Partner engagement can be divided into three categories:
Information—Provide your partners with the knowledge of your product and equip them with the tools necessary to generate sales.
Incentives—Offer benefits to stimulate sales growth.
Involvement—Embrace channel partners as an extended branch of your sales team and encourage participation in corporate events.
Are your channel partners actively engaged in implementing your current go-to-market strategy? How much input do your channel partners have in your GTM strategy?
Here are 10 techniques designed to boost sales partner engagement.
1. Sales tools. How are your partners promoting your product to buyers? Do your channel partners have a compatible sales strategy in place? Vendors often possess the resources and expertise that new channel partners needs to drive buyer engagement. If you want your partners to move your products, furnish them with the same sales enablement tools you provide for in-house sales reps.
Sales materials may include:
•Free trials of product
•Dynamic report generators
2. Ongoing training. It's important to illustrate how implementing existing go-to-market strategies can result in success, so take the time to train your partners not only about what they're selling but also how to sell it. Present recent successful campaigns and the trajectory of your current sales strategy.
3. Joint marketing campaigns. The best way to ensure quality and consistency in brand messaging is to collaborate with partners. Partners' independent marketing materials may reveal opportunities to adopt their tactics. If your partners have multiple vendor agreements, be aware of how they promote your products alongside your competitors.
Allow partners to customize marketing programs to fill the needs of their niche or territory. Find messaging that reflects the individual partner's brand and highlights their unique value without diluting your own brand. Co-branded marketing can reduce those costs and boost profits for both businesses.
Your endorsement matters—to your partners and buyers. Co-branding provides legitimacy to your partner, builds trust, and demonstrates to your buyers that your partners are reputable sources. Ensure call-to-action in co-branded communications are directing leads to your partners.
4. Exclusivity agreements. Push your product to the forefront by offering exclusivity agreements. Give your partners exclusive rights to sell your product in their geographic location or give them limited time exclusivity on offering a new product or service.
5. Pre-sales incentives. Partners need motivation to sell your product. Beyond the promises of sales margins and commissions, consider brand-centric incentives like product discounts and rebates. Boost sales potential by setting up a brand-wide promotional program designed to drive buyers to partner sites. You will be able to track buyer interest in target markets, but it's up to the partner to turn those leads into sales. Consider bonus revenue sharing if partners exceed their sales quota.
6. Post-sales rewards. Financial motivation gets the sales but emotional motivation is proven to be as effective in boosting overall results. Non-cash rewards are a more personalized way of demonstrating the value of individual partners—and an easy way to ramp up competition amongst sales partners. These kinds of rewards can include gift cards for merchandise, health and wellness packages, and travel vouchers.
7. Recognition. High-performing partners deserve public acknowledgement for achievements. Publish a success story spotlight in your monthly newsletter as a way to praise power sellers. This feature will make a memorable impression on recipients and their influencers (family, friends, etc.) and motivate other partners to increase their sales efforts.
8. Share analytics. Giving sales partners access to your website analytics supplies them with data about their prospects. Some shared analytics programs deliver information in real time, allowing partners to see when prospective buyers in their market visit the vendor website so they can act on buyer interest while your product is still top-of-mind.
9. Partner surveys. Invite participation from active partners to provide feedback on product performance, buyer insight, and opportunities for improvement. Surveys may reveal shifts in the market or buyer behaviour that will need to be addressed in future go-to-market strategies.
10. Private events for Partners. Host quarterly or annual conferences for channel partners to foster engagement in your company's culture. In-person events encourage partners to network and give them a chance to interact with your company in a less formal atmosphere. Conferences and galas can be used to present non-cash rewards and awards of recognition, further promoting vendor investment in partners. Include top performing partners in sales forecasting calls, quarterly meetings, and go-to-market planning sessions.
How many of these techniques have you adopted in your efforts to engage channel partners? Which techniques will you try?