Each time you team up with a new partner, you're gaining access to their entire distribution network, buyer audience, and sales expertise.
Channel partnerships can be your all-access pass to new markets, larger market share, and increased sales figures. Think of it as the B2B equivalent of a growing family tree: each time you team up with a new partner, you're gaining access to their entire distribution network, buyer audience, and sales expertise. In short, channel partnerships are a fantastic way to multiply your presence within your market or industry without having to build out a sales infrastructure from scratch.
These types of partners are not part of your company per se, but as distributors and brand ambassadors, they should never feel "othered" by the distance between your organisations. Here's how to create a feeling of community and loyalty among the partners that help you grow and thrive.
Start with a strong foundation
Choosing the right channel partners for your product or service is an important first step. Do they share some of the same values as your company, and do they communicate in the same language when it's time for brainstorming and feedback? Who are their customers, how do they market to their target markets, and what kinds of tools do they use to get their message across?
Finding the proper fit from the start is the gateway to future success as a community. Once you feel confident about your chosen channel partners, sit down with them and discuss the following points so you can stick in the landing.
What do both parties want out of this collaboration? This type of relationship needs to be mutually beneficial if you want it to run smoothly. What does your ideal partnership look like to both you and your chosen channel?
Who's in charge of what? Take the time to outline each party's responsibilities to reduce miscommunication. For example, who's in charge of providing certain assets and resources?
How will your partner honour your brand? When you onboard a channel partner, you're placing your brand into their hands. A discussion about the ABC's of communicating the brand message and adhering to certain guidelines will help avoid any faux pas along the way.
Incentivise partners to hit their targets
As is the case with your in-house team, incentive programmes go a long way when it's time to motivate channel partners. One of the strongest competitive advantages associated with these programmes is differentiation: if you're the only company (or one of the only companies) offering rewards to channel partners that meet their KPIs, it's only logical that they'll feel especially loyal to your product or service!
When building a channel partner incentive programme, choices and diversity are key. Not only does each partner organisation embody their own unique values, but individual sales reps will also have their own preferences. A one-size-fits-all approach is more likely to hurt your cause than help it, so make sure to choose a provider that offers a customisable, flexible incentive structure.
Create common goals and spaces
Welcome your partners into the fold by setting common goals and establishing shareable resources. For example, you can approach promotional activities jointly, demonstrating your preferred marketing tactics to partner sales reps and fostering a sense of teamwork in one fell swoop. Co-promoting is a great exercise in educating reps about your product or service as well, since they'll be able to observe firsthand which selling points you prefer to highlight during the sales process.
You can also create a best practices hub for channel partners to share their experiences, successes, sales approaches, and more. A private social media page, or an invite-based forum, would work best for this type of exchange.
Show your channel partners that you're invested in their success with a tailored rewards programme. Power2Motivate has extensive experience with building out incentive structures for partner organisations, with an eye towards fostering loyalty and keeping your company front and centre in their minds. Contact our team today to find out how we can help you build your dream channel partner community.