Partner management is an enormous element of running a successful channel. Your team must regularly engage with channel partners using targeted outreach and tactical resources to ensure they stay engaged and take the next step.
However, maintaining activity communication with all those partners can be challenging, especially as your channel scales. With automation, you can streamline your channel management efforts, drive more revenue, and scale effectively.
In this article, we’ll dig deeper into why you should automate certain aspects of your partner management cycle and how to get started — including the steps you should (and should not) automate.
Why Automate the Partner Management Cycle?
Partner management is very time-consuming when conducted manually. Channel Managers must stay on top of the latest activities for all their accounts and reach out with the right resources at the optimal time. It’s easy to see how this gets out of hand quickly when Channel Managers are responsible for dozens of partners each.
Automation can improve your partner management journey across recruitment, engagement, tracking, and more. By targeting critical phases of the partner engagement lifecycle, your channel team can streamline their efforts, driving a faster time-to-revenue and greater ROI.
Assist With Partners’ Success in Real-Time
Through trigger-based notifications, you can ensure you deliver applicable, targeted suggestions that help them land deals successfully. By delivering the right message and resources at critical moments, you’ll also help your partners drive more revenue, meaning more revenue for your organization.
Scale Your Program’s Growth With Optimal ROI
No matter how efficient your Channel Managers are, there’s a limit to how many partners they can manage simultaneously. By automating specific aspects of the management process, you can optimize your team’s time to ensure they’re spending manual effort on the most value-added activities.
How to Optimally Deploy Automation for an Enhanced Partner Experience
While streamlined processes and easier access to scale are two huge benefits of automation, they shouldn’t be the priority. When automating your channel management cycle, it’s essential to focus on the partner experience.
You can improve your partner experience by automating tasks like:
Partner training — Send reminders to complete training modules if partners haven’t logged in during a specified timeline. You can also send congratulatory emails when partners pass a new training module and include information about the next step they should take.
Targeted content distribution — Not every asset will pertain to every partner. Define user groups and tag content accordingly so your content library automatically serves materials that are useful to the individual.
Evolving portal access — As partners’ capabilities grow, so should their ability to utilize different dashboard features. Set up your partner portal so certain activities and training completions automatically unlock new materials and portal sections.
Co-marketing campaigns — Send push notifications about relevant co-marketing campaigns to your partners based on recent activity. This will help them take the best next step in a deal.
Asset management — Ensure your partners have access to the latest sales and marketing assets by automating outreach around asset updates.
Lead distribution — Strategically distribute leads based on partner type and location, ensuring prospects are shared fairly. By managing the entire lifecycle of leads from distribution to closed-won or closed-lost within your PRM, you gain deep insights into where leads fall off, which r resources are most engaging, how different partners perform, and more.
Analytics tracking and reporting — Create automated reports and host them in the partner dashboard to keep everyonepartners up-to-date on metrics, tier standing, and progress toward goals. Leverage these reports when conducting QBRs and other partner engagement meetings.
Re-engagement campaigns — Plan campaigns to reach out to partners after a predetermined stretch of inactivity. Share timely resources and offers to entice your partners to come back.
Where to Avoid Automation in the Partner Engagement Lifecycle
Remember, automating partner engagement should be tied to an enhanced experience. With that in mind, there are a few aspects of your relationship that you should never automate.
Most importantly, don’t let automation be an excuse for not holding meetings. Ensure your team still makes time to connect with partners regularly. Automated outreach is great for bridging the gap between meetings but shouldn’t replace them altogether.
Additionally, avoid automating critical partner management tasks like:
Prospective partner vetting — While you may choose to automate part of this process by sorting out clearly bad-fit partners (wrong location, incorrect audience), in the end, you should always have a real human conduct a final review of the prospective organization.
Contracts & negotiations — Automating contract delivery can be helpful to streamline the closing process, but a human should always be involved in contract development and negotiations.
Data analysis — Automation plays a big role in connecting different data points, but there should always be a human set of eyes on your KPIs to extract value.
Partner scoring — For similar reasons, individual partner scoring would benefit from a human set of eyes to incorporate the necessary context. Moreover, such exercises ensure that CAMs stay on top of problems rather than let them fall to the wayside.
MDF distribution — While there are benefits to systemizing MDF requests, there should be a human component to making decisions to correctly factor in historical data, specific target audiences, and more.
Localization & translations — If you have partners in different countries, you likely need to develop resources in multiple languages. It may seem like an easy solution to automate the creation of additional resources, but this would be a significant mistake. Human review is essential to ensure your translations make sense and that no cultural differences are overlooked.
While automation can streamline your efforts to help you and your partner reach your revenue goals faster, don’t let human-to-human connections become an afterthought. This aspect of your relationship with a partner is invaluable to maintain.
For example, feedback collected in conversation is likely to be more nuanced than what could be gathered via satisfaction surveys. What’s more, a person-to-person connection between a partner and account manager can further boost partner loyalty and engagement.
Discover Allbound’s Partner Journey Automation Capabilities
Allbound enables partner engagement at scale with trigger-based platform outreach. Within Allbound, select different filters and triggers (which can be both actions or lack thereof), along with a message to send.
For example, you may set up an automation to send out a message when a partner has registered a deal but not followed up. In your notification, you can include information and helpful resources to encourage your partner to take the next step in the deal.
Partner journey automation is critical to driving results with partners and scaling your channel.
Additional Reading to Help You Deploy Automation
Now that we’ve established how automation can empower your partner program, it’s time to dive into choosing the right software.
https://www.allbound.com/resource-center/what-is-prm/ — If you haven’t yet invested in a PRM, start here. This article covers all the PRM basics, from what it is and how it works, to the benefits and features, including the partner management automation strategies we mentioned in this article.
PRM System Criteria — Searching for the perfect PRM? Review these 16 system criteria, covering automation, integration, and scale, to ensure you select a partner platform to cover all your needs.
Advanced Channel Growth Strategies Based on Current Milestones — No matter how mature your channel program may be, you can take advantage of these advanced growth strategies made possible through automation. Discover activities to add to your 2023 partner plan, whether you’re focused on partner recruitment & enablement, going international, or somewhere in between.