One of the toughest aspects of managing a channel marketing program is trying to keep partners happy and engaged. Putting partners first is one of the best decisions you can make for your program. However, it’s easy to misinterpret what your partners are asking for and replace it with what you think partners are asking for. You may think your partner is, to continue the spa metaphor, asking for a massage when they just want a manicure. Let’s walk through the process of adding partners to your channel program, with tips for happy partners at every step, no spa day required.
No Second Chance at a First Impression (aka the “Head & Shoulders” rule)
First impressions are important in every way, from job interviews to first dates. Your landing page where partners can sign up to participate in your channel program should be easy to follow and clearly articulate what they can expect out of the program. Partners who know what they are signing up for are more likely to come back for more.
Keep Content Simple
After partners have been accepted to your program and are navigating through your portal, keep the layout and page content simple and personalized. A dynamic portal which changes depending on the partner’s region, language, and product type goes a long way toward keeping partners happy and engaged. Without dynamic elements, partners may be frustrated by lack of in-language content or support. Adding adaptive content to the portal shows you are paying attention to your partner’s needs.
Show Your Partners Some TLC
Partners often report feeling unsatisfied with the support they receive, or even that vendors simply do not care about them. Providing partners with more support that’s easily accessible can greatly impact ROI. Giving your partners multiple ways to get help easily such as a help desk or chat support, as well as local and dedicated support globally helps them feel more appreciated. In addition to giving your partners the warm fuzzies, they will in turn be more more likely to promote your products and services. Hearing directly from global account managers makes your program seem more authentic and approachable as well – have them jump on a call with your partners! This benefits both sides; account managers find out directly from the source which campaigns partners love and which may need to be retooled to suit their interests.
Don’t Overlook the Obvious
One element of creating a program partners love is so deceptively simple: provide partners with good content. Create more complex campaigns focused on the buyer’s journey. Since partners are trying to sell more than “just” market your brand, campaigns with the end-user in mind will likely be popular choices. Syndicated content is always a hit as well.
To find out more about securing partner loyalty to your channel program, follow the link to watch Zift’s webinar, “Supercharge Your Channel: How to Engage Partners with a Partner-First Approach,” with Cameron Avery. If you’re looking for a relaxing read during your next pamper session, check out this ebook.
Originally posted on Channel Chatter, by Cameron Sutton. Cameron is a Marketing Content Manager at Zift Solutions.