Three Keys to Partner Engagement

I was recently asked by a new customer if we had any documentation or training materials for partners that would get them more engaged and keep their new Partner Portal top of mind.

I thought about it, and responded, “No,” not because Channeltivity doesn’t have documentation and training materials—we do. I answered “no” because I don’t believe partners are engaged by documentation and training materials.

Create a High Touch On-boarding Process

Real loyalty and engagement is created through interaction and incentives. We all know what it feels like to make a buying decision or sign up for something and then feel a drop in the attention we get from the seller. It doesn’t engender a productive relationship, and it’s no different for partners.

Instead of burying partners in materials, I would suggest you up the attention 200% immediately after signing a new partner. Show them you have a guided process for on-boarding. Spend time familiarizing them with the partner portal. No amount of great content, videos, etc. will cause a partner to onboard themselves.

Remember these three keys to successful on-boarding:

  1. Schedule a web-based training to familiarize the partner with the portal, its navigation and resources. Show them processes supported such as Lead Distribution, Deal Registration and Market Development Fund requests.  Make this a train-the-trainer session. Record it and put it in your Resource Library for their future reference.
  1. Don’t do one-on-one training. It’s not cost effective. Onboard a block of no more than 7 to 10 partners at a time.  This does two things: First, it shows your partners that they are part of a growing program. Second, 7 to 10 is a manageable group that can have good interaction and high quality Q & A.
  1. Share relevant, meaningful and timely content. Once your partner is on board, they need a reason to interact with your portal. Lead Distribution, Deal Registration and Market Development Fund requests are obvious interaction points, but you can provide incentives earlier in the sales process.  By sharing content that helps partners better understand your product and how it can serve their customers, you give them a good reason to return to the portal often.

Now that you’ve got these partners successfully selling for your company, how do you continue to grow your sales without creating channel conflict? In our next blog post, we’ll share tips on how to expand without cannibalizing your sales.