The unfortunate truth is that, at some point, you’re probably going to lose a partner; it’s inevitable. Realistically, some partners may just not be the best fit, while for others priorities may shift along the way. Whatever the reason, it’s not the end of the world—and certainly not the end of your partner program. With that being said, losing a partner is naturally going to feel like a small setback, don’t worry, if you adjust your partner program to better fit partner needs going forward, you’ll be back on top in no time.
While there’s no way to completely prevent partner churn, there are steps you can take to reduce it. We’ll share a few to help you get started.
Understanding Partner Churn
You can’t fix what you don’t know, right? That’s why the first step to reducing churn is to understand what exactly is causing it. Some of the commonly cited reasons for partner churn are:
- Program complexities
- Lack of program consistency
- Inadequate training and support
- Changing business models
- Poor communication
- Low return on investment
If you’re not sure what’s causing partner churn, you can start by asking for feedback from both current and former partners. Consider sharing an anonymous survey to garner more authentic, honest feedback.
How to Reduce Partner Churn
Once you have a better understanding of why partner churn is happening, you’ll be better equipped to figure out the next part—how you can reduce it. So how exactly do you keep your partners from jumping ship?
A few of the most effective ways you can reduce partner churn are to:
Keep your partner program simple.
One of the most common pain points partners cite is that many programs are riddled with complexities. From your partner portal to your program guidelines, nothing should be overly complex if you want to keep your partners from running for the hills.
Establish clear program guidelines.
A confusing and disorganized partner program is sure to see more churn than one with clear guidelines. Partners often express dissatisfaction with ever-changing program rules. To avoid this, establish a program with clear guidelines and keep them consistent. Constant changes to your program will hurt before they help.
Provide thorough training and education.
Your partners can’t increase their sales if they have no understanding of what your company actually sells. One of the most important parts of building and maintaining a successful partner program is providing thorough training and educational opportunities to help enable channel sales. You should share these resources not only during onboarding but also on a regular basis to keep partners informed on the latest and greatest at your company.
Improve communication with partners.
If you want to keep your partners happy (and prevent them from leaving your program), it’s imperative that you improve your communication. Make yourself available to partners when they have questions, and be as responsive as possible to help support them when they need help. Remember that it’s supposed to be a partnership—they should know you’re there for them and eager to work together to increase sales.
When Partner Churn Is Inevitable
Of course, sometimes churn is inevitable. In some cases, you’re just not going to be a good fit, or what was once a fit isn’t working anymore. When that happens, first take it with a grain of salt. Things change—and it’s not always a bad thing when they do. Sometimes bringing in new partners is exactly what your program needs to breathe new life into it and re-engage those who seem to be asleep on the job.
When you’re looking for new partners, go in with strict criteria to ensure you find a good fit as a replacement. The better the fit from the beginning, the less likely it is that partners will churn. You can also leverage a PRM solution like Allbound to help automate time-consuming tasks and make it easier for partners to sell for you.
Partner churn happens, but it doesn’t mean that your program can’t be a success. By making a few changes to your strategy and investing in technology to help ease the process, you can reduce churn and improve your partner program overall.
Are you curious about PRM tools and how the right technology can help you streamline your internal processes, enhance your partner program, and increase your channel sales? Check out our Partner Relationship Management Guide to learn more.