, customer satisfaction score
    • Engagement Level: Partner engagement level, conflict resolution rate,
  • Performance Assistance: OEMs can boost their channel partner performance with advanced tools and support systems. A few examples of such systems are:
    • Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software,
    • CRM systems,
    • Deal Registration Systems,
    • Marketing automation tools, and performance reviews.

Product Information – Key Ingredient in Sales Enablement

Communication is key to the success of your channel partner network. Correct product information leads to correct solutions and longer lifecycles, upgrades, and happier customers. Sharing and updating your sales channels with the latest and consistent information boosts customer confidence and channel sales.

However, manually updating the large network of partners is often an uphill task. You can conduct webinars, product launches, and online learning sessions for faster diffusion of knowledge. But your sales partners may not need that information immediately.

Also, OEMs need to ensure that they are talking to the correct people. For example, while updating an enterprise user of an old product, the sales teams can offer a compatible replacement. Replacement products may not always be the latest available version of the previous product.

In short, your channel partners should have access to the product information in a way they can use it as and when they need:

  • Freely accessible product information bundles
  • Product design and accessories info
  • Region-compatible products (compliance)
  • Catalogues and marketing collaterals specific to the partner’s target market
  • Language adoptions for the marketing, sales, and technical documents

So, first, the OEMs need to work on building awareness of their products and solutions for the channel partner market. Then ensure that technical and usability information is localized, and only compatible solutions are offered to the partner.

Product information management (PIM) Product information management (PIM) Neurologik’s ProductHub can facilitate channel sales enablement.

Neurologik’s ProductHub as Master Data Solution

Neurologik’s ProductHub is an advanced product information management tool that combines the features of PIM, DAM, CMS, and MDM. The SaaS tool creates a master database for all your product information, documents, images, and other digital media. The master database acts as the single source of truth for all purposes of product data.

  • Single source of truth for all product data and documents
  • Seamless integration and data capture from existing systems
  • Identify and fill product data gaps with validated information
  • Add rich attributes to allow the creation of custom solutions and packs
  • Distribute and share the authentic and updated product data on websites, e-commerce portals, channel partners, etc.
  • Integrate with analytics and NLP packs for data-driven decisions, and localizing product information

The master database allows OEMs to enrich their product data, add tags to the digital assets, and ensure accuracy. Secure access, regular validation, and version controls ensure a high quality of the data.

ProductHub can empower your channel partners with regionalized catalogs and document bundles. Also, you can turn your website into a self-service portal for your partners and customers. OEM website can display product information with rich attributes based on user intent to deliver custom solutions.

ProductHub can automate anywhere from 50% to 80% of your information-sharing process with channel partners. Thus, saving time and enabling partners with their sales and customer engagement efforts.


Successful channel partners usually outperform others on key business metrics. For instance, the number of deals or customers, the average size of the deals/sales, customer satisfaction score, etc. Other than these, you can also look at sales meetings, partner portal activity, and joint marketing campaigns.
KPI alignment in channel partnerships ensures that both parties are working towards shared goals and objectives. It facilitates better communication, collaboration, and accountability. Shared KPIs will eventually enable effective performance measurement and strategic decisions driving mutual growth.
Communication is a pivotal factor in channel partner enablement strategies. It fosters alignment, clarity, accountability, and transparency between the partners and the OEMs. Effective communication channels enable information exchange, feedback, and insights. Thus, communication enables partners to stay informed, engaged, and empowered.
Product or service expertise in channel partnerships builds credibility, instills trust, and enhances customer satisfaction. Partners with deep knowledge can effectively communicate value propositions, address client needs, and provide instant support. Thus, expertise leads to trust, customer loyalty, and increased sales for OEMs and expert partners.
Open communication, transparency, and fairness are critical building blocks for channel partner relations. Fast and transparent product information sharing facilitates these factors between OEMs and channel partners. PIM systems like ProductHub enable these features with the added advantage of destination formatting. Thus, your channel partners can rely on the information coming from the OEMs, leading to higher trust.

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