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8 ways to sign more partners to your partner program

Partner recruitment can be tough: you’re ready and raring to get things up and running, and no ones turned up yet. It’s the nervous anticipation of seeing if your friends come to your birthday party all over again. What you need to do is make your partner program the best damn party on the block, so that there’s no question as to whether people will show up or not. So, let’s talk through how to guarantees your potential partners will want to join your program.
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1. Approach your potential partnership with the right attitude

We’ve said previously that the best partnerships are treated more like a marriage, not a fling. After all, the best partnerships are real, long-term relationships that drive mutual value and revenue.

The outreach stage is like asking your potential partner out on a date; you want to come across casual, but get your points across. Be genuine and make an effort – this will get you a long way in the partnership world. 

Think more ‘asking them out over coffee’, rather than ‘hiring a brass band to storm their office’. You don’t have to do a lot to get someone’s attention, it just has to be the right approach for them. 

Don’t make it weird, make it personal.

2. How you introduce yourself to potential partners

Firstly, consider how you’re saying hello to your potential partner. And no, I don’t mean how whether you say hi or try to be edgy with a ‘howdy.’ (Hi is fine, btw.)

Are you reaching out via email? Or LinkedIn INmail? Consider why you’re choosing the method you have, and whether it’s best suited to them. Are they going to be in the right mindset when they see your message, or are they going to be on a notification-clearing mission? 

Do you have a mutual contact that could introduce you? It’s important to quickly build trust, and there’s nothing more trustworthy than a recommendation. 

Different outreach methods will resonate with different partner types, so be sure to mix up your approach depending on where you think they may be most active. 

Do you have a mutual contact that could introduce you? It’s important to quickly build trust, and there’s nothing more trustworthy than a recommendation. 

3. Make your intentions to potential partners clear

New partners are going to be asking one question: what’s in it for me? So, make the value you bring to table clear from the start. They’re not going to ask 20 questions to discover the good bits. 

Structure your outreach in a way that showcases what you have to offer, and the benefits partnering with you would bring them. But centre the conversation around them, rather than yourself. Potential partners need to feel special and know you’ve selected them for a reason. 

Being direct will get you a long way. Be sure to include a brief overview of who you are, the benefits for them, the benefit that your potential partnership would bring to their end users, and a clear call-to-action of what you want them to do next. 

4. Explain why you want to partner with them

Everyone knows personalization works, so everyone tries to do it. The problem is, everyone does it in the same way, and so things don’t feel personal anymore. 

You know what I mean: those squiggly brackets and “receipent’s first name here” boxes. That’s not personal, that’s auto-fill. 

Go further than lazy personalization. Talk about why you want to partner with them specifically and provide a snippet of info that shows you’ve done your research. This might take longer, but you’re better off sending 50 high-quality emails than 100 poor ones. 

Making a small effort now will start things off on the right foot and show that you’re dedicated to providing a quality partner experience.

5. Create a good first impression with a kick-ass partner program page

They’re human, and inevitably make a snap judgment based on appearances. Make sure your partner page is clear, concise, and gives them a taste of what’s to come. 

On the other hand, if you take ages to reply, your page doesn’t load properly, and there’s errors on your socials, they’re going to run away screaming.

Take a look at what makes a good partner page here. See how other partnership programs are positioning themselves and take note of what you think is successful and what’s not.

 Some quick tips are:

  • Be clear on who your program is for, how it works, and why partners would want to sign up so that you can attract the right type of partnerships
  • But also don’t dump loads of information on them, be concise
  • Talk to them directly with use of “you” and “your”
  • Include social proof and strong CTA to incentivize action

Also, make sure you’ve got a solid plan in place for if they bite. Don’t wait for a partner to come back with a ‘yes’ to start thinking about the next stages, because any delays could mean you lose them. 

Think about your partner journey, get the right assets in place, and show that you’re running a well-oiled machine (even if you are winging it a bit.)

6. Have a compelling offer and follow up with your potential partners

What you’re offering to your potential partners matters. This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at the partnership deals that actually aren’t that attractive. 

So, the offer itself needs to be valuable. Whether it’s around content collaboration, webinars, referral schemes, or something else, make sure you showcase to your potential partner how things can last for longer than just a few months.

In addition, be sure you follow up your partnership outreach. Maybe you caught them at a bad time, or maybe they simply missed it. 

The chances of you being successful from the first attempt is not that likely, so it’s best to find a way to showcase your dedication without becoming a stalker.

How many times can you follow up without things getting weird? Anywhere between 3-5 emails is a good number. You should adapt things depending on whether they’ve shown any interest or completely ghosted you. Make sure you leave at least 3 days between each outreach effort too! 

7. Track and adjust based on feedback

Once you’ve sent out your initial outreach efforts and have had some nibbles (or not), take a look at what has and hasn’t worked, and make adjustments. Your first pass at things won’t be perfect, and that’s expected, but the best partnerships are those who constantly evolve their offering based on feedback.

When you’ve recruited enough partners to grow a healthy partner program, make sure you switch your focus to be on creating a great partner experience. 

If you’d like to learn more about why it matters and how to achieve it, see why the partner ecosystem is such an important part of GTM strategy.

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