BlogPartner Engagement

The first date: how to make partners fall head over heels for you

6 min read By January 24, 2022 May 23rd, 2022 No Comments

It’s recruitment time baby! You’ve done your due diligence and defined your partner program. You’ve set objectives and expectations. Now it’s time for the big date. But with an overflowing partner market, how will you stand out as The One? Our golden rule: always put partners first.

In this post, we will be looking at the different types of partners out there. Explain how to get attention from potential partners. And give you 5 tips to make your partners love you. Missed our previous post discussing why partnerships are so important and how to make yourself available on the dating market? Head over there now!

Defining your partner type in the trifurcated channel

Meet your 3 eligible bachelors

Traditionally, the channel has always been synonymous with transactional partners like “resellers”. Transactional partners that buy your products, add their own services, and ship them to end-users. But over the past few years, we’ve been seeing an increase in non-transactional partners that operate before and after a sale. Who are you looking to attract?

Influence partners

Just like in any romantic relationship, in business, most of us like to be introduced instead of meeting strangers. Did you know that 91% of B2B purchases are influenced by word of mouth? Recommendations and referrals are paramount. And there are partners to help you do it.

Influence partners range from ambassadors to referral agents, affiliates, and advocates. They promote your products or services through social media, recommend your brand during conversations, and refer to your portfolio whenever they can.

Transactional partners

Your bread and butter partners. These partners sell and distribute your products and services. They know your portfolio inside out and should be able to find a solution to any end-user need.

The shift we are seeing with our customers is the recruitment of (unnamed) long-tail partners into partner programs. Allowing the entire channel to profit from channel marketing budgets, high-quality marketing campaigns, and social selling. And vendors get valuable and actionable insights into their partners and end-users.

Retention partners

Does your product or service run on a subscription-based model? Then you will need to win your end-user each renewal cycle. But even if you don’t work based on subscriptions, every business needs some form of recurring revenue. The partners that help you retain these customers are indispensable to your business.

They range from partners that offer installation and integration services to maintenance and warranty services. But don’t forget those offering add-ons and cross-selling opportunities. Is your product complicated or somewhat difficult to use? Have partners offer product training, onboarding, and refresher courses. Are there ways to boost your product with another of your products, have your partners explain. And are there ways to package your products together with other brands (for instance hardware and software), let your partners do the talking.

Getting their attention

In our previous post, we talked about what you need to consider before even thinking about partner recruitment. What’s in it for them? Now it’s time to start thinking about why partners would choose you. What sets you apart from the competition?

Be a leader

Position yourself as an industry leader. Make sure your brand is well-represented in industry publications, on social media, and owned media. Publish regular blog posts. Host or be invited on podcasts. And do this in the spaces where your partners hang out. Getting to the first date/recruitment starts with getting the attention of your desired partners.

Work with distributors

Distributors can act as valuable go-betweens for vendors and partners. There’s no better contact than a warm one, and an introduction from a trusted distributor will get you further than a hundred cold calls.

Differentiate with your value proposition

Let’s not beat around the bush. When choosing one vendor over another, the bottom line ususally plays a big part. But if there are added perks to working with you over another, this can make all the difference. Forget incentives. Consider what partner support you can offer to truly add value. This can include proactive co-marketing, training, and co-selling.

Getting ready for your date

You’ve identified some key players that are interested in joining your program and you’re getting ready to introduce yourself. How will you present yourself? We all want to show the best version of ourselves, but be mindful that you’ll want to be realistic about what you can offer and expect in return. Have a plan ready, make it clear, keep it simple.

5 Proven ways to make your partners fall in love with you

  • Make sure your channel partner program is clear, cohesive, and simple
  • Collect or produce everything you need to tell your brand story: Your company story, case studies, whitepapers, and testimonials from other partners
  • Offer webinars to explain your partner program and value proposition
  • Have examples of your social-selling content ready, partners love to know what it is exactly that they’re signing up for
  • Be generous, offer to pursue warm leads together to get their foot in the door

Curb your enthusiasm

Partner recruitment is less like Tinder and more like a 19th-century love story. You don’t want to be swiping right on every potential bachelor out there. Instead, take the time to gather the right metrics about your potential candidates. If you’re confident about your product positioning, you can afford to be selective. Remember, long-term partnerships will prove stronger than fleeting collaborations. When in doubt, consult the data!

Date recap

In this post, we looked at

3 types of partnerships: Which partnerships are most interesting to your business depends on what you expect from them. The channel will be split in three including Influencers, Transactional, and Referral partners.

How to get attention: Differentiate yourself from your competitors. Show up where your partners are, have a strong voice, work with distributors to get a warm introduction and add value.

Make them fall for you: Ensure your plan is clear, consistent, and concise. Be prepared for questions. Be able to talk about your brand and your expectations, but more importantly, be sure what you can offer them!

In our next blog, we’ll be moving on to the next step in your relationship, falling madly in love and ultimately, getting engaged.

part 1: The importance of partnerships, why every day should feel like Valentine’s Day

part 2: The first date: how to make partners fall head over heels for you

part 3: The engagement: training and onboarding your partners

part 4: Marriage: introducing the partner engagement gap

part 5: Growing the family: building a strong partner community

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Cassandra Pizzey

Cassandra Pizzey

A Channexteer since 2021, Cassandra has been copywriting for the past 10-years, broadening her horizon as content marketer since entering the B2B SaaS industry. Connect with Cassandra on LinkedIn for more.

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