Partnerships are critical source of revenue for many businesses as they offer an opportunity to amplify sales and sell to customer segments that might be otherwise difficult to reach. A strong partner program can help maximize these relationships. Here are some insights to consider when building your partnership programs:
While you may not be working directly with your partners’ customers, you still need to listen to the customer voice. This is especially important if you have no other access to the specific customer segment. Access to customer feedback helps fuel product improvements, provide better customer support, and develop a strong understanding of industry trends. You can achieve this by scheduling joint sales calls with your partners or attending the conferences and seminars these customers are likely to also attend.
In addition, your partners need instant access to the right content to effectively sell your products. Whether it is product updates, sales best practices, or technical support your partners need simple access to your latest knowledge. If PowerPoint slides are an effective tool in the sales process, consider a slide library or slide management solution that automatically ensures that all parties have easy access to the latest slides. While SharePoint was used in the past, Microsoft deprecated the slide library feature – you’ll need to find an alternative solution.
Measure and train
To improve the performance of your partner network, you’ll have to first actively collect data around specific metrics. Some key metrics you’ll want to include are:
- How many deals does the partner close? How is it trending over time?
- How long does it take to close deals?
- What percent of leads are they closing?
- What products are they selling? What is your profitability for these products?
- What types of customers are you partners reaching? Are they strategic or customers you can’t easily reach?
- What are the customer satisfaction ratings?
Once you have performance data at hand you can start designing the appropriate training programs. Key questions to consider when developing these programs include:
- Do they have access to the latest content? This could be slides, case-studies, or white-papers
- What form of training session is most effective with the particular partner? In person, webinar, etc.
- What rules can you put in place to motivate under-performing partners?
- Are partners incentivized to sell the specific (high-margin) products you want them to sell?