Guest Column | February 10, 2020

How To Build A Shadow Channel Program

By Rob Spee, Channel Journeys Consulting

Dave Taylor

Dave Taylor
CMO, Impartner

South Jordan, UT

Year Founded

Helping companies worldwide manage their 

partner relationships and accelerate revenue and profitability through indirect sales channels

Channel Experience
7 years

The shift that we've seen has been that the SaaSier our customers (vendors) tend to be, the less traditional their go to market through indirect channels tends to be. - Dave Taylor

When building a channel strategy, SaaS vendors should be looking at both traditional and non-traditional partners. Non-traditional partners include influencers who aren’t involved in the actual transaction. These influencers are often referred to as the shadow channel.

Dave Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer at Impartner, talks about the shadow channel in my Channel Journeys podcast. Dave describes how to build, manage, and leverage a referral-based program for this

Key Take-Aways

  • Segment your referral partners between managed and unmanaged based on influencer channel. the level of referral activity and potential.
  • Set a metric, such as the number of referrals per month, when you will bump referral partners up into a sell-with or sell-through model that has more obligations and higher rewards.
  • If a partner who’s in a higher tier is failing to meet that tier’s obligations, bump them back down to that referral status.
  • Carefully document the terms and conditions that an incoming partner must click to accept so they know when they will be bumped up or down.
  • Consider bringing traditional partners onboard at a referral status. If they aren’t meeting expectations, keep them at the referral tier until they do.

Take Action - One Thing You Can Do Today

Ask your customers who influences their buying decisions and consider how to make those types of people part of your channel strategy. And listen to the complete podcast with Dave Taylor to learn more about referral programs.

Rob Spee, Channel Journeys ConsultingAbout The Author

Rob Spee is founder and CEO of Channel Journeys Consulting and host of the Channel Journeys podcast. Rob applies his channel expertise to help clients create and execute channel strategies to accelerate revenue growth. His global channel experience spans from building channels at startups to vendors and distributors like Arrow, BMC, Carbonite, and SAS. Follow Rob on Twitter and LinkedIn.