Do you know the power of a well-designed partner program?
Creating a partner program is not a cakewalk or simple as it might look. It requires a consistent level of effort to develop a roadmap and continue to iterate on that roadmap.
Before bringing partners into your business, it is important to understand if a partnership model aligns with your company’s business goals and vision. This alignment helps in streamlining the company’s strategy and business goals for the launch of the partner program. Furthermore, this alignment helps to define which partners are correct for your business in the first place.
Partners are tangible assets for your organization. They are the closest connection in the market, and to your target audience in some cases. Partners have a clear picture of the market trends, especially competitor’s footsteps.
Successful partner programs are not created in a silo. When organizations launch partner programs, they are launched in conjunction with principles geared towards aligning the partner program within the rest of the organization. Defining these principles ahead of time will help stakeholders in understanding which direction to take the partner program.
1. Become Customer-Centric
One of the challenges early-stage partner programs face is enabling third-party sellers (who represent a multitude of different vendors) to sell your product effectively. A straightforward way to know how to begin to teach them is to align your sales process with how buyers within your target market like to buy. If you are launching a partner program for the first time, and do not know where to begin, spend some time with your direct enablement team. What are they doing to prepare your inside sales reps for success? Adopt the same customer-centric, buyer-first mentality for your channel and find success in no time.
Being able to define this clearly, and then communicate it to partners through the deployment of tools like PRM software will help to ensure everyone is following the same sales process.
2. Keep your friends close and enemies closer
Direct enablement teams often focus on comparing competitive products, features, and gaps and while those things are important to understand when delivering training to your program there is one thing that is often forgotten about. The programmatic details and offering of your competitor’s partner program. Start by asking questions such as what incentives are they open about delivering to their partners? Are they creating unnecessary roadblocks for their partners? Are their target partners well known, and respected within their region or vertical?
Questions like this help provide strong insights even before you begin your partner program recruiting efforts and developing your channel. As the saying goes, keep your friends close and enemies closer – head this warning and do what it takes to differentiate your partner program.
3. Product Readiness
Product market fit, everyone talks about it, there have been countless books written about it however organizations rarely address their product as it relates to the offerings bundled together through partners in the field. Make sure you have a clear understanding of where your product fits into the portfolio of products offered via your partners around the world. It might be something simple like changing some messaging, or it might need an API built, whatever it is, consider the manner in which your partner will deliver the service to define your product’s readiness.
A well-structured product or service, along with in-depth knowledge of the product, helps partners sell confidently. Effectively delivering product information, marketing collateral, sales presentations, and recorded demos to the channel ahead of time will help your organization to validate the product and its readiness for the market.
4. Partner Activation
Let’s face it, the ultimate goal of any partner program is gaining enough mindshare to where your partners only think about your products. Easier said than done, right?
It is important to introduce out-of-the-box initiatives that motivate your partners, with benefits that are easy to communicate and understand. Some easy things to try to keep them coming back for more:
Do not hold back on tech investment
Providing your partners with the same tools that you would give to your internal team is a great way to motivate them, scale their skills, and increase their scope of knowledge around your product’s potential application in the market.
Help them, help you
Think outside the box here. Everyone with a channel program is forcing product certifications, this is your chance to stand out amongst the noise. Help your partners become better marketers by investing in digital marketing training to help them grow their business.
There is a time and place to ask your partner to become certified in representing your product. However, consider just having a solutions architect or sales engineer take the certification and leave the sales rep to do what they do best, sell.
Cold hard cash is what gets a partner out of bed in the morning. Incentives drive behavior, and the most successful partner programs understand the correlation between the money they spend with partners and the revenue that is driven by the partner program.
Constant innovation is the key to growth
Bringing the right partners on board takes tremendous commitment and consistent focus. Organizations with the most successful partner programs understand that developing a regular cadence of collaboration with a strong feedback loop will help to mitigate the risk of becoming stale in the market.
Your partner and you are out to gain market share and grow your respective business’. Focus on making doing business with you easy.
Request a demo today to learn more about how Vartopia empowers some of the leading partner programs in the world today.