What is the catalyst that transforms an organization into a brand that is easily recognized?
Everyone talks about being “customer first,” but when it is self-proclaimed, it carries about as much weight with potential partners and prospects as saying “we are the best,” without third-party validation to support the claim. Innovative partner programs can act as that voice in the market, becoming that trusted voice that prospects listen to. Partners who tap into emerging partner programs add substantial value to your organization as you look to gain that brand recognition across verticals and into new geographies.
Well-run partner programs can become an indispensable part of an organization’s go-to-market strategy. In speaking with our customers, we have found that the below examples are ways in which they have expanded their brand through partner programs.
1. Geographical Network Expansion
One of the main justifications for adopting a partner program is to expand your business across different geographies. When a partner enters the picture, it allows the organization to increase its current reach, market penetration, and knowledge of the potential competitive landscape.
Partner programs come in all shapes and sizes. The variables that form the recipe of your program couple be things like size, products, services, goals, etc. Choosing the right partners to become your brand’s megaphone will help you tap into that geographic expansion opportunity.
Your organization’s market presence and recognition in the market depend upon how well you have enabled your partners to spread the word to the end customer. Providing your partners with the right tools like PRM software can be the boost they need to feel confident in marching forward with your logo next to theirs.
Gaining market share equates to growth in that market, and a well-built partner program can be just the thing you need to expand into that market that has been tempting you for the past few years.
2. Your “boots on the ground”
Self-awareness, and leaving your ego at the door is key when exploring how to leverage partners to bolster your brand identity. Just be ok admitting that the end customer does not care about your brand (yet). However, they do care about their relationship with that partner you have been wanting to recruit for years now. Leverage that, and answer the age-old question your prospective partners have been asking you “what’s in it for me?”
Why should the partner care about being the face of your brand when you have not given them a reason to care? What mechanisms have you put in place to allow them to test and validate your brand, and your products, align with the needs of their end customer? If you think just because your company was recently named to a “cool vendor” list everyone is going to want to represent your brand, you are wrong.
When partners can help your organization tap into new verticals, it creates a win-win situation for both the partner and your organization on its mission to become a household name. Leveraging a successful partner program to tap into a new vertical helps the partner by giving them a new service or product to represent and validate the test into that market.
3. Brand Communication
Investing and empowering your partners is the key to the growth of your partner program; and when done well, it helps the partners feel like their growth is tied to yours. Partners are the face of your product, and brand, and can notice a lot of things through their 1:1 communication to the end customer you might not be aware of. Enabling partners with playbooks, battle cards, discovery questions, and other partner enablement documents is a sure-fire way to make sure your brand is consistently represented.
4. Enhancing your Product Portfolio
Since channel partners are in the trenches, working with customers every day, they know what customers demand and want from vendors. They are a solid knowledge base for your organization and can help in providing valuable insights into the market trends.
Organizations who deploy partner portal software can capitalize on this knowledge by training partners on how to properly document end customer requirements. Collaboration can and should be a cornerstone component of your successful partner program. Often, vendors only focus on partners playing the part of new business acquisition and fail to overlook the importance they can play on helping your product portfolio live up to the hype you are building around your organization’s brand.
5. Competitive Insights
While creating growth strategies for your brand, it is essential to know what others are doing; good or bad, in the market. In this competitive environment, it is not advisable to step into the market without doing your research. When we talk about growth, you should also do a detailed competitive analysis to understand the nature and strategies of your competitors. Partners can provide local insight into feature gaps, product comparisons, and value propositions through in-depth knowledge about specific geographies and verticals. It can lead to the creation of innovative features that delight customers and expand the value of your brand.
A sign of growth for an organization is when the market starts to self-define your brand and positions it amongst more commonly known competitive brands. It is your unique selling point, and value proposition that should be front and center throughout this process. Successful partner programs (and their associated brands) are aware of this and go to market in a seamless motion to ensure consistency of messaging. When partners are singing the same song as the vendor, and the market recognizes the vendor in the same way… it creates an amazing experience that competitors cannot compete with.
6. Feedback Communication
Every process ends with feedback. Through feedback, an organization can know how well the product is getting accepted and what features the customers appreciate. With the help of feedback, an organization can improve the existing product or service and bring out the best outcome to compete in the market. It helps the organization understand the point of view of the end customer and is also a KPI of great customer service.
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