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Better Communications with Your Channel Partners and Customers

With a solid strategy in place, that clarifies your objectives along with precisions on who you are talking to and what you are saying, you’ll have much greater success in your channel partner communications.

Relayware Partner Relationship Management

How to Improve Communications with Your Channel Partners

By Karren Gurnhill

When we communicate with our channel partners we are attempting to exert influence. We are aiming to bring about changes in attitude and motivation as well as to build a relationship helps.

However, we all know that effective communication is challenging enough between two people who know each other well -- those who are familiar with each other’s ideas and styles and close proximity to each other. So the difficulties faced by vendors communicating with a large network of partners can seem overwhelming.

Partner Communication Strategy

To this end, we see the best communications when vendors have a cohesive and proactive communication strategy for their channel partners.

First, make sure that you have articulated the following, and it’s not just in your gut or ad hoc.

  • Objectives - What do you want to achieve through your channel?
  • Selection & Segmentation – What channel partner profiles do you want to target and why?
  • Message - What are the main messages you want to consistently deliver to your channel partners? Then, what do you want your partner to do next?
  • Medium – How do you intend to communicate with your partners (e.g., blast emails, social media, partner portal, phone calls)?
  • Who – Identify who will be communicating with each of your channel partners and have an owner for each channel (e.g., email, partner portal, social media, etc.). What is their relationship with the partner?
  • Repetition & Frequency – Are you going to repeat your message and how often?

Clarifying Messages and Targets

Once you have your channel partner communication strategy laid out, the next step is considering how to work with your partners to communicate with customers. Make sure that both of you are on the same page:

  • Objectives - What do you want to communicate to the end-customer customers and what do you want your channel partner to communicate to the customer?
  • Selection & Segmentation – What customer profiles do you want to target and why?
  • Message – What are the main messages you want to consistently deliver to your customers and what messages will your channel partners deliver? Make sure they are complementary and build on each other. Also, make sure you both know what you want your customer to do next.
  • Medium – How do you intend to communicate with customers (e.g., blast emails, social media, partner portal, phone calls)?
  • Who – Identify who will be communicating with customers and at what stage of the customer lifecycle.
  • Repetition & Frequency – Know if you will be echoing your partner or are they following you and how often? Know what your customer will tolerate and won’t be confusing.

With a solid strategy in place, that clarifies your objectives along with precisions on who you are talking to and what you are saying, you’ll have much greater success in your channel partner communications.

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