America—now one of the strongest countries in the world, took a winding path of growth, downfall, and innovation before becoming one of the world’s powerhouses. Although strong, we can all admit that not everything in American history has the shine of perfection upon it. The same pattern of growth and decline that was experienced by Americans throughout the years, can be expected to take hold of any sector of your business, including the channel.
The purpose of recording history is so that we may learn from it. Here are eight key factors your channel can learn from American History:
1. Keep Track
It’s important to track what has been successful or detrimental to your overall plan. While efforts may seem like a good idea at the moment, it’s important to sift through your history and justify your decisions based on analytics, not feelings.
For example, if your partners have expressed that they want to host an event to help market your brand, but numerous past events have been recorded with low return on investment (ROI), you may consider using a different medium to reach your audience.
Just remember, as you execute any plan, record the results for future use. Keeping a record protects you from repeating the same mistakes in the future.
2. Join or Die
As the political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin said “Join or Die”, your internal departments and partner sales reps should do the same. If you lack alignment between your partners, internal sales reps, product team, and marketing, your company will surely fail. From the first touch your prospects need to know exactly what product they are being marketed or sold. If your partners are marketing a race car but you actually sell bikes, the sales process can get convoluted, confusing, and leads can be lost because of frustration with the messaging. It’s better to be up front about what your product actually can achieve rather than muddy the marketing waters with misalignment and mixed messaging.
3. Claim Your Land
Whether you’re talking about civilization or sales, it’s a race to claim land. When partner reps are able to register and track their own deals, they will gain a feeling of ownership. Reps become more invested in a customer’s outcome when they are able to see what happens, no matter where they are in the funnel.
Partners need the freedom to sell with a strategy they are comfortable with. Limiting your partner’s sales process and strategy can hurt their chances of closing a deal. When partners are more comfortable, they will sell more confidently.
Set partners up for success by giving them the right tools, resources, and education to allow them to be successful. Then, set them free to represent your brand.
- If you are uncomfortable with the thought of setting partners free to represent your brand, you’ll need to reevaluate your partnership. You should join a partnership because you believe that the additional brand representative or brand connection will help your brand, not hurt it.
5. Keep Striving For Greatness
If things are not going as planned in your channel partner program, change them. Greatness wasn’t achieved overnight and to perfect a plan it take a lot of due diligence, testing, and most importantly, flexibility of strategy based on test results. The same old thing does work for everyone in every industry so don’t be afraid to take risks and differentiate your partner program.
6. Opportunity is Out There
The best thing about having a phenomenal partner program is that it attract high volume of valuable partners. By having a variety of partners, you are opening your company up to all kinds of opportunity. Your partners are able to easily reach companies and target audience that would be too difficult or too costly to obtain on your own. With the help of a few common connections, you can achieve any dream.
In any strong, long-lasting society, there are pieces of documentation that define laws. These laws are there for a reason, to keep everyone safe and protect the rights of all affected parties. Documentation needs to be established in the beginning of a partnership to make sure you and your partners are abiding by the expectations. Having defined guidelines allows partners to know what they need to accomplish, how to cross sell a product, what brand guidelines to follow, as well as what is okay vs. not okay to promote. To make everyone’s experience easier and more enjoyable, it is a benefit to both you and your partners to set up the documentation up front and avoid making too many drastic changes to program.
With every decade that passes, societies have learned to adapt. When changes occur, new innovations and tools are created to fill a need. Allow your partners to communicate with you when processes aren’t working so you and your partner can work together to establish a new process, new system, or tool to make the customer journey smoother. The most useful products are created because of a pain point that has not been addressed. Be flexible—by addressing a pain point with a product solution, you might just be the next Thomas Edison.
If your dream is to grow your partner program, go for it! The American dream isn’t just for Americans—it’s for anyone who’s bold enough to go after it. When it comes to your partner program, there are a lot of things that can be learned when you communicate with your partners and grow together as a society. If you want your partner program to become a bigger, better piece of your lead generation tool or sales funnel, it’s time to listen to what partners need and apply those needs to your partner program. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to elevate your partner program, download the ebook 19 Ways to Elevate Your Partner Program.