In the early stages of launching a channel program, you’ll be limited in the initiatives you can implement. At first, even basic channel-specific initiatives will be significant steps, but as your program matures, you’ll unlock more advanced opportunities to drive revenue with channel partners.
From first recruiting and enabling partners to taking your partner program global, discover which advanced channel growth strategies you should develop at each maturity stage.
Channel Milestone: Partner Recruitment & Enablement
Recruitment and enablement is the first active stage of partner management. To get here, you must first define your channel program’s growth goals, develop your ideal partner profile (IPP), modify existing strategic materials to enable partner sales, and have someone in charge of the channel.
Typically, partner teams in this stage will be lean, so you may need to leverage team members from other departments to enable these strategies.
Partner Recruitment & Enablement Strategies
There are a few advanced channel growth strategies you can implement as early as this first stage.
Partner Program Site Page
Creating a dedicated website page for your partner program is a huge step! This is a great way to communicate the value of your partner program and attract potential channel partners. Work with your marketing team if you don’t yet have a channel marketer on your team.
Keep your existing partners in mind and ask for their feedback when building your page. You can leverage their insights to optimize your page content. This is also a great place to include testimonials and success stories from your partners.
Channel-specific Content Creation
Another strategy to collaborate with your marketing team on is creating channel-specific content. This includes blogs, case studies, videos, and social media posts targeting new channel partners.
As you grow your channel, you can develop co-marketing strategies with partners, where you create co-branded assets promoting your partnership. Discover more ideas for co-marketing and joint promotion.
Channel Milestone: PRM Deployment
You’ll need internal buy-in from the appropriate stakeholders to reach this milestone. It can be hard to secure the necessary budget with a small team and early-stage partner program, so having a VP-level or C-suite team member advocating for your program is vital.
Similar to CRM, which many companies already use, PRM is a partner relationship management tool. Within your PRM, you can house partner training resources, enablement tools, assets to co-brand, and more. Rolling out a PRM is a significant step in any channel partner program as it allows you to scale significantly.
It’s important to note that PRMs aren’t for every partner program. While they can unlock a ton of opportunities, make sure to consider if a PRM is right for you.
PRM Deployment Strategies
Deploying a PRM unlocks a surplus of new channel growth strategies.
The most notable strategy unlocked with a PRM is automation. Your PRM can automate many aspects of the partner management process, including training, enablement, resource allocation, reporting, and more.
By automating these aspects of your channel, you’ll have more time to invest in meeting with your partners, brainstorming new co-marketing campaigns, and scaling your program.
With your PRM, you can create a partner portal where your partners can easily access any resource they need. This is a great place to house your co-marketing assets, training and enablement resources, and anything else partners may need.
By building a partner portal, it’s easier for your channel partners to find and leverage assets you’ve already built, without having to ask for help from your team. You can also make it easy for partners to contact the right channel representatives anytime they have questions that require human help.
Gamification is a way to make channel partner engagement fun. Typically, gamification is implemented using a PRM. Within your PRM, you can assign points to specific activities and reward your partners for completing tasks such as training, deal registrations, and launching co-marketing campaigns.
For example, your partners may earn points for completing specific training modules and answering quiz questions correctly. This motivates your partners to complete desired activities and is a great way to get them using your PRM early on in the partnership.
Channel Milestone: Partner Segmentation & Diversification
In this stage, you’re focused on expanding your channel to include different types of partners (diversification) and are ready to tailor how you work with each type of partner (segmentation). Effective partner segmentation at scale is only possible with a PRM to automatically serve segment-specific experiences.
When diversifying your channel, you may choose to expand the type of partners you work with to include agency partners, ISVs, SIs, VARs, and more. You’ll need to work with these partners differently to achieve various goals.
Partner Segmentation & Diversification Strategies
You unlock additional opportunities to drive channel growth by diversifying and segmenting partners.
Your European referral partners need different training and enablement support than your reseller partners in the US. With user grouping, you can segment your partners based on specific qualities to show them the most relevant content.
Leverage user grouping to segment your partners by type, region, and size within your PRM. Then, ensure all of your assets are tagged for the correct target audience.
Implementing partner tiers is a way to reward your partners for doing more business with your organization and ensure that you’re allocating internal resources toward partners that will yield the greatest ROI. At each new level your channel partners reach, they’re rewarded with extra support and resources. Your PRM can monitor partner activities and ensure you deliver each tier’s promised rewards.
Developing partner tiers is a powerful strategy to grow channel partner engagement and retention. Still, it requires a lot of resources to support, which is why many partner teams leverage their PRM to manage tiers. Learn more about successfully implementing partner tiers.
Channel Milestone: Going Global
Expanding your channel partner program internationally is a significant milestone only unlocked by first implementing a PRM and segmenting your partners. Growing into new regions and countries greatly increases your potential audience, but comes with new management logistics to consider.
A PRM makes it easier to manage your international partners, without needing team members in every timezone all over the world. Additionally, you’ll need to be mindful about providing content in different languages, which is best achieved through segmentation.
Global Channel Strategies
You unlock additional channel development opportunities as you expand into new areas and grow your team to include region-specific resources.
Region-specific Channel Campaigns
Instead of running general campaigns, take advantage of the opportunity to run a region-specific campaign. Highlight how you support partners or users in the area with influential case studies. Remember to consider the native language of wherever you’re running your campaign to ensure your target audience will be able to understand.
Now that in-person events are starting to come back into swing, consider hosting events in the regions you support. Depending on how established you are in an area, you may host an event as large as a conference or as intimate as a small dinner. No matter which you choose, make sure to invite a blend of new and existing channel partners.
Grow Your Channel Program with Advanced Strategies
As your channel program scales, you’ll unlock new opportunities for driving growth. Even if you’re already at a more advanced stage in your channel partner program, consider how the early-stage strategies shared can help scale your program, too.
Discover additional resources to assist with developing a channel growth strategy, including:
Channel Partner Go-To-Market (GTM) Guide — If you’re in the early stages of building your channel partner program, discover how to build a successful go-to-market strategy. This guide covers GTM planning through engagement and execution, including how to set clear objectives, craft ideal partner personas, and develop incentive strategies to nurture partner growth.
Perfect Your Partner Management & Sales Framework — Ensure your channel partner program runs smoothly by crafting an optimal partner management and sales framework. Discover best practices for finances, deploying technology, and measuring your results in this blog.
Automate, Scale, Integrate – PRM System Criteria — Deploying a PRM unlocks many new advanced channel strategies. Explore criteria for selecting a PRM to support your channel sales growth through strategic automation, optimal usability, and other essential software components.
The Partner-First Approach to Developing Partnerships That Add Value — The SaaS industry is increasingly embrace channel programs with some companies even choosing to make it their primary sales strategy, leading to a “partner-first” mentality. Learn more about this apporach and how you can equip partners with the resources needed to achieve the necessary growth.
Strategies for Expanding into International Markets — Taking your channel program worldwide is an enormous milestone. If you’re not there yet, but are looking to expand, consider these strategies for effectively taking your channel program global.