Over the years I have read/created/responded to 100s of PRM RFPs. I have seen every requirement and some pretty crazy partner program requests. Just like with our children, we often want to give our partners everything under the sun. We want to provide partners the most qualified leads, the best marketing programs, the easiest systems to use, the highest compensation, and elite support.
Unfortunately–and I learned this the hard way–it is nearly impossible to accomplish everything on the ideal program wish list from day one.
Throughout the years there was one common thread that was woven through all the successful partner programs, regardless of their size. That thread was follow through. Effective programs started with the things they could commit to and execute with their partners. These channel leaders didn’t over promise; they knew their aspirations and their limits and balanced them both.
Efficient partner programs take a crawl, walk, run approach, making sure each phase is executed before moving forward. I know we all want to run, and our partners do too, but running too soon leads to non-existent marketing programs, lead programs with no leads, MDF with no funds, content misses, and poor onboarding. These things lead to dissatisfied partners and an underperforming channel program.
Start with the program elements that will give your partners the biggest bang.
Focus on the features that will have the most positive impact on the partner’s engagement with you. Consider centralizing the partner’s experience with a partner portal, providing the right content, and giving them visibility to their leads and opportunities.
Partners want to know what you really have to offer today, not what you hope to offer in the future.
Having a partner program vision is a good thing, but be careful sharing those things with your partners prematurely. They will get frustrated if you do not deliver. You will get there in time by following your plan and achieving your goals, just don’t try boiling they hypothetical channel ocean on day one.