Opening your organisation up to partner channels can provide a cost-effective way to expand and even globalise your business.
Opening your organisation up to partner channels can provide a cost-effective way to expand and even globalise your business. By coordinating and partnering with aligned organisations to sell your products and services, you can enhance brand visibility, make your offerings more broadly available to a wide range of buyers and leverage the work your channel partners have already done (to build their own network of leads and existing customers) to your benefit.
However, channel partnerships can present various challenges that must be addressed to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship. There are several common complexities faced by channel partner network managers, and most of them can be mitigated effectively via a coordinated effort to incentivise and reward engagement.
According to Forrester, more than 70% of global revenue comes from third-party channels, and partners play a key role in shaping the customer experience. While 80% of companies worldwide utilise partner channels for some portion of their revenue, 65% of CMOs report feeling overwhelmed in managing these growing networks. Additionally, channel partners can experience their own difficulties with onboarding, access and (perhaps most significantly) incentives programmes.
The five top challenges of channel partner networks
1. Brand protection
You have to provide your channel partners with the right knowledge, materials, skills and processes to be good ambassadors for your brand. Centralising training materials on a single platform can help, as can facilitating easy access to users across multiple languages and rewarding partners who complete specific processes.
2. Engaging channel partners
In addition to training and clear expectations for brand representation, channel partners need motivation to stay engaged with your offerings. Power2Motivate can provide ways to leverage gamification and make promoting your products and services engaging for your channel partners in the long term. If your channel partners are faltering, you can increase engagement by incentivising and recognising top performers.
3. Growing networks
Managing partner channels that span multiple countries or regions can be a gargantuan task, but it's possible to build a culture of loyalty and trust by doing so. Your organisation will need to stay on top of channel partner growth, lead generation and registration, training and other aspects. You can provide confidence that your growing network is fully enabled by expanding and simplifying incentives programmes to reward growth and foster healthy competition.
4. Preventing conflicts
If you have multiple partners selling the same product or service, or work with a channel partner that's in a relationship with other companies in your field, conflicts seem inevitable. However, putting the right procedures in place, helping each partner develop their own unique slant on the offerings and carefully detailing areas of service or product assignments to prevent overlap can help cut down on the risk of alienation. Correct delegation, training and separation can also mitigate the risk of conflict.
5. Partner evaluations
You must continually evaluate, communicate and regulate your partner channels to optimise performance and maximise revenue generation. Your internal goals should be mirrored by their own, and they must be enervated about the partnership to perform adequately. By providing detailed data delivered in a user-friendly format, you can highlight weaknesses in sales, marketing or customer support chains - but be ready to offer timely solutions and incentivise improved results.
Your channel partner incentives rewards platform should be designed to not only incentivise your partners to rise to new heights, but also to encourage them to innovate and truly become ambassadors for your brand. If your partners seem to be consistently underperforming, simplifying and streamlining your rewards programme can help create a positive open line of communication that encourages them to reach out and learn how they can do better. Management of a robust channel partner strategy can be challenging, but the results can mean increased ROI and better relationships.
If you are ready to take your channel partnerships to the next level with a incentives rewards programme, contact Power2Motivate and ask for a demo today.