Partner recruitment will continuously occur throughout the life of your channel program, so it’s essential to learn best practices and understand common pitfalls. In this article, we’ll review our idea of the most widely used channel partner recruitment principles:
Pre-plan Your Partner Recruitment Strategy
Companies wanting long term results within their indirect sales channel take the time to plan. Do your research to figure out the types of companies that would align best with yours.
The goal is to find a company that reaches your target audience but doesn’t directly compete with you. There may be some overlap in the offerings between you and your partners, but there is still potential for a mutually beneficial partnership. In these situations, you must analyze the overlaps in your businesses to understand what your challenges will be.
A vital part of the partner recruitment process is how you decide to market your program. Do prospective partners know where to find you online? Are they aware of your brand? Be sure to think through avenues to increase brand awareness: paid search, email, social media. In some ways, acquiring partners is like acquiring customers. The value proposition must be there for them to commit to a partnership. Your promotion should communicate the benefits of partnering with your company, your marketing is how potential partners will see you before a dialogue even begins. A PRM (partner relationship management) platform serves as a building block for your partner marketing strategy.
Build Your Ideal Partner Profile
Determine the criteria you want in partners before you start the vetting process. An ideal partner profile is a list of the specific necessities that a partner must have for them to be considered. The criteria you choose will help you qualify partners and ensure that they have the attributes.
Your ideal partner profile should consist of:
- Geography and reach (Where they do business)
- Customer base (Who are their customers?)
- Their full product line (Complimentary & competitive)
- Business goals (Understand what motivates them and what they’re trying to achieve)
- Company financials and reputations. (Do your research to find out their credibility)
- Specializations. (Know their strengths, what products they sell most frequently, what they’re known for in the industry)
Leverage Your Partner Portal
Don’t hesitate to promote the fact that your company has a dedicated partner portal. When evaluating your company, partners want to know that your organization is professional. Automation within your channel program lets a partner know that they can train on their own time, independently co-brand materials, and utilize an optimized deal registration process.
The partner recruitment process is made easier when a partner sees your program has organizational processes. A partner wants to know when they sign on they’ll have access to consistent training, support, and resources from your organization.
Create a Streamlined Onboarding Process
Once committed to your partner program, your PRM will assist you by providing a robust onboarding experience for all relevant roles in your partner ecosystem. Be sure to have a structured, organized onboarding process, as it makes an excellent first experience and sets the tone for the partnership.
It’s a good idea to have a Zoom kick-off to build rapport while launching your partnership.
Avoid These Common Mistakes:
Not Having a Structured Recruitment Process
Many companies choose a passive recruitment process. They handle each partner request as a one-off circumstance, which isn’t efficient or scalable. By doing the work upfront, you can create a repeatable process for the future recruitment of partners. Remember, recruiting isn’t a one-time occurrence. Instead, it will occur habitually throughout the lifetime of your business.
Not Promoting Your Channel Program
Without marketing, you could be missing out on lucrative partnerships. Effective marketing attracts perfect partners eager to do business on your behalf. Don’t make the mistake of not ensuring program visibility, or you run the risk of losing out on business opportunities.
Choosing Quantity Over Quality
Vetting and narrowing down your partners is essential to having a reliable channel. Quantity isn’t more important than quality, especially with partners. More partners do not equal more business, and in some cases, it can harm your business. When you have too many partners, you wind up investing time and resources into underperforming partners instead of focusing on the top performers.
Not Properly Vetting Partners
It’ll cost time and money to vet partners properly, but it’s worth it. Remember that your partners do business on your behalf and therefore affect your reputation. You must do your due diligence and dig for information on partners to safeguard your reputation. Invest in research reports that give you an in-depth overview of the company you’re looking to partner with.
When recruiting partners, make sure you have a plan. Know your ideal partner and strategize on how to attract them. Incorporate the right technology tools and platforms to manage the recruitment process. Automation during the onboarding process creates a seamless transition for partners. Make sure to promote your channel program for maximum visibility. Always choose quality over quantity and be ruthless with your elimination process.
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