Depending upon the phase of your partner program, channel partner recruiting can, and should look quite different. Early-stage channel programs have yet to establish a model of what their ideal partner profile looks like, while mature partner programs have clearly established characteristics that make up good partners. Channel recruitment used to mean traveling the globe, going to trade show after trade show in the hopes of forming meaningful relationships. This is no longer the status quo for many organizations that have taken a digital-first approach to channel recruiting.

The foundational elements that make up successful efforts in channel recruiting look remarkably similar to a well-oiled marketing funnel built to attract direct customers. Early-stage partner programs struggle to know what exactly to put in the top of the funnel, while advanced partner programs know exactly what the profile of a valuable partner looks like.


1) Know your new partner request lead sources:

Partners might hear about your company through social media, a tradeshow or a customer references your company’s name, or they are doing research on a solution need for a customer and find your organic listing. The fact is, how a partner might find you matters. A direct marketing strategy is driven primarily by lead source, and conversion rates. Why would partner leads be any different? Long-tail search terms are often used by partners when they are not sure which vendor might have a product their end-customer needs. They might search for something like a “security solution for hybrid cloud.” If your solution fits that need, it is important your channel marketing team produces content that attracts that pain point and runs ads inclusive of those terms.

Both of those initiatives require resources, both time and money. In a direct marketing campaign, partner marketers looking to recruit channel partners should care about the ROI of their spend. By paying attention to the lead source of your new partner’s interest form submissions your organization can begin to understand how to deploy channel recruiting funds appropriately.


2) Build your partner recruiting funnel:

Inbound new partner requests come in, and then what happens? Chances are, they are routed to the channel manager responsible for channel recruiting to be duplicate checked and verified before the partner is reached out to. Some organizations build specific opportunity types, others use the account object, and others use a partner object to track the various stages a partner might go through before becoming official. Either way, from form submission to partner contract signing, to partner onboarding, each phase of the journey should be tracked and optimized. This is much easier if your organization uses a partner relationship management solution.

This is only half the funnel. Now that all the time and effort to get them to become a partner is behind you, it is now time to get them engaged and driving deal registrations. The time from partner activation to first deal registration is a key metric that should be measured and monitored over time. Can you deploy marketing automation, or use a sales engagement tool to automate the nurturing of those partners more efficiently? Finding ways to decrease the time to revenue is key as you look to recruit more channel partners.


3) Use data to drive decisions:

After a few months of going through the process of recruiting new partners and evaluating what time to the first dollar of revenue looks like your organization should have a decent enough sample size to draw some conclusions from. In order to do that, you need to revisit the lead sources that brought partners into the top of the funnel originally.

Like any good RevOps team would be able to identify, the propensity for a direct customer to churn might be indicated by the lead source they came in from. The same could hold true for channel recruiting. If your partners that never submit a deal registration all came from a social media campaign your channel marketing team ran, chances are you do not want to run that campaign anymore. On the other hand, if partners that submit deal registrations within 30 days of being onboarded all come from a paid search campaign, then you should increase your spending with Google.

If your company is at the earliest stages of building your partner program, having the data to support decisions around what makes a good partner is key. Data that is only provided by a partner relationship management solution. At scale, the same technology helps to automate redundant tasks and reduce possibilities of errors. Request a demo today to learn how Vartopia helps to recruit partners today!