4 ways to enhance partner engagement
In the same way customers expect a great Customer Experience (CX) from businesses, partners are expecting a
great Partner Experience (PX) from technology vendors. Essentially, partners are looking for the same level of
service and attention from you that they provide to customers.
Most partners are contending with limited time, resources and technical skills. And as if 2020 hasn’t thrown up
enough challenges, they’re expected to do the same or more with less.
If you can offer a way for your partners to overcome challenges and help drive sales, then you’ll quickly become
the vendor of choice.
Stop selling. Start helping
Potential buyers, whether new or existing customers, are spending an increasing amount of time online
researching and comparing products, services and suppliers.
For partners, one thing remains constant. The ongoing need for support of their demand-generation efforts. They’re
looking for help with digital marketing initiatives such as EDMs and microsites, events (especially virtual events),
content syndication, and social media. These strategies allow partners to reach and attract new prospects and keep
existing customers engaged.
Especially during a time when face- to-face/travel is a challenge.
Tech vendors experiencing the most success are offering up a variety of content that partners can customize with
their branding and making it easily available on their channel portal. White papers, data sheets, solution briefs,
eBooks, infographics, webinars, demonstration and training videos and case studies are all high-value assets for
partners to present to customers.
Providing a constant stream of new or updated content and multi-touch marketing campaigns allow partners
to guide customers along the buyer’s journey.
Making it easy
Channel partners are busy and very often under-resourced as they deal with employees, vendors and customers,
while trying to grow their business. They’re actively seeking multiple solutions that deliver measurable business
outcomes. And more often than not, this includes sourcing solutions from multiple suppliers.
The speed at which technology evolves means many partners are reactive to market demands rather than proactive.
Your partners need simplicity and the ability to immediately see the value you bring to their business.
Partner programs and through-channel marketing can either delight or disappoint, depending on the level and type of support partners receive from your CRM team. It’s important to help partners move forward, not just with your solutions but also with their business as a whole.
Technology providers need to deliver a great PX or run the risk losing partners to a vendor that places everything they need to be successful on a virtual silver platter.
The catch is, making things simple for partners, is not always simple for vendors – but when it drives adoption, sales growth, and partner and customer satisfaction, the rewards far outweigh the effort.
A portal to success
Partners see a channel portal as a time-saving tool. They want to work with vendors who can walk them through the
onboarding process, as well as the variety of tools, and resources available in your portal. They’re also looking
for help navigating inbound marketing and sales challenges, and access to technical team members without
endlessly waiting for answers.
It’s important to support them so they support your brand and promote your products and solutions. After all, your
products and services may not be the only ones they’re offering.
Your portal isn’t just about how you present yourself to existing and prospective partners. It’s how you enable “those partners to generate leads and drive revenue
It’s a way to automate the partner lifecycle, from onboarding to training to selling.
To keep partners active and engaged you need to maintain regular contact. If your partners rarely hear from you, they won’t know the latest news, product updates, marketing campaigns or training available. And with partners
desperate for content, they’ll always go with the vendor that provides it.
To-partner communication emails announcing a new campaign is available significantly increases adoption.
These emails highlight campaign features and direct partners to the portal page where they can customize the
campaign with their branding before launching it to customers.
But what about when you don’t have a product campaign? There’s been a substantial uptake in providing partners
with non-product focused campaigns.
These are campaigns that provide general business advice, identify the top technology innovations to be aware of or
industry trends to follow.
The objective of these generic campaigns is threefold. One: It helps you as a vendor maintain conversations with
partners. Two: It keeps you top of mind with partners. Enhancing your reputation as a vendor that’s invested in
helping their business succeed and not just sales focused. And three: They are a way for time poor and under
resourced partners to maintain communication with customers between promotional campaigns by offering
valuable business insights.
Engaging your channel partners isn’t just about giving them what they want. It’s knowing what they need,
understanding those needs are different for each partner and providing them in the easiest possible way.