How to increase partner engagement?

8 min read By May 23, 2022 June 15th, 2022 No Comments

The greatest wealth is health

As humans, social interaction is essential to every aspect of our health. Over the years, research has shown that having a strong network of support and being part of a community fosters both emotional and physical health.

Guess what? Your channel health also depends on social involvement. In order to keep your partners engaged, you need to foster the relationships you have. And as it grows, you’ll find out that relationships become increasingly important. You know the saying… One interaction a day keeps the bankruptcy away!

A baby surrounded by toysThe birth of a channel

From the moment we are born, we seek human touch. Skin-to-skin contact comforts babies and stimulates their brains. As we grow up, trusting others is essential to achieve our dreams. In our professional life, the importance of social interaction remains.

A channel grows, like a child, when nurtured by human relationships. We need to see each other to feel empathy and trust. If you build a true relationship with your partners, help them and often check how they’re doing, they’ll be so motivated that they won’t want to disappoint you.

You build lasting relationships by:

  • Having a partner experience designed for partners

Channel partners are here to win, with or without you. You need to put partner experience first or you’ll risk seeing them running to competition. Giving partners a great experience means they’ll do the same for end-users. We see it time and again, the more you help, the higher the engagement. Partners lack time and resources to do marketing, so you need to help them. By helping, we mainly mean : create awesome content and make it easy to distribute. How? 1 word, 4 syllables. AU-TO-MA-TION.

  • Having a great and fun onboarding in place

Your partners are busy. Onboarding must be quick! But what will it look like? Individual sessions, webinars, or automated? It depends on how many partners you have. Webinars could work. But they can be tricky regarding timezones and availability. Pre-recorded webinars can tackle this. But they must come with support. Automated onboardings? Your partners onboard themselves with wizards and videos. It’s efficient, but a bit less personal. No matter what you choose, remember: Keep it easy and fun! Think progress bars, tick off lists and confetti burst when the onboarding is finished.

  • Giving continuous training

You want knowledgeable partners to chat with your end-users. And for that, they’ll need training. But if you want your partners to spend time learning about your portfolio, you’ll need to be smart about it. Nobody reads manuals cover to cover. That includes your partners. Instead, think about how your solutions help the end-users. Another thing. Your partners aren’t superheroes. They won’t be able to take everything in. Which is why giving them the possibility to personalize content so that they can talk about products and services within their field of expertise only is doing them a solid.

Work, sleep, repeat…

7 AM. The alarm clock rings. You get dressed, brush your teeth, and get to work. Just like yesterday and the day before that. Business as usual. It’s time to spice it up or the daily grind will drive you crazy.

Innovation happens at the intersections. You need human interaction to be creative! Get in a room with your partners and come up with new strategies or co-marketing campaigns. Blue-sky thinking is a game made for two – at least.

Regular contact will also prevent some awkward situations. So much gets lost in translation. Think about how often you wrongly interpreted an email or text message. Sure, you know your partners for a long time now so it doesn’t happen that much anymore. But, be careful. Miscommunication can mean the end of a partnership. Never assume. Get in touch and ask!

Keep the working partnership fresh by:

  • Innovating together through co-marketing

According to a recent study about partner marketing, content is important for 75% of partners. Have you ever considered involving them more in the content creation process? Or offering them package deals from your collaboration with other vendors? Shaking things up by creating with other players in the channel is a win-win opportunity. You’ll expand your reach and improve the quality of your content.

  • Talking, always

Resist the urge to push hundreds of impersonal emails to your partners. They are human. Which is why you should talk to them as such. You’ll only grasp what matters to them by engaging in actual conversations. Complicated when you have many partners? Sure. But it’s worth it. You’ll find out more about the relationships between your partners and end-users, for instance. And from this point on, helping your partners reach out to end-users more efficiently should become easy peasy.

  • Asking questions and feedback

How do your partners feel about your content? About your performance as a vendor? The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric based on one simple question: “How likely are you to recommend this business to a friend or colleague?”. It’s used across a range of industries to measure customer satisfaction. Sending a questionnaire like that once in a while could let you know how partners value your activities and initiatives and create valuable feedback for you to improve your channel strategy and execution.

Children playing on a swing setGrowing old together? 

Social interaction becomes more complicated as we age. When you’re young, meeting new people and building relationships is super easy! You’re going to class and partying like it’s 1999. But as you grow old, your social life tends to shrink.

As a business, the more you grow, the harder it is to stay in touch with your partners. And yet, that’s when you want the most to remain close to your partners. The bigger your company is, the more your brand identity could dilute. Especially if you expand to new territories. You have so many partners from so many horizons that it is nearly impossible to find common ground and give the best experience to each of them. You’ll need to be creative and innovate to maintain good channel partnerships.

Having solid partnerships is how you make sure to remain healthy as a business in the long run. All in all, we must accept that we need each other. Whether it’s in our personal or professional life. That’s just part of being humans.

Keep healthy together by:

  • Creating a community that can help each other

Being part of a community very simply means having interests in common. Which is exactly what you share with your partners. Owning your own community is always great. It gives you control on what gets shared and how. You can easily spread news and be sure that your partners get the information from a reliable source. It also facilitates collaboration between your partners. Not only will they want to discuss with you, but also among each other. A community needs to go both-ways. Involve representatives from your organization alongside distributors, managed and unmanaged partners.

  • Lift your partners to the highest level

All partners are different. Some just joined you, others have been here since the beginning. But one thing is sure, they all want to reach the highest level possible. And it’s your job to help them do just that. Think about how you can help them grow their business. If it’s a recent partnership you might need to help your new champion to get familiar with your portfolio. On the other hand, if you’ve been working together for years, it might be time to freshen up and provide a new kind of content. Adapting to your partners’ needs is the only way to bring each of them to the top.

  • Be visible

B2B is such a competitive field that you’ll need to make efforts to stand out. How? Keep coming up with campaigns. Don’t expect your partners to come to you. Go get them. Automatically distribute social posts on their channels and push content to their website. Invade LinkedIn and Facebook with ads. In other words : make sure your brand is everywhere and that your partners see YOU.

The greatest wealth is health

Now we’ve seen how to build lasting relationships in the channel. How to keep those relationships fresh and healthy. And how ultimately, you can grow old together happily.

It’s so easy to hide behind our screens instead of putting ourselves out there in this digital age. Yet, you’ll see that human interaction is what makes the difference when it comes to the success of your channel. There are solutions to help you focus on the human side of your business.

Audrey Senecal

Audrey Senecal

Audrey is a Content Writer at Channext. She started out as Customer Success Manager before switching to content. Channel intelligence, partner engagement and marketing are her favorite topics. Ideas about what you want to read next? Connect on LinkedIn.

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