Channel partnerships are an effective strategy to acquire new customers. Channel partnerships can help you:
- Improve lead generation
- Gain new customers
- Increase conversion rates
- Extend your marketing reach
- Expand brand awareness
- Grow indirect sales
While channel partnerships are generating significant revenue for many companies now, they will become even more crucial in the future. According to the latest Demand Gen Channel/Partner Marketing Benchmark Survey, 96% of B2B leaders expect to increase revenue directly attributed to their partner ecosystems in 2022. So, developing and maintaining these partnerships is essential to your growth.
You’ll need to find the right partners that fit your product offerings, but when you do find them and get them excited about working together, it can be incredibly rewarding.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Channel Partnerships
If you want to get the most out of your partner relationships, you need a partner enablement strategy to nurture and grow the relationship. This requires a commitment from both organizations in the partner program to deploy best practices and alignment in marketing strategy.
1. Align Goals and Resources
Goal alignment is a major key to success for channel partners. While you both want revenue growth, you must embrace a collaborative and equitable mindset as part of your solution playbook. Marketing teams need to be actively engaged to identify the most effective strategies to apply to the buyer's journey.
Your channel partner enablement program also needs to be balanced. If your program leans too much in your favor, your partners won’t fully embrace it.
2. Develop a Partnership Alliance
This partnership alliance needs to include your go-to-market strategy, sales engagement process, sales enablement tools, and marketing strategy. It requires a careful assessment of the marketplace and the strength each partner brings to the relationship.
You’ll want to formalize the alliance by detailing deliverables and commitments in a partnership agreement. It should be a written plan that clearly defines and outlines:
- Target markets
- Strategies and tactics
- Who is going to do what
- Resources from both parties
- ROI expectations
Then, you’ll need to get buy-in from key stakeholders to live up to these commitments.
3. Build the Foundation for Sales Enablement
Your sales enablement program must be built on a strong foundation to be successful. This requires you to provide channel sales teams with the right marketing tools, marketing materials, and enablement resources they need.
This includes providing the content that potential customers will see, and the best practices and research to implement them effectively.
Enablement plays a key role in the sales process. It provides sales reps and indirect sellers with the knowledge and channel marketing resources they need to drive channel revenue.
4. Determine How You Measure Success
Channel marketing partnerships often get off track because partners are judging success differently. You must agree on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will monitor and measure. While channel sales are important as a KPI, other metrics can provide valuable information, including:
- Average deal size
- Deal count
- Pipeline measurement
- Marketing channel ROI
- Deal velocity
- Close rates
The KPIs you choose are less important than coming to agreement on which ones are most important to your partners. For a partnership to work, you must meet aligned goals for success.
5. Think about What Your Partners Want
A great channel partnership program puts its partner’s needs at the front. What is it that partners want?
- An easy way to accomplish their goals
- A way to drive demand for products and services
- The best solutions that generate sales
Partners want to be confident you’re invested in these three things so they can generate revenue efficiently. They want someone that will help them sell more and drive demand without tying up valuable resources to make it happen.
If you can remember that and create a customer-centric approach to your channel partnerships, you will get more out of your partners.
Make Sure Your Partners Have What They Need to Market and Sell Your Products Effectively
A big part of your sales enablement strategy will be making sure your channel partners have the necessary tools from your ideal customer profile to effectively market alongside you. Making sure they understand your competitive advantages right off the bat, along with which value propositions should be served to each target customer, will help eliminate the learning curve, so you can see results faster.
You must provide the resources your partners need and make it simple and easy for them to use them. For example, a robust partner resource center will go a long way in accelerating your channel partnership. Rather than dropping marketing resources into a folder, or partners having to ask you for what they need, a partner resources center provides everything they need.
Dynamic Partner Resource Centers
For example, Folloze builds dynamic, engaging partner resource centers that are automatically personalized to every channel partner. This provides the relevant information they need in a secure, logical presentation. You can display products and content as well as partner education campaigns.
You can also create a managed page that your partners can embed in their site for an even easier solution. This removes the worry about whether your channel partner will update material and use your resources effectively. With a managed partner page, you control all of the branded content across partner websites. Each partner will get their own links so you can track engagement, content views, forwarding and sharing, and everything else associated with partner campaigns throughout the buyer’s journey.
You may also want to develop co-marketing campaigns. Co-marketing is an effective strategy to reach targeted markets from both channel partners that promotes business, and generates leads and conversions.
Each partner coordinates its marketing and leverages its customers and prospects to benefit both parties. For example, you might bundle products, create unique offers, or recommend complementary products or services.
How Do You Get Your Partners Engaged and Excited?
Besides providing sales enablement tools and resources, you will need to invest in the partnership if you want to get and keep your partners engaged. If partners aren’t engaged, they’re not going to actively promote your products or services.
When they are engaged, it’s easy to see. They’re involved, they ask questions, they make recommendations, and take action that benefits the partnership. To keep that positive energy flowing, you have to continue to feed it power.
You need to provide strong and proactive support. In other words, you can’t just wait until a partner reaches out to you for help. You need to provide consistent guidance and support at every step of the way. It takes a commitment to actively work towards increasing partner engagement.
Regular Communication and Check-Ins
If your partner only hears from you at implementation and renewal times, it’s not likely to be a productive relationship. You must have an ongoing dialogue to keep people engaged. Companies work with lots of vendors and may have multiple channel partnerships. If you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind.
Soliciting and acting upon partner feedback is another key strategy to keep your channel partners vested in success. Don’t be shy about asking for feedback and probing more deeply when you hear any signs things aren’t going well. You want to be proactive in your outreach to solve concerns before they turn into bigger problems.
When you actively listen, address concerns, and can provide solutions, you can create deeper relationships.
Rewards, Recognition, and Incentives Beyond Commissions
According to the Aberdeen Group, companies that use reward and recognition programs see annual revenue increases of 3X other companies. In the same way you might incentivize your internal sales team, you need to think about ways to reward your channel partners. Even just recognizing your channel partners for their success can be a big incentive. A McKinsey study showed that engagement improved by more than 50% when public recognition occurs.
Enhance the Buyer Experience
Of course, nothing gets channel partners more excited than sales. Generating consistent and sustainable revenue over time is the best way to solidify a partnership and build a long-term relationship.
The key to doing so? Managing the buyer experience.
With the right buyer experience platform, you get the data and insights you need to drive sales across channel partnerships. The data you gather and generate, coupled with AI and machine learning, provide the engine you need to drive sales.
With Folloze, for example, you can manage the entire marketing and sales ecosystem by enhancing the buyer experience at every stage.
Recognize, Contextualize, and Target
Using first- and third-party data, you can target and personalize content for B2B buyers. This takes the guesswork out of opportunities by providing recommended actions and an easy way to quick-launch campaigns.
Intelligent Content Nomination
Automatically deliver the most relevant and best-performing content, imagery, and messaging based on buyer behavior.
Track Account Engagement
Throughout the entire sales cycle, you can track activity by account, contact, and touchpoint. The sales and marketing team will know what prospects are interested in and measure the impact of their account-based marketing campaigns from either channel partner.
Folloze also provides an end-to-end intelligent sales orchestration. This closed-loop orchestration manages the entire process from targeting and activating to personalizing and tracking. This allows you to deliver tailored and micro-targeted experiences in real-time.
Want to Supercharge Your Channel Partnerships?
Take your channel program to the next level with Folloze.
Folloze provides the marketing tools and resources you need to make things easy for your channel partners and keep them engaged. Our channel marketing solutions improve leads, conversions, and sales.
Contact Folloze today and request a demo and let us show you how we can help grow your channel partnerships and your revenue.