There’s no doubt we will see major changes to the channel ecosystem this year. The ongoing impact of the pandemic on business operations will force Partners to continue to reinvent themselves and encourage Vendors to strengthen relationships with their indirect sales channel.
So what should a Vendor-Partner experience look like to be successful for you, your Partners, and customers in 2021? Here are some ideas for motivating Partner behavior that will reduce friction and increase productivity across your sales channel.
Address Preconceived Notions
It’s common for Channel Partners to have preconceived notions about how programs work and what they have to offer (or cost for that matter). But it’s time to change that. Because at the end of the day, Partners crave sustainable opportunities that align with their businesses and they’re willing to do things differently with the multiple Vendors they work with. Simply put, there’s no one size fits all.
If you’re still assessing Partners based on a traditional pyramid or tiered structure and net-new business, you’re missing out. Rather than motivating Partners to reach the ever-coveted Platinum tier of your program, try reframing success as change, collaboration and innovation. Help them understand that growth isn’t just about acquiring new customers, but also retention and loyalty.
Partner education should include:
How to expand into new corners with their existing sales portfolios through cross-selling, up-selling, and Account Based Marketing (ABM).
Why Social Selling is critical for reaching prospects in today’s work-from-anywhere world.
Guess what? MSPs and VARs are real people who buy real things in the real world. Say it again with me for the folks in the back - “Partners are people!” So understanding their thought processes and behaviors is paramount to helping them strategically position your solutions in front of prospects and customers. And because Partners won’t do anything that doesn’t directly benefit their business, considering the motivation behind incentives is an important piece of the puzzle.
On a basic human level, reaching goals makes people happy. And let’s face it, we could all use a little extra serotonin these days. By simplifying programs to offer smaller, incremental achievements, Partners gain the satisfaction of being commonly rewarded without the daunting pressure of reaching something potentially unachievable. Overtime, small wins promote loyalty and your Partner community and customers will become more enamored with your brand and solutions. The point is, when it comes to staying top-of-mind, experience is everything!
Automate, Automate, Automate!
Jay McBain stated it best when he said, “Ecosystems don’t run on spreadsheets.” It’s no surprise that channel automation including partner relationship management (PRM); through-channel marketing automation (TCMA); channel learning and readiness (CLR) and channel incentives management (CIM) is on track for unprecedented growth in 2021. As COVID-19 continues to impact the way we do business together, Partners will continue to pivot and revamp existing processes.
The bottom line is that Partners must be able to automate manual sales and marketing operations. They need the ability to quickly and easily share personalized content when, where, and how THEY want. This way, they can drive more reach and maintain authenticity with their leads while promoting the content you pour your heart into creating.
Oh, and have you explored the new automation features of our sister company Spark yet? Channel Partners can personalize content to wherever they want including marketing automation, CRMs, social posts, sales sequences, and individual emails. Spark will automatically serve up the next relevant piece of content, and viola, Partners can conveniently drive demand in ways that best align with their preferences.
Need help with Channel Partner enablement this year? Let’s talk!