If you’re running a channel sales operation, you know that attracting the right partners is crucial. Currently, 60 percent of channel partners report needing better systems and processes to ensure quality, which means you need to have a solid recruitment plan in place. If you’re ready to attract more of the best, most productive partners out there, then it’s time to figure out how you can identify and attract partners with whom you can build mutually beneficial relationships.
Here are five ways to attract the best channel partners:
1. Develop a strategy and stress your authority.
The best way to start wooing potential partners is to develop a clear, profitable business strategy that highlights your organization’s authoritative position in the market. With this strategy, your organization can establish authority, and channel partners will feed the demands of their customers with your offerings. Also, make sure you know your company’s value proposition inside and out so that when a potential partner—who may be working with a competitor—asks, you’re prepared. In this case, confidence in messaging and delivery is key.
2. Educate and cater to your potential partners.
To find the best channel partners, you need to implement the fundamentals of inbound marketing. Ask yourself who your ideal partner is and develop a persona—a fictional, generalized character that represents the various needs, goals, and behavior patterns among your real and potential partners.
By creating a persona for your ideal partner, you can begin to craft relevant, useful content such as blog posts, white papers, press releases, newsletters, and more. It helps to be able to ask yourself “Would VP of Marketing, Sally care about this content? Would this content help her be more efficient in her current role?” By identifying which content types and topics are relevant to your persona, you can easily begin pulling potential partners into the funnel and understanding which partners are a good fit. When 96 percent of B2B buyers want content from industry thought leaders, building a robust content library can help position your company as an industry expert and attract the partners you’re looking for.
When thinking about channels of content to focus on, consider what would be most valuable in the eyes of your persona. For example, think about the value a webinar can add to your persona’s daily routine. Databox’s CEO and former HubSpot VP of Sales Pete Caputa describes what happened when HubSpot was preparing to launch a partner program: “From day one, we started hosting a lot of educational webinars. … When they were over, I just sat back and watched the interest in our program fly in.” Hubspot was able to identify their key personas and give them content that was relevant and helpful to solve their pain points.
3. Act as if you’re hiring a new employee.
One of the easiest ways to attract new partners is to treat them like you would a potential employee. Potential hires love hearing about the benefits and perks of working at a company and so do potential partners. Let potential partners know about onboarding processes, as well as the variety of tools, robust resources, communication platforms, and feedback channels you’ll provide to establish a productive and profitable relationship. Channel partners need to know that you have the tools and commitment to ensure their success—just as much as your own—and that you’re willing to educate them throughout the partnership.
4. Know your partners’ target customers.
Even channel partners with the most potential might not be the right fit if your product doesn’t appeal to their core customer base. Channel partners need to know that working with your company will establish a mutually beneficial and profitable relationship, which means you need to know who their customers are and whether a partnership makes sense.
Also, if you’re creating and distributing content and other resources for your channel partners, ensuring the right fit is even more important—if the target audience isn’t right, then marketing to them will be next to impossible.
5. Take your product on the road.
If you know who your ideal channel partners are and your products align with their target customers, one way to reach them is by doing a roadshow. Secure a mailing list and invite potential partners to a special event and woo them by delivering everything—from your product or service and how they’re the perfect partner to take it to market, to how you intend on working with them to ensure a mutually beneficial and profitable relationship.
If you’re ready to create powerful lines of communication with your channel partners or learn how partner relationship management (PRM) can help you attract new partners, then download the 2018 PRM guide. With simple, yet powerful PRM tools, you can learn how to make the most of channel marketing, from onboarding to pipeline management.