If there is anything that the Covid pandemic has taught the business world, it’s that change is here to stay. The pandemic has made it mandatory for businesses to change the ways they operate. Many B2B marketing and sales representatives in particular have had to adopt new ways to keep businesses running.
One of the ways businesses are adapting to help them keep afloat in 2022 is by using channel partner enablement as part of their sales and growth strategy.
You already know that channel partners are integral links between a company, its employees, and its customers. They have a massive impact on customer engagement, and they make a substantial difference in sales volumes, brand reputation, and customer loyalty.
Let’s dive in to get a deep understanding of why channel partner enablement is important, and what to look out for in partner recruitment, partner enablement, and partner engagement programs.
Technology products don’t sell themselves. With the markets flooded with software, tools, and applications that are meant to ease customers’ lives, your product, as innovative as it may be, will need to be recommended to your target audience by an informed expert. The best way to get sales for such products is through lead generation and employing the most important link: channel partners.
The goal of channel partner enablement is to empower and equip your channel partners with training, skills, information, and the tools they need to know your products so that they will be able to engage with your customers as experts and successfully sell your products.
You know that your partners will be receiving calls from other brands, so you want to make sure that you stand out and recruit and engage only with the best channel partners. A successful channel partner recruitment shifts partners from a passive role into an active role of being involved in the promotion and selling of your products.
Why Is Channel Partner Enablement Important?
As your business expands, you may want to utilize channel partner enablement as a growth strategy as well as a means of increasing revenue and getting your product to reach a wider audience.
Channel partner engagement is, therefore, an important strategy for the following reasons:
Partners have the front-row seats to what is happening in the markets, the trends, and all the necessary and insightful market metrics needed to get the sales and generate customer loyalty. By involving them, you know you’ll be receiving all the most important firsthand information to help your business skyrocket to greater heights.
When you empower your partners with the right tools to successfully carry out their jobs, you elevate their chances of making sales and increasing revenue. This benefits both of you. Don’t make a wrongful assumption that your partners know everything about your products. Instead, invest in giving them the much-needed information, skills, and tools that will make their work easier.
Promote Brand Reputation
The mere act of channel partners promoting your products is enough of a recommendation for your brand for many customers. If your partner has amassed credibility over the years and has built customer loyalty, their endorsement of your product will significantly turn around your sales volumes.
Channel Partner Recruitment, Engagement, and Enablement
Business leaders and brands are always asking, “How can we generate more revenue?”
We hear it all the time. The quest for more leads is a never-ending one.
But shouldn’t the question really be, “How can I close more revenue?”
The pressure is on to bring more leads to the top of the funnel…only to get to the small percentage that convert to SQLs. Unfortunately, leads don’t always lead to revenue, which is the whole point of marketing and lead generation.
The pressure for revenue never slows, though. It only grows.
Tactical, project-based, one-to-one leads with end users can’t keep up with growing revenue expectations.
Consistently growing the channel is the only real sustainable growth vehicle to scale revenue. At the heart of sales development and growth, there is a B2B lead generation process that boosts by building up and converting demand for products. Participating in channel partner enablement is one of the strategies for effectively and sustainably increasing revenue and maintaining a successful lead generation process.
With channel partners having lucrative options from competitors, the question then becomes how to recruit, engage, and enable the right channel partners for your brand.
Look out for the following in recruiting the right partner for your brand:
The Right Attitude
Look out for partners with the right experience for your industry. Check out partners with a commendable work ethic, great partnership mentality, and excellent customer relationships that will boost retention and integrity and transparency in their dealings with the end customers.
Anchor your recruitment process with partners who align with your revenue goals. Ask yourself if the potential partner has the correct product mix that compliments your products. Define what the correct product mix looks like.
A Channel Partner Profile
Establish characteristics to look out for, for instance, the ideal number of experience years in the industry they should have, their selling style, core values, and accessibility to the end users. Each of these qualities can be beneficial to your brand, and the channel partner’s characteristics must align with your business goals.
Once you have identified these key areas, show them why partnering with you will be of great value. Don’t only focus on the financial aspect, but on your business culture, the potential long-term relationships, and networks available with this partnership.
Keep in mind that at the end of the day, it’s about your partners and not you.
Once you have settled the recruitment issue, the next phase is enabling your partners to do their jobs efficiently. The below tips will help you enable and onboard your partners successfully:
Consistent Partner Training and Programs
Channel partners have their own businesses, cultures, goals, and values and therefore they need to be consistently trained about your products, especially to keep them informed about the latest trends and innovations. These training sessions will help them perform exceptionally well because they will have the knowledge and the tools to speak authoritatively about what you’re trying to sell.
Having a high-quality product isn’t enough to get partners to sell it for you. Having an excellent channel program is one of the things that will help you stand out and convince them.
Clearly state the following in your channel program:
- Your commission design
- Growth opportunities
- Extra perks apart from revenue
- Ways of promoting your partners
- Commitment period
- What the onboarding procedures look like
Regularly assess your partner’s performance and make the necessary adjustments for optimal performance.
To ensure that your partner enablement program runs successfully and efficiently, you need to keep your partners actively engaged. The purpose of partner engagement is to ensure increased revenue, close in on the feedback loops, and make the most of market insights. Partner engagement involves maximizing on the following:
Look at your channel partner engagement program as the product and your partners as the buyers. Your goals and strategy should meet the needs of both your business and the customer. Ensuring goal alignment is the necessary step in ensuring increased revenues and partner engagement.
To design an efficient partner engagement plan:
- Get to know your partners and their issues
- Cooperate on sales strategies
- Give your partners access to tools and data
When it comes to channel partner enablement, it all boils down to empowering the partner and enjoying the mutual benefit the collaboration brings. If you equip your partner with the relevant content, necessary tools, knowledge, and skills, then you will be successful in putting your brand and products in the spotlight.
The Benefits of The Launchpad’s Channel Partner Programs
Instantly Leverage Channel Partners’ Existing Market Presence
The right channel partners can give you much more exposure than a single one-to-one lead with an end user. You can leverage their existing customer base, their connections and market presence, providing a shortcut to profitability
Harness Partners’ Strong Brand Reputation to Boost Sales
A partner who promotes your solutions to their trusting customers can be a game changer. We will want to be discerning about the prospective partners we target. This is why identifying your dream channel partner step 1 (Dream Partner Profile) is so important. We’ll target prospective partners who have credibility so their endorsement of your solutions carries weight and, ultimately, leads to revenue.
Scale Revenue Growth without Growing Your Internal Team
Channel partners allow you to scale and grow with minimal internal infrastructure or upfront costs.
The program essentially outsources prospect acquisition and account management to extended team members that require no baseline salary.
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