After saying a beautiful ‘I do’ in front of your friends and family, you have been pronounced vendor and partner. You had a dreamy honeymoon. But when you returned to reality, the cracks started emerging. Lately, you’ve noticed your partners have been engaging with you less and less. Is someone else on their mind? How will you re-win their affection? And ultimately bridge that partner engagement gap?
4 Ingredients to a long and happy marriage
We all want our partner relationships to last. That’s why we have distilled the four main ingredients for a successful, long, and happy marriage.
Open communication: as the saying goes ‘to assume makes an ass out of you and me’. Disappointing returns from your partner will inevitably make you jump to conclusions. They don’t love me anymore. They’re cheating on me. But have you actually asked them? Chances are something much less severe is going on and they just need a helping hand.
Attention: your relationship with your partner has always been so natural. You would both show up for each other no matter what. Lately, they have been distant. Have you considered how your partners feel? When’s the last time you called? What’s stopping you from picking up the phone right now, asking them what they need? And above all, how you can help.
Freedom: At the beginning of your relationship you wanted to spend all your time together. Over the past months, your interactions have become few and far between. Don’t worry about your partners signing up for other vendor programs. You have more than one partner, they have more than one vendor. But make sure you’re delivering on added value or you may lose them.
Common goals: Remember why you wanted to work together in the first place? Look back at your original goals. Did you want to scale up your partner program, expand into new territories, and launch into new segments? If you’ve smashed these goals, celebrate with your partners. Be sure to have regular check-ins. And adjust your goals if you need to.
The partner engagement gap
The honeymoon period is well and truly over. After being together for a while, the flame isn’t shining quite as bright. You’re both out there doing your own thing. Ignoring each other’s needs and expecting things to just happen like they always have. You’ve even started sleeping on opposite sides of the bed. And the worst part? You’ve noticed your partners’ wandering eyes. Shiny new competitors have been popping up. It’s time for action.
Why bridging the partner engagement gap matters
Take a chair. No seriously. You’ll want to be sitting down to hear this.
“Each year, on average 1 in 4 channel partners drops out of the B2B channel.”
That’s a churn of 25%!
This can include partners that just aren’t making the sales, but also active partners that have slowly started to drop off. You’re probably continuously recruiting new partners. But with these numbers, it’s like trying to fill a leaky bucket. Hopeless, frustrating, and leaving you with soggy socks.
How to recognize the churn
Once a partner has churned, it’s too late. You’ll need to start recognizing what partners are doing before they churn. So what are some of the signs?
- Less frequent engagement with your brand through marketing campaigns
- An increase in posts about competitors
- You’re no longer featured on their homepage
- Shrinking revenue
- Information and campaigns are not up to date
So you want to bridge the partner engagement gap. Forget roses, diamond bracelets, and even expensive couples therapy. You need to take action now. Here’s how.
Put customer success first: In SaaS companies, the customer is everyone’s main focus. At least, they are here at Channext! We have a dedicated Customer Success team and a dedicated Partner Success team. But that’s not all.
Everyone in the company is encouraged to talk to customers. We are in constant communication with our customers. We know when they are happy. And when we need to step it up.
Focus on retention: Of course you are continuously recruiting new partners. But you should always keep a threshold in mind. If you have 1 channel manager for 2000 partners, it’s simply impossible to give your partners the attention they need and deserve.
Make sure you are servicing the partners you have before putting your energy into new partners.
Co-marketing & Co-selling: As the saying goes, ‘two is better than one’. Have you considered bundling your strengths with those of your partners? Do you have complementary solutions? Why not offer them as a package deal? It will increase both brands.
We wrote an entire blog post highlighting the advantages of alliance partners.
In this article, we focused on how to keep your marriage with partners happy, long-lasting, and successful.
We looked at the 4 ingredients to keep your marriage strong, including communication, attention, freedom, and common goals.
If your marriage isn’t going smoothly, we talk of the partner engagement gap, and how to recognize this to keep your partners from churning.
Last but not least we looked at the bridges you can build to close that partner engagement gap. Looking at the way SaaS companies work, focusing on the partners you have, and building alliances with your partners.
Next time, we will be looking at growing the family. Because in time, your marriages should turn into a full-blown community.