The Value of a Strong Partner Journey: The Roadmap to Channel Champion
What is the Value of a Partner Journey?
"When I think about a partner journey, it always starts with that initial experience that a partner has with you, your organization, your partner channel, the materials you have.
And I’ve been really explicit that I think you need to have things like a 30-, 60-, 90-day plan. You need to have a checklist that your partners can follow. You need to have an understanding of what it is you want them to do and how they need to become confident in your products and services.
You need to make sure that that’s very consistent across different partner types, different business units, even different geographies. So that if you have a person joining a partnership in London and you have the same partner in your program in the United States, it should feel the same, right?
So I’m going to assume that most partner leaders out there at least have an idea of what partner onboarding should look like, and it’s a somewhat templatized or repeatable process. And even for me, it’s never done, there’s always improvement, but I at least have it written down."
- DAN O’LEARY - Box, on The Partner Channel Podcast
An externally-facing partner journey is valuable for defining the process companies take when collaborating with your organization. By creating a partner journey, you can set expectations up-front for time commitments, specific responsibilities, and what they’ll get in return.
Internally, a defined journey helps your team understand the timeline for working with an organization and serves as a checklist for tasks to complete. It can be challenging for internal employees not on the partner team to understand how long it takes to drive revenue through the channel. A journey helps set accurate expectations and hold various stakeholders accountable.
With an established journey, both your internal team and stakeholders on your partner’s team know what they need to do to continue making progress.
What is a Standard Partner Journey?
Traditionally, a partner journey will span seven stages:
- Welcome & Introduction
- Partner Closed & Onboarding
- Training & Enablement
- Prospecting & Promotion
- Deal Registration
- Closing Deals
- Advance Through Partner Tiers
Explore what happens in each stage, along with the top Allbound tools that can improve your efforts below.
Your specific partner journey may differ slightly. For example, you may not have partner tiers established or may separate your training and enablement phases. Additionally, you may have different partner journeys for various types — tech partners will follow a different path than your referral partners. However, this can serve as a base for developing your own journey.
Welcome & Introduction to the PRM/Internal Tools
During this stage, you’re conducting introductions between your teams and showcasing the internal tools your partner will leverage when working with you.
While this may seem like the least important phase, it’s actually a critical step toward a fruitful partnership. Here, you should prioritize setting accurate expectations and establishing responsibilities for each site.
Partner Journey Automation is a valuable tool to leverage. From day one, throughout their entire journey with your business, set up automated workflows to engage your partner by sharing onboarding and continuing education opportunities, guiding next steps, reminding partners to take specific actions, and more.
Pro Tip: You can customize your automated flows to skip communications basedon if a partner has already completed a step. Similarly, partners can receive personalized communications when you have a special tier or otherwise unique partners.
Partner Closed & Onboarding
Next, you’ll collect contract signatures and begin onboarding your partner. During this phase, you should help your partner use your PRM and any other tools they’ll need when working with your organization.
Two features that are particularly useful here are Learning Tracks and User Groups. With Allbound Learning Tracks, you can get up educational courses and assets within your Allbound portal from getting started, to registering deals, to product education, and so on. This will set your partners up for success from day one.
Meanwhile, Allbound User Groups help guide the partner experience from onboarding through the rest of their journey by ensuring partners get custom resources and communications designed exactly for their type.
Pro Tip: Group partners by completion stages within their partner journey, starting from the onboarding stage.
Training & Enablement
This is another very important stage. Here, you’ll get your partner all set up for long-term success as part of your channel. Leverage training resources within your PRM, including various mediums — video, text-based, quizzes, and more — to fully train and enable your partner.
Allbound Learning Tracks are useful not only during onboarding, but throughout the entire journey with your business. Creating certification programs that engage your partner regularly can ensure they stay up to date on product knowledge, pricing, new tools available, changes in commission, and more.
Pro Tip: Include learning track completion as a requirement for advancing partner tiers.
