Floating ship

Navigating the “SHIP” – Channel Partnership

Floating shipWhen it comes to channel partner marketing, knowing how to navigate the partnership is essential to impact on revenue and success. In this short article I share what I have experienced in navigating through channel programs I’ve encountered over the last 5 years.


I’ve participated within channel partner marketing teams where direction was foggy as well as those where it was clear. While in both cases I found success, the more enjoyable journey was the one in which I had clear direction of where the ship was going. Having good leadership is a huge lift for navigating through today’s complex business waters. One of the best directions I have ever seen an organization have was the order that we maintain open, honest, and fearless communication. This direction has enabled me to communicate with channel partners in a way that lets us build trust in the relationship. We have been able to connect at an emotional level to ensure we don’t let each other down as we navigate to our objectives at the predetermined speed and accuracy. What a difference between the opposite!


As I think about getting the SHIP through the rough waters of the competitive landscape, I think about speed. However, I don’t think of how fast we can navigate but rather how fast, accurate, and consistent the journey is. While I am not a captain, I am pretty sure that the trick to rough waters is finding balance in speed and accuracy on a consistent basis. Navigating partnership deals doesn’t change much. Partners work closely together to understand the customers business problem and then at the right time present an accurate solution that solves the issue the customer has presented. The difference between channel partner programs which succeed to those which don’t is consistency over time. I look at channel partner marketing the same way. We must align efforts and our communication strategy with the marathon mindset rather than trying to sprint.


This is another key indicator of navigating a good partnership. While direction is a broad vision, destination is a very specific point the partnership is looking to get to. It’s been my experience that when destination involves very clear revenue objectives and an integrated compensation plan for selling the partnership’s product or services, all parties are happy with the destination. The best part is that when revenue is realized for the channel partner as the result of marketing activities or sales enablement, partners tend to choose new destinations (or revenue goals) over and over again.


No journey is remarkable if the partners don’t work together and get into the ship. Balancing aspects of the relationship, others executive orders, or business problems can get in the way. However, when partners come together to create and execute a plan, they win. The best part is the customer wins as well. I have found that execution is critical in going anywhere. Just think about it…if I don’t raise the sail as a marketer, we just sit and watch the competition sail by.

Ben brings more than 20 years of experience in business development and marketing in the SaaS and financial services space. Over the last several years he has built strong partner marketing eco-systems that drive revenue growth and brand equity. Ben is also adjunct faculty where he teaches business and marketing classes on occasion. He resides in Idaho where he enjoys golf and world class fly-fishing.

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