Every business leaders’ dream is finding a process or change that saves the company money while also producing measurable revenue growth. Thankfully, within channel partner programs, there is a way.
Find the Most Impactful Changes
Some moves to drive engagement are quite cheap when compared to the potential benefits. Email messages are a great example of a nearly-free tool that allows you to communicate with partners immediately. If you have a new product coming out, then email the partner group messages about training sessions or promotional commissions affiliated with the product. With email you’ll of course need to find the balance of informing vs. annoying your channel partners, so keep the messages on what you are doing for them, not what they can do for you.
If your company offers great products but doesn’t provide the right collateral, then another avenue for improvement is to overhaul your content. Look at the competitors and survey your customers to understand what you’re missing. And when it comes to content, remember that people don’t love to read. They of course love this blog post, but they don’t like to read anything else! Make your content short and sweet. Hit the highlights and keep the focus on how your product/service is easy to sell and how reps can earn money with you. It’s that simple.
How do partners communicate with you about registering leads or deals? Is this a manual process? Do they have to use multiple platforms to perform different functions? You have to remove bottlenecks and get every partner on the same communications/registration platform. If your current solution doesn’t allow everyone involved to see the same info at the same time, then what’s the point?
A cluttered solution is like driving with a bug-splattered windshield covered in gravy. There’s no visibility (you drove behind a gravy truck – it makes sense.) Can you tell if a lead was contacted? Is it clear when you need to step in to help the partner? Unified solutions for communication are absolutely essential for getting the absolute most revenue out of every lead. You must bring the solution to them and integrate it into their processes. Be proactive and anticipate their needs.
Supercharge Training with Gamified Learning
Some in your industry might feel “gamification” is gimmicky and unnecessary. Paying extra for avocado is unnecessary, but gamified training is essential. Understand that gamification isn’t just about providing people with badges or other recognition when they complete different tasks. It describes a newer gaming-style way to offer information and conduct training. Break the training into different segments, with progress levels. Add some fun to the training with prizes or contest at different intervals. Consider restructuring the training to present information in a scenario or role-playing context which can deepen the audiences’ learning.
Another way to introduce gamification is through teams. Latch onto the Fortnite phenomenon and offer some PvP games where groups answer questions and compete for a certain goal. This team approach helps foster competition in ways that don’t always work with solo-based gamified methods. Training that sticks in the participants mind will pay off downstream when they recommend your company’s offering before the competitor’s.
All of this training should be offered “on demand” so sales partners can start and stop training on their own time. You of course want some onboarding training, but the rest should be dynamic both in terms of availability and the frequency of updates. Spend a little on the front end to provide partners with great training resources, and revenue is going to follow.
You’ve likely noticed some common themes for building successful channel partnerships. You need to provide a quality solution. Partners need the necessary tools so they can easily sell what you’re offering. You have to be able to solve client’s problems via the purchase of your product and your support. And of course your channel partners must make money with you. If done correctly, all of your efforts will drive engagement with your program because you’re showing reps you care. You care about making things simple for them and saving their time. You care about quality, and you care about putting more money in their pockets.
The best channel reps will of course need to put in the work but driving engagement and setting up reps for success is on you! Building engagement isn’t a one-time thing during onboarding. It’s relationship building and actively showing partners you care. And if you’re smart then you won’t do it alone. Talk to us about developing a channel partner strategy that boosts engagement cost-effectively while dramatically increasing revenue.