noun – a business strategy where two or more companies come together to sell their products or services jointly. These organizations combine resources, promotion efforts, and share profit.
When starting a new partner program, or optimizing your current program, it’s essential to take a look at your peers to understand what’s happening in the world of partnerships. How are top channel programs driving results? Which partnership types are the most utilized? Which channel automation is causing waves?
In this article, you’ll get a look into six examples of channel programs, what partnerships they have, and how they drive results.
WP Engine is a platform that provides the groundwork for brands to create websites on WordPress. The WP Engine agency partner program began in 2017 and quickly became the largest partner channel within WordPress with over 5,000+ global partners.
With a plethora of partners, WP Engine chose to utilize the Allbound PRM to provide a consistent and efficient partner experience. After the implementation, WP Engine saw a triple-digit increase in partner engagement with deal registrations quickly becoming one of the most utilized portal actions.
To attract partners, the WP Engine team has set up a landing page for their agency partners. This creates a clear path for prospective partners with a page layout that includes: information about WP Engine, benefits of becoming a partner, and a form for seamless application.
Another point of visibility for WP Engine partners is the agency directory. It’s no secret that the WP circle of influence is large, as they’re an industry leader, so being listed on this directory gives partners exposure that could be difficult to achieve at this magnitude.
Monday is a cloud-based project management platform that allows companies of all sizes to collaborate on current and upcoming initiatives.
Their partnership page illuminates how important the channel is to their sales motion. Here they highlight the five branches of their partnerships:
- Channel partners – these partners focus on the distribution of their software
- Referral partners – these are consultants who are recommending solutions to their prospects and customers
- Tech partners – these are companies who are integrated into the Monday.com platform
- Strategic alliances – these are systems integrators
- Academic partners – these are partners who share knowledge and insights about tech and academia
If you haven’t taken a look at their partnerships page, we recommend it as one of the clearest and concise examples for channel partner recruitment. Here’s why this page works so well:
- Each partnership branch is clearly defined
- They highlight who would be a good fit for each of their partnership models
- An annual partner summit is showcased in their video (who doesn’t get excited about that?)
- There are sub-pages for each partnership type if you’d like to learn more
Additionally at Monday, they ensure that partner recruitment is a continuous process by delegating that item to the Senior Channel Managers. Putting recruitment at the core of the Senior Channel Manager position guarantees that recruitment is a consistent process instead of an afterthought.
Zeno is Serko’s travel management application. This app uses intelligent technology, predictive workflows, and a global travel marketplace to transform business travel across the entire journey.
The Serko partner program had grown globally with partners across Europe, North America, and Oceania. What this meant for the New Zealand based company is that they could no longer manually manage partners and remain effective. Recognizing that remote management could correlate with decreased partner engagement, Serko adopted a partner portal and achieved 100% portal adoption.
This decision led to further success and exciting milestones. Within the last year, Serko has partnered with Booking.com, which has skyrocketed growth. This partnership has made so much of an impact that part of their recent $85 million capital raise will be dedicated to assisting the Booking.com development.
Pandium is a company self-described as an iMaaS — integration marketplace as a service. Their foundation is in technology partnerships, and they place their primary emphasis on integrations. Pandium customers may invite their partners to utilize the branded portal, which serves as the base camp for all new integrations and marketing materials. Partners may submit materials for review and companies are able to widely communicate changes.
Pandium hits integrations from two angles: being a company where integrations are at the core of their product and focusing on integration partnerships. Such strategies allow Pandium to tap into consumer demands as found in a recent survey done by MARTECH, the results found that 24% of respondents replaced software in favor of something with better integrations. This New York based start-up aims to make it more manageable for B2B software companies to incorporate integrations, boasting an 80-percent decrease in engineering time through the use of their platform. Companies like Adobe Creative Cloud, Hubspot, and Kronos are listed on their website as ‘connectors’ or available integrations through their platform and provide ample opportunities to request a demo throughout the viewing experience.
As soon as you enter the Databox website, you are greeted with a big block message that boasts performance tracking from anywhere, on any device. The entirety of the Databox website provides a comprehensive look into how they (along with their product) enable their customers and partners.
Databox is an example of a channel program that checks all the boxes. The site includes a Partner Directory, a Rolodex of all their partnerships with search filters that include the level of partnership and company qualifications. To better attract partners, Databox acts as the intermediary for new potential customers to forge relationships with pre-existing partners before getting total buy-in, while also providing exposure for loyal and long-standing partners.
Databox centers its messaging around tracking progress and enabling growth amongst its partners, which is evident in the way that partnerships are the focus of the Databox branding. The interface of the ‘Product’ menu allows a user to research specific features, but also specify their needs in terms of a marketing, sales, or financial dashboard. They also have templates and numerous other resources that emphasize the value they place on the empowerment of their partners.
Drift is a conversational marketing platform that many trusted companies utilize when trying to better get in touch with their customers. As a prospect, their website is engaging and exciting; it invites them to take a closer look at the finer details of Drift without the pressure of requesting a demo. Even their prompt to book time is a friendly “let’s talk,” which invites prospects to have a conversation rather than push them to buy a product.
Drift offers three partnership types which include:
- Integration Partners
- Certified Partners
- Drift Influencer
Drift’s website provides a Partner Directory with profiles and short write-ups about each of the companies they partner with, like Six & Flow who grew business 15% after adopting Drift and cut the sales cycle by 33%.
Both their brand messaging as well as the utilities featured on their website illustrate their focus on the customer and the emphasis they place on providing quality experiences to their own customers and for their partners’ customers.
Main Take Aways
One thing to note about each of the partnerships above is that no two are the same, and there’s no singular approach towards partnerships. Here are a few best practices to optimize and scale your channel:
- Most channel programs have more than one type of partnership. If you’re looking to scale your channel, it may be time to think outside of the referral partner box (or tech partner box, or affiliate partner box, but you get what we’re trying to say here).
- Partner pages are essential for awareness and recruitment. The best way to keep potential partners from applying to join your program is to hide it from them. Be loud and proud with your partnerships in the form of registration pages and directories. We recommend reading Examples of Great Partner Pages – Content and Design to Inspire.
- You can’t do it all on your own. A common problem most channel managers face at some point in their career is that manual work loses efficiency. If you find yourself struggling to keep your inbox at zero, track sales effectively, or engage partners, it may be time to get some help from channel automation.
Want to see examples of how top channel partner programs drive results? Check out some case studies here.