Business growth in one form or another tops any list of 2023 goals for organizations. As 2022 draws to a close, now is the time to start thinking about the groundwork needed to achieve those objectives in the new year. And that means leaning into your partner channel
As your business grows, so too should your partner program. Scaling existing channels results in more leads and expanded audience reach, bolstering other efforts across the organization, and helps secure long-term support for the internal partner channel team. A win for all!
Growing current partnerships requires careful planning, aligning all involved parties and integrating with your PRM to track and measure progress at each step. Here are some helpful, effective steps for scaling your existing channels next year.
Align Your Internal Teams
Above all, sustainable growth throughout your partner ecosystem requires internal alignment among your organization. Success doesn’t happen in silos
Support from C-suite leaders is imperative to securing the resources and funding needed to scale a team. Whether that’s hiring additional partner channel staff in the new year or further investing in channel sales technology that will allow the team to scale over the long-term, having advocates for channel sales at the leadership level is key.
Use data and metrics to get executive alignment. Heading into a new year – with the renewed budget that a new quarter brings – is one of the best times to showcase the impact channel sales had on organizational goals over the previous year.
Ensuring proper attribution of leads and conversions to channel sales helps your team get credit where credit is due, for one. Channel sales data and metrics that track the customer journey are also important for creating your 2023 strategy and getting buy-in from leadership.
Alignment doesn’t stop at the executive level.
Work across departments — from product to marketing, sales, IT, finance, and operations — to determine what resources you have available to direct toward the growth of your partners and program. Target audiences, messaging, content utilization, and data tracking aren’t limited to a single team. Cross-departmental collaboration means more hands on deck and paves the path toward achieving common goals.
As you identify which existing channels are ready to scale, for instance, see if there are any gaps in your partner management team. Are there any roles that need to be filled to accommodate forthcoming growth? Staffing needs should reflect your strategic business goals and can be a good opportunity to better align departments.
As you open new positions, consider how the role could act as a bridge between teams. As an example, partner marketing, partner account management, and partner development positions all lend themselves well to supporting channel partners while also working closely with sales representatives or marketing associates.
Create and Communicate Goals with Existing Partners
As you start planning out your 2023 goals and plans to scale, make sure your existing partners are kept in the loop.
‘Increasing revenue,’ ‘breaking into new markets,’ or ‘gaining wider brand recognition’ may be the ultimate aim this year, but it’s vital to communicate specifics with your partners.
- Create SMART goals, such as the exact number of prospects or customers you’re aiming for in a specific timeframe, to keep everyone accountable and on track.
- Ensure your goals are aligned, so partners know what exactly they’re striving to accomplish and when – and how it benefits them. Successful partnerships are a give and take where both parties come out ahead.
- Make sure partners know about the rewards and incentives you offer to achieve those goals. That could be anything from a SPIFF program with monetary rewards to Market Development Funds (MDFs) that provide dollars for trade shows, ads, and other marketing activities.
- Track progress towards these goals by having a solid reporting system in place early on. Use your PRM to keep track of metrics and KPIs aligned with these goals so everyone is on the same page right from the start.
Equip Partners with the Tools They Need
Your PRM isn’t just for tracking goals, of course. It’s a powerful tool to equip your partners with everything they need to best market your business.
As you head into the new year, make sure the material and content you’re providing your partners is still relevant and timely.
- Conduct an end-of-year portal audit that looks at your portal and identifies areas that need to be cleaned up. Does your co-branded content need to be refreshed? Do your existing training materials include all updates from the past year?
- Take some time for (virtual) face-to-face meetings with your partner’s sales reps and customer-facing team members to get their feedback and learn if there are any areas where they need more support. This will help ensure they’re effectively communicating the value of your offerings over the coming year.
- Think also about the information your partners need to sell successfully. Provide data relevant to your partner’s target audience, including your organization’s sales wins and challenges, customer demographics, and how well your company is meeting its goals
Measure Success with your PRM Software
While you’re reviewing your partner portal, dig into success metrics as well. Knowing exactly what’s working and which areas need improvement are foundational to tweaking your channel strategy for the new year. Use your PRM to set and analyze checkpoints and adjust strategy and goals as needed.
Metrics to gauge success often center around revenue, profitability and opportunity (such as number of leads, lead value and closed versus generated leads). Running reports on these areas and using the data as a benchmark is a must. But don’t forget to also dig into what’s working on the partner side. Are your partners engaging with your content? Are they logging into your portal and completing training? Which partners are driving the most opportunities?
As you scale your channel sales, make sure you’re taking full advantage of all the features your PRM offers.
When you set partnership tiers, for example, utilize automation to move partners up to the next level as they complete milestones. Use partner journey automation for trigger-based notifications based on specific actions to nudge your partners along the right path.
Using your PRM effectively will engage partners, help incentivize customers and give you an overview of how your channels are scaling throughout the coming year.
Smashing 2023 Channel Growth Goals
For more insight into growing your channel sales program, incentivizing partners and tracking success in 2023, check out the following resources.
- Automate, Scale, Integrate – PRM System Criteria – Strong partner relationships and an engaging channel experience lead to long-term success. Learn how to leverage your partner portal to build a stronger program.
- Advanced Channel Growth Strategies Based On Current Milestones – 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.
- Adding Partner Types to Your Channel Sales Program – How do you figure out who else you need in your partnership community and how do you bring them into the fold? Here’s how to start adding different types of partners and the next steps as you scale.
- 16 Partner Program KPIs to Measure Channel Performance – These KPIs can guide you to successfully managing the complex web of partner relationships that make up a channel program as well as measure your return on investment.