You’re an agent accustomed to handling a specific aspect of managed services for clients, or acting as their off-site IT department. You’re familiar with all the ways you need to prepare and the information you need to be a valuable channel partner. In many instances you may even act as an extension of the companies you advise and guide.
While you’re focused on your specialty, you may have other tasks that pile up and gather dust. As you grow, you may realize it’s time to outsource some of those tasks, such as payroll and accounting or marketing. It may be comfortable sitting in the seat of the provider, but what about when it’s time for you to outsource? Do you know how to initiate the relationship in a way that plans for success?
Schedule a meeting to get you started on the right foot. Meet with your new vendor and talk through all the details of how service will look. Perhaps most importantly, you should discuss communication. If you start experiencing steam coming out of your ears when you’re sent a series of emails with one question each, then you need to communicate your need for concise, organized communications.
In addition, you should discuss how success will be determined. If you’re hiring an accountant, when will you receive financial statements? What results should you expect from outsourcing your marketing functions?
Invest in onboarding. It can seem unreasonable to set aside a half day or more to onboard a new channel partner. After all, you hired them to free up some of your time, right? Making sure that they understand your pain points as well as your strengths and weaknesses helps them better serve your company. If you’re meeting with a marketing team, expect to spend some hours defining your core values and brand message. Even a relatively straightforward partner like an accountant will benefit from a better understanding of your values and priorities.
Keep in mind that as you develop good relationships with these channel partners, they will likely become advisors. The better they know your business, the higher quality of advice they’ll be able to provide.
Know what’s included. Don’t pay for an ambiguous “strategy meeting,” where you have no idea what to expect or what determines whether enough strategizing has happened to make it a good value for you. Pay for specific services, which can get murky when you’re working with a marketing team, compared with the specific tasks you’ll see billed from an accountant. While the creativity of a good marketing team is definitely worth paying for, be careful that you are seeing the results you want.
When you’re used to being the vendor, switching gears can be challenging, but you want to be sure that you get the most out of your relationship with a partner.
To find out more about investing in the right channel partners, talk with us at eXemplify. We can provide guidance for your outsourcing decisions and help you avoid some pitfalls.