Work
Channel Partner Network
CLIENT
Provision Analytics
YEAR
2021

Creating the channel partner network that scales Provision into three continents.

Provision is a B2B software for food safety. Founded in 2018, it has since become Canada's fastest-growing platform for record keeping.
Agriculture has the lowest tech penetration of any modern production industry. It's a vicious cycle, as low adoption leads to low technical skills, which leads to personal doubt and stonewalling among decision makers – more often related to their own proficiency than a product's. This impacts marketing and sales metrics all the way from awareness to win rates. The question was how to break the cycle.
Sep 3, 2021  •  3 min read
The Challenge
Provision had low cold connect rates, low win rates, and slow implementation times.
How could it get new leads to be open to messaging, and get new deals rolled out faster? 
New client types took up to 6 months to implement, so CS capacity constrained revenue growth
The top sales objections tracked in the CRM were "timing" or "unresponsive" 
Prospects had limited software literacy, and their own skillset made them doubt Provision ROI
The majority of the available market was isolated from our network and resistant to outbound
Food safety is often an unwanted obligation for food companies, and software is often an improvement that can be delayed. If Provision's sales team could cold-connect with a new lead, they often faced defensive objections or distractions that prevented a live demo – Provision's most effective tool to convert deals. When a deal converted, the implementation process could take up to six months for a new client type. Provision needed new prospects to be open to its messaging, and needed new clients to generate MRR faster.
The Hypothesis
Most S-M food companies look to third parties for food safety education and compliance.
Could a partner channel help timing, openness, and implementation capacity? 
Affiliates
Membership organizations need content and influence food safety culture.
Most food companies belong to 1-3 food associations targeted by commodity and geography
Food associations need to deliver education and discounts to provide value for their paid membership
Resellers
Food safety consultants advise and implement the programs that can be configured in Provision.
Most food companies can't afford their own food safety manager, so they hire consultants
Food safety consultants create or overhaul safety programs – the optimal timing to introduce Provision
Food companies without in-house food safety experts are going to be the most open to external messaging
Consultants who haven't worked in tech are more relatable for recommending "usable" software
Food safety consultants who offer digital programs will have an advantage over paper-only alternatives
Provision had one food safety consultancy advising its software development. They were interested in using a specialty-built product that could let them conduct off-site administration and audits. Provision additionally had some sporadic media coverage from associations, with no formal ties. We believed Provision could formalize both such channels without any new product development. The hypothesis was that this third-party path into prospects would not only generate a higher volume of qualified leads than cold calling, but also net a higher conversion rate and faster implementation time.

Channel partners help to expand our reach, our capacity, and our expertise, significantly increasing revenue velocity and customer satisfaction.

- Erik Westblom
CEO, Provision Analytics
The Execution
Do cold outbound only to channel partners who can directly earn money from Provision.
Establish a platform that increases their reach, their earnings, and their value, and they will generate high-performing leads.
Affiliates
We formed content distribution deals with membership associations in the food industry.
As not-for-profits, the associations can't take performance compensation, so we simply join their membership
We co-host educational webinar series with associations and distribute native content through their newsletters
We provide discounts exclusive to members of each association
Resellers
We created a three-tier program to graduate consultants from referrals into support and implementation.
Level One - Junior resellers earn an entry-level commission for every converted referral
Level Two - Senior resellers earn higher commission for providing tech support
Level Three - Partners additionally get to bill clients directly to implement the software
We developed a training series and promotional library to help food safety consultants convert
We rapidly developed multi-tier commercial incentives, the promotional library, and the training series in Q2 2021, testing it among our existing contacts in each channel. We made revisions within the first month, then began targeted email and calling outbound that fed channel partner leads into a rapid and standardized meeting cycle to close partnerships.
The Results
By generating leads from channel partners, Provision earns a significantly better connect rate, faster deal cycle, and higher win rate than direct sales outbound – all with a CAC lower than the industry average.
Affiliates
Native content shared through associations has a higher conversion rate than direct distribution.
Provision currently averages multiple first-year converted sales per affiliate
Provision's has an audience of several hundred food companies through membership associations
Resellers
Food safety consultants help Provision improve timing and trust for new leads, while providing expert feedback for development.
Within six months, Provision signed resellers across three continents
At the time of this post, Provision's reseller network accounts for several thousand client relationships
Overall
The channel partner network was involved in over 50% of the deals closed by Provision in the first 6 months of the effort, which is current as of the time of this post.
TEAM CREDITS
Anthony Mondia
VP Business Development
Sara Cook
Business Analyst
Si Dingani
Operations Analyst
Jordan Geransky
Head of Client Services
Mike Meinhardt
VP Sales
Erik Westblom
CEO