If you’re running a channel sales operation, you know that finding 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 find and recruit channel partners with whom you can build mutually beneficial relationships.
Here are five ways to recruit 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, 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—inquires, you’re prepared. In this case, confidence in messaging and delivery is key to recruiting channel partners.
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. 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. 96 percent of B2B buyers want content from industry thought leaders, so building a robust, diverse content library can position your company as an industry expert and help you recruit the partners best positioned to connect with prospective customers.
For inspiration, look no further than Databox. Their 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 successfully find more channel partners.
3. Act as if you’re hiring a new employee
One of the easiest ways to recruit new channel partners is to treat them like you would a potential employee. Similar to new hires, potential partners love hearing about the benefits and perks of working at a company. Let them 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 are committed to 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. Newly recruited 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. Otherwise, marketing to their business connections will be next to impossible.
5. Take your product on the road
If you can identify your ideal channel partners and your products align with their target customers, one way to find them is through a roadshow. Secure a mailing list and invite potential partners to a special event to recruit them. In person, you can explain your product or service, as well as how they’re the perfect partner to take it to market. Make sure to specify how you plan 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 find new partners, download our eBook How to Ensure That Your Partners Will Choose You Too. With simple yet powerful PRM tools, you can learn how to make the most of channel marketing, from onboarding to pipeline management.