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What would you do with one more hour in your day?
An even better question is “How can you find ways to carve that additional hour or more out of your day?” You can gain that extra by making some slight adjustments to how you work with your channel partners—changes that will only increase the efficiency of your channel program.
Respect Your Partner’s (and Your) Time
Effective channel management is contingent on your ability to provide flexible support without micromanaging your partners. Setting expectations from the onset of a partnership is the right way to establish mutually agreeable communication terms. While some partners prefer to solely meet for QBRs (quarterly business reviews), others prefer weekly or monthly sessions. Work to establish clear, concise communication terms for your partners and your organization—and stick to your schedule.
Remember: Your partners are selling for other organizations; it’s up to you to respect their time. Create a quick agenda, be sure to stick to the meeting topic, and note that it’s alright to end a meeting early if you’ve covered all talking points. Keeping things as clear and concise as possible makes meetings much more manageable for everyone involved.
It’s equally essential to host meetings only when they’re necessary. If the thought of nixing status meetings has your stomach in a knot, consider compromising. Schedule a block of time for these meetings, but be judicious about cancellation: If there’s nothing new to discuss, they shouldn’t be hosted in the first place.
Easily Accessible Content
Marketing materials and training are critical to your channel’s success. They enable your partners to understand your brand and how you want it to be presented to their customers. However, sending PDFs via email or a shared drive is a surefire way for files to get lost or unintentionally ignored.
Implementing an organized, simple content directory enables partners to thrive with minimal involvement on your end. They can work through training on their own time, be tested on that knowledge, and rewarded for success without a hand holding approach.
With a centralized hub for your content, partners are able to independently find the materials they need to become successful. Your partner portal should present content based on the type of partner, location, and tiering within your channel program to provide a unique and custom experience to each individual.
Channel management tools empower reps to truly understand your products and how you want them positioned. Enabling your partners to sell the right way helps create deals that are profitable and buyer relationships that are successful and sustainable. Ultimately, if you’re using the right PRM platform to collaborate, communicate, and share content, you shouldn’t have to babysit your channel partners.
Introduce a Robust Onboarding Process
When you empower your partners to work independently, they begin to thrive with minimal involvement from your internal team.
However, none of this is possible without a comprehensive onboarding process toset the stage. Ideally, the initial training should arm them with essential learnings necessary to master your products and prospecting conversations, nothing more and nothing less. If you overwhelm partners with too much too soon, you risk discouraging them; if you rush them through onboarding, and they’ll fail to deliver. Be puroseful with the training materials you deliver by ensuring their relevancy to the individual program participants, measuring their effectiveness through quizzes, and structuring them into multi-step modules that build on one another.
Certain PRM software offers behavior-triggered notifications which automatically direct partners to the next step, letting them grow at their own pace without you micromanaging.
Are you tracking deal registrations in the most effective way? If you’re receiving this information through an email or a google sheet, then the answer is, probably not. Allowing partners to register deals within a dedicated portal is beneficial in many ways:
1. Eliminate channel conflict – Requiring partners to register a deal within your portal makes it clear which partner signed a deal first. In a situation like this, typically a vendor will utilize a “first come, first serve” mentality to ease any strain.
2. Give partners dynamic playbooks based on the prospect – When a partner registers a deal, the portal will provide targeted sales content based on a prospects’ industry, location, and buying stage.
3. Transparency with your partners – When you update a deal status within your CRM, having a portal that immediately reflects that status not only saves you time, but also builds trust between you and your partners.
A partner portal can combine all of these efficiency measures into one common place and optimize your partnerships.