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Partner Engagement Part 3

For many reading my posts on partner engagement, you aren’t starting from scratch. You have current partners that you need to lift, so they will be more successful and you will see greater return.

Relayware Partner Relationship Management

Partner Engagement Part 3

Engaging Existing Partners

By Simon Taylor

For many reading my posts on partner engagement, you aren’t starting from scratch. You have current partners that you need to lift, so they will be more successful and you will see greater return.

This week, I’ll focus on how you can engage what you may see as your middle ground or “the B Players.” These are the partners who are often ignored in favor of the top performers, but actually this middle ground is the area where you can have the most impact.

Channel partner growth opportunity chart

The work by Steenburgh and Ahearne on motivating sales people, (July 2012 Harvard Business Review - https://hbr.org/2012/07/motivating-salespeople-what-really-works/ar/4) applies equally to indirect channel partners as it does to direct sales people. Steenburgh and Ahearne found that

  • “B” level performers is typically the largest group
  • They’re often ignored in favor of “A” players or stars
  • There’s less communication with this group
  • There’s less consideration for promotion/recognition with this group

This group is the most likely to move the needle if given proper attention (and incentivized)

Applying the same treatment of a multi-touch campaign (referenced in my first post) works as well for new partners as it does for exiting partners.

  • Automated dialogues at key points highlighting recognition of achievements and following up to direct them to appropriate sales support documents or other activities.
  • Triggered dialogues based on activity promotes further education of the partners.
  • Outbound calls to let your partners know they are valued. People like doing business with people. Access to their assigned channel account manager at your organization sends the right signal. Update their partner portal with their CAM’s contact details on the portal home page and a photo of the CAM to give your partners that personal touch.
  • Include videos on your partner portal. Videos could be how to use your partner tools as well as content to help your partners sell your products.
  • When your partner registers a deal, direct them to the accompanying training material for that set of products. Highlight the most profitable products or the products you want them to sell next.
  • Invite your partners to webinars. Again, the topics could be how to sell a particular line of products, an introduction to their channel account manager or information on how to use partner tools. This is just another avenue for communication that you may find works well for your partners.

Ask your partners how you can best support them, what works for them and what they would like to see changed or improved. While, we can recommend best practices, your partners will tell you what works best for them.

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