Creating Playbooks in Allbound provides your partners with aggregated and curated content collections to help guide them in specific use cases, like sales and implementation calls.
Pro Tip: Feature playbooks on your dashboard for visibility and encourage partners to pin playbooks to their dashboard for convenience. You can also suggest playbooks at key points in deals with Sales Coach. Not only can your team create suggested playbooks, but your partners can create their own playbooks from content in the portal that performs best for them.
Prospecting & Promotion
Finally, it’s time to start marketing and selling. During this stage, your partner will leverage all of the expertise they gained during onboarding, training, and enablement to begin driving results. With strong resources developed by your team, this phase will be a breeze for new partners.
Allbound Prospect Pages allow your partners to quickly share resources and content from the portal with any prospect, helping your partners sell more with ease.
Pro Tip: If you update any content or pricing changes, no update needs to be communicated with your prospect. The updated information from the portal will pull right into your customized landing page (or prospect page).
When everything goes right in the prospecting and promotion phase, your partner will begin registering deals within your PRM. Here, it’s time to enable them with additional resources so they can advance to the next stage.
Pro Tip: If you’re using Allbound Partner Journey Automation, be sure to turn off your
default notifications to protect your partner’s inbox by only notifying them one time per deal.
With excellent sales resources and support from your team, your partner will go from registering to closing deals and driving revenue for your organization. Learn from what goes right (and what doesn’t) in each sales cycle to improve your future efforts.
Your partner has closed a deal, that’s exciting! Why not celebrate? Recognize their performance by sending automated congratulatory notes to them. Consider automatically sending deal notifications to Slack to quickly thank and delight your partner!
Pro Tip: Use Gamification or MDF to reward your partners and create some
Advance Through Partner Tiers
From here on out, your partner will continue cycling through the partner journey, moving through Prospecting & Promotion to Deal Registration to Closing Deals continuously.
As your partners continue to succeed, they’ll be able to advance in your program. Through powerful resources and thoughtful engagement, you can support your partners in leveling up through your partner tiers. Create customized partner journeys per tier and track your partner’s progress using Allbound’s Partner Plan.
Partner Journey Pro Tip: For lower tiers, include specific criteria, like training and sales goals, in
your plan to help them advance.
Create a Plan Driven by Your Partner Journey
With your partner journey in place, you can develop a plan to help your channel succeed. Knowing that your partners always have to complete onboarding, you can systemize the initial process of introducing them to your PRM, getting their account set up, and training them on how to use the platform.
Similarly, you can streamline training and enablement by developing courses within your partner portal tailored to each type. You can build an automation to send out a reminder for completion any time a partner’s progress stalls for a set amount of time. This is invaluable for keeping your partner engaged and progressing, without requiring immense effort from your team.
Perhaps most impactful for your channel, you can automate the distribution of relevant resources based on the journey stage your partner is in. For example, when partners are just getting started with prospecting and promotion, you can leverage automation to distribute leads, share tactical co-marketing assets, and co-brand materials. Meanwhile, once a partner registers a deal, you can automatically share middle- and bottom-of-funnel resources they can leverage to push the deal to close.
Partner Journey Pro Tip: Leveraging your partner journey can help you build a tactical plan
designed to drive results for your organization.
See the Results – Deals, Deals, Deals
With your partner journey in place and automation established in your PRM, you can significantly reduce the time from partner onboarding to closed deals.
By establishing a predictable path, you’ll know exactly which resources to deploy when and you can identify areas of friction where your team needs to step in to provide additional support.
Leverage Partner Journey Automation to Streamline Engagement
Partner Journey Automation can help you streamline engagement across all seven phases of your roadmap. From the first introduction to advancing through your tiers, you can nurture partners to take the next step. Tools like Learning Tracks, Prospect Pages, and more can further enhance your efforts, helping partners move forward faster.
Discover how Partner Journey Automation through Allbound can take your program to the next level.