Today’s Channel Partners are more often than not born in the cloud, driving recurring revenue models, and they don’t typically refer to themselves as your “Partner.” In their minds, they are just one of many technology companies leveraging (your) IT solutions to drive success for their customers. It's all part of the shifting Channel.
Based on this, it’s hardly a surprise that Partner recruitment is more challenging than ever and often results in Vendors partnering with any solution provider that shows interest. Sounds familiar? If so, it might be time to think critically about laying the right foundation to attract the right partners.
Who should you target?
Partner recruitment is similar to prospecting for buyers. The Partners you imagine will be most successful might not be the ones that actually are. Look at your current Partner set. Which Partners are selling, engaged with your team, and opening and reading your communications? What are their common traits? What types of people are leading their organizations?
Once you have the framework and know your Partner audience, develop nurturing campaigns, newsletters, Partner-facing blogs, and other communications that work to bring the right Partners to you. Then, continue creating communications in the same vein to keep them engaged long-term.
Are you discounting the power of your team?
People do business with people and buy (or in this case, Partner) based on the people behind the solutions and “why” your solutions exist. If your Partner-facing team (beginning with the Partner recruitment team) aligns with the Partner’s desired outcomes, makes sense, and is an organization they want to be associated with, you’re more than halfway to joint success.Fostering a company culture alignment with Partner organizations is one of those rarely talked about pieces of the recruitment challenge that matters.
What will onboarding be like for the Partner?
Not every Partner will be loyal, engaged, and excited to work with you. Before recruiting your next set of Partners, think about the ones you have moved the needle with. What did you do right, what do they have in common, and how can you replicate those experiences across new Partner onboarding?
From a Partner’s perspective, onboarding is necessary but very time consuming and the mere thought of it can be a deterrent in the recruitment process. Your team is a wealth of information here. Tap them for brainstorming and use the information to chart a course for onboarding Partners in ways that work best for them.
What are your enablement offerings?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could onboard new Partners and then step away while they implement joint solutions without help? Some do but it’s rare especially in the case of technology Partners who build solutions on your backbone.
Enablement takes many forms. In some cases, Vendors employ Virtual Sales Engineers to assist Partners with technical needs but these resources are typically reserved for the top-producing Partners, which is a problem for post-onboarding enablement. Marketing is another post-onboarding challenge especially with Partners who are swamped and don’t have time or resources to self-serve training and campaigns. In this case, marketing concierge services are a huge driver for successful enablement.
Laying the foundation for a strong partnership begins with recruitment and a big part of the success is dependent on cultivating onboarding strategies that align with ideal Partners. For more information about Partner recruitment strategies, we’re happy to help!