How to Effectively Leverage Automation to Scale a Successful Partner Program

Posted on April 27, 2017

By Ruli Garcia

Tags: ,

partner program

You’ve gotten your partner program out of the pilot stages. With high-quality partners working on your behalf and weaving your solution into the fabric of their clients’ enterprises in a way that is meeting their needs, the revenue is coming in—repeatedly—at a decent pace. But now you want to grow bigger. And the truth is that if you try to scale while doing things just as you have been, but now with a larger staff, with more partners, and with more money invested into resources, you’ll be missing a crucial part of the equation—and what you’ll see is diminishing returns, not increasing ROI.

If you think about it, this holds true in most endeavors. If you’re a chef making food for five people in your kitchen and suddenly find yourself wanting to cater for parties of 1,000, your needs and costs don’t just expand by an order of magnitude—they change significantly. To operate at scale, you don’t just need a bigger team of chefs—you need different venues, operational coordinators, advanced software for processing orders and keeping fulfillment on track, and so on.

The same goes for partnering. By their very nature, partner relationships are complex. And if you add on new partners, you aren’t just adding a few new people—you could be increasing the number of people you’re dealing with by a magnitude of 10 and the number of individual tasks you handle in a given day by even more.

 

In a recent podcast with Asher Mathew, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances at Avalara, and Liz Anderson, Senior Director of Partner Marketing at Avalara, our own Jen Spencer got an inside look at how Avalara has been able to streamline aspects of partnering that can be bulky and restrictive at scale with technological tools. By understanding their moves, you can stop being intimidated by the sheer number of things you’ll have to do with an expanded partner program and stop worrying about how it might tax your resources. You can scale, and you can multiply your revenue exponentially when scaling—you just need the right partner acceleration tool to make it seamlessly easy by opening up a world of automation on tasks that you would normally have to handle by hand.  

Why Automation?

In Avalara’s discussion with us, Mathew and Anderson mention a couple of different tools that the company has been able to implement to automate processes within the partnering environment that greatly streamline the process. The company has created tools that allow partners to create campaigns with a few clicks rather than having to build out a full individual campaign each time a new product or brand position comes down the pike, ones that improve the processes of handling objections and ones that allow partners to more easily identify prospects.

All of these tools position businesses, their partners, and their partners’ clients to get the bulk of the work wrapped up quickly without thinking too much about it so that they can get down to the nitty-gritty of generating revenue through deals.

And that type of streamlining is at the heart of using a channel enablement tool to scale.

Operating at Scale Means Automating to Scale

Beyond automating the tasks and streamlining project management with software, there are plenty of other aspects of a partner program that can be prohibitively labor-intensive without the right automated tools and can slow a partner program down as it starts to build if not approached with the right solution in place.

For instance, when you’re just cutting your teeth in the channel, you might have just a few partners, and they might have only a few clients with a few people involved. Having those people communicating with each other through traditional email or phone calls might be feasible when you’re first starting out. But what about a deal with 50 or even 100 individual players involved? When you start bringing on more people, communicating through standard office channels becomes unwieldy. But the right solution makes for a single place where all this communication happens and where all the information resides.

Likewise, enabling vendors to share and create co-branded content with partners, offer trainings, and run analytics on the results are tasks that are difficult to strategize—or even conceptualize—using traditional office tools.

So if you’re planning on really ramping up your revenue through scaling your channel, stop thinking about how you’ll possibly handle all of that work manually—and think about implementing a tool that’ll let you automate out the heavy lifting so that you can concentrate on the important (and profitable) things.

 

Ruli Garcia

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