After ringing in 2019, many companies are making business resolutions and setting goals for the year ahead. Because many expect channel sales to increase in importance over the next few years, it’s not surprising that company leaders are looking to either begin or improve upon a channel partner program in the coming year.
Successful partner programs come with a whole host of benefits for both of the companies involved—and although partner relationship management (PRM) can certainly be challenging to navigate, when approached the right way, partnering with other organizations can help amplify sales and marketing efforts.
If PRM is a top priority for your company this year, you’re probably looking for examples of what a successful partner program looks like. Which companies are currently rocking PRM, and what exactly are they doing right?
To encourage company growth, Google established partnerships and built out their partner program early on. Google works with a variety of partners, including advertising agencies, digital marketing professionals, and more. They also serve as a channel partner for many smaller companies. To join the program, companies have to become certified in Google’s products to demonstrate product proficiency. In return, partners get access to many benefits, including tools, events, training, and industry research.
What Can You Learn? Motivate partners to learn and complete certification courses by unlocking incentives as they achieve goals.
WP Engine, a managed WordPress hosting provider, offers a tiered agency partner program. As part of the program, partners gain access to a partner portal, a listing in the partner directory, advanced tools for developers, branded landing pages, and free staging accounts. Partners in higher tiers also receive dedicated sales support, co-marketing resources, lead sharing, and custom training.
What Can You Learn? Reward partner loyalty with tiered benefits.
Dropbox, a cloud storage company, partners with popular technology companies who make devices and applications. Partners in the program get access to a cloud marketplace, free and discounted internal use licenses, and access to a partner portal, where they can find deals, training, and sales and marketing tools. They’re also invited to participate in co-marketing and co-selling opportunities, including a referral program. Dropbox also has premier partners, who receive exclusive access to technical resources, marketing development funds, a lead referral program, and a single point of contact.
What Can You Learn? By allowing partners to have access to your tool, they are more likely to effectively sell. First-hand experience with a tool is always your most powerful selling strategy.
Hilton, a global hotel brand, is doing PRM right by partnering with a number of different organizations, including travel sites, airlines, credit card companies, and more. By building out such an extensive list of travel partners, Hilton can offer flight bundles, hotel bookings with rewards, inexpensive rates on travel sites, and many other benefits.
What Can You Learn: Expand your offerings through your partners and become a one-stop solution for customers.
PayPal, an end-to-end payment management solution, started off as an eBay subsidiary. They then spun off and are still a partner of eBay, but also expanded to partner with many other online retailers, as well as brick-and-mortar stores. As part of PayPal’s partner program, partners receive co-marketing opportunities, revenue share for referrals, an online partner directory, live support, and more.
What Can You Learn: Have a mix of partner types. Different partner types lead to different audiences and a wider range of possible consumers.
Optimizely, an A/B testing software, has built out a robust partner program as part of their PRM efforts. The program includes developer support, a custom sandbox, access to Optimizely’s partner community, co-marketing resources, a listing in the public partner directory, and certifications through Optimizely Academy.
What You Can Learn: Community is key. Having a partner community can help partners collaborate and drive a better sales strategy.
Zoom, an enterprise video communications solution, has built an enhanced referral program with access to training, a partner portal, marketing materials, refer-a-friend initiatives, and more. Zoom partners with technology vendors, application providers, manufacturers, and system integrators with experience in SaaS/cloud and unified communications services.
What You Can Learn: The customer experience is important. If you can integrate with a tool to help a customer have a better, easier experience, integrate!
Although each of the companies above has a unique partner program, there are also inherent similarities in them.
To kick-start your company’s PRM in 2019 and amplify your partner program, you should:
If you weren’t already inspired to strengthen your PRM this year, now you should be! Have more questions about PRM solutions and how they can help drive results for you and your partners? Check out the 2018 PRM Guide to learn more.