Channel Partner on Board – Yikes, Now What Do I Do? By Michelle Markey

Channel-Partner-On-Board7 Tips to Jumpstart Your Channel Partners

You have recruited the right partners to help sell your products and reach those revenue goals.  But now what?  Being the “new guy” can be tough.  That is why you need to make those recruiting efforts pay off and make it as easy as possible for your Channel Partners to join your partner program and start marketing and selling your products as soon as possible.

Onboarding your new recruits and enabling them with sales and marketing tools is key.  They need educated on your company, products, value propositions, business processes, and the sales and marketing material available to them to hit the ground running.  You are probably thinking ‘well, that is great but how can I do this?’

Here are some key ways to enable your channel partners:

  1.  On-boarding and training This process is essential to getting the momentum going with your new channel partners.  An onboarding program will allow your partners to spend less time at the beginning of your relationship trying to connect with your company and products and will spend more time selling. There are multiple formats of training that can be used (for both immediate and ongoing training).  Formats to be considered are:
    1. 2-3 day on-site training:  This could cover business processes, product training, sales processes and also provide a great way for your partners to network with your employees.
    2. Webinars:  These could be held a few times a week and be given by your in-house experts.
    3. Online courses:  If you have a robust partner program, you could schedule online courses for your new partners to take and then you could monitor individual progress and administer certifications.
  2. Partner Portal(s): Whether in the form of a secure website or implementing a Partner Relationship Management system, these portals become a central point of communication with your partners. They could go to the portal for the latest marketing material, logo files, event calendar, product catalogs/pricing, lead opportunities, demos, reward program updates, contact information and much more. I would consider this as much a crucial part of your partner program as training & on-boarding.
  3. Webinars:  As mentioned above, these could be used for onboarding but are also key in delivering ongoing training, new product launches, program updates or just regular business updates.
  4. Partner Conferences:  Who doesn’t like a party, right?  But in all seriousness, partner conferences are a great old school way of both delivering information and providing a means for networking. Or you can leverage your partners’ input by hosting Partner Advisory Council meetings.  These are a great way to conduct a “health check” on your partner program (are you enabling your partners enough, check in on sales, exchange best practices, etc).
  5. Incentive Programs:  Want to really motivate your partners?   Introduce one of these programs!  Market Development/Co-Op Funds, SPIFFS, and Rebates are all great ways to reward and motivate your partners.
  6. E-Newsletters:  A great communication tool!  Will all of your partners read them? Probably not.  But for most of your alliance partners, they will find a consistent communication tool such as a newsletter to be a valuable tool.
  7. Marketing tools:  Arming your partners with brand awareness and essential sales and marketing tools is another key element in assisting them to fill their pipeline and close those sales.  Product brochures, direct mail campaigns, whitepapers, blogs, case studies are all great ways to not only educate your partners but enable them to educate prospects.

So are you readyCar Keys to put your partners into the driver’s seat and get them set up for success?  Give us a call or email to find out how our channel marketing experts can help with your partner program.