At some point in your career, you’ve probably stumbled across a channel partner that fully engaged with your partner portal, liked all your LinkedIn posts, participated in webinars, and referred you to your best clients.
Dream partner, right?
For many partnerships leaders, finding a partner like that only happens once in a blue moon. But what if you could reel in excellent partners consistently?
With a personalized, well-thought-out partner marketing strategy, it’s possible to regularly sign partners that beef up your brand recognition, clout, and your lead list.
But building a robust partner acquisition and retention strategy is only feasible when you understand who your high ROI partners are and what they need from you. In other words, you need to create an ideal partner profile.
So in this piece, we’ll explain what an ideal partner profile is, why it’s important, and how to build one from the ground up.
Similar to an ideal customer profile, an ideal partner profile (IPP) is a detailed description of a partner that would benefit most from participating in your partner program. Attributes of your ideal partner could range from the size of their company to the industry they play in, to the types of customers they serve. Ideal partner profiles should act as an anchor for your partner program, helping inform and shape how your program should look in its future state.
Fully understanding your ideal partners means that you can tailor your pitches, partner portal, and joint go-to-market plans in a way that’s specifically attractive to partners who will be the best bang for your buck.
Overall, nailing your ideal partner profile can result in:
- Greater partner portal engagement
- More sales-qualified leads
- Increased online presence through joint thought leadership
- Improved internal collaboration among partnerships, sales, and marketing teams
- Higher partner loyalty
- Less wasted time (on new portal features, poorly planned comarketing campaigns, etc.)
Now that you know what you can expect from generating a strong IPP, it’s time to build one yourself. Below, we outline six steps to creating an ideal partner profile.
1. Refamiliarize yourself with your goals – Before you start getting into the nitty-gritty details of what makes a great partner, take a step back and review your program goals. Are you looking for more exposure, more partner-driven ARR, or both? What current partners are pushing you towards those goals? If none are moving the needle, think about what types of partners could. Keep returning to your goals as you construct your IPP to ensure you’re on track.
2. Examine the data you already have – Diving deep into your data comes next. Identify the partners who’ve given the most lucrative referrals and participated in the most comarketing campaigns first. Then, look for patterns by asking questions like:
- Where are they headquartered?
- Are they a B2B or B2C-driven business?
- How big are they?
- What is the job function of your main point of contact?
- Before joining your program, how much do these contacts know about your product or service?
- What other partner programs are they a part of?
3. Analyze your competitors’ partner programs – If you don’t yet have a list of partners, it can be challenging to know where to start. To gain some inspiration, look at partner programs that are doing well in your niche. What kinds of partners do they seem to be going after? Try to pinpoint commonalities among the partners they feature and see if those align with the partners you might be looking for. While you’re doing some sleuthing, it might be worth figuring out what they are offering those partners, whether it be training, resources, referrals, or comarketing.
4. Proactively gather more data – The best way to know what your ideal partners want is to ask them. Conduct interviews, send surveys, and host focus groups to ascertain partners’ needs, motivations, and concerns. To make the most of your time with partners, come prepared with good questions, like:
- Why did you join our partner program?
- What do you find most helpful or unique about our program?
- How did you find out about our program?
- Why are you promoting our product/service?
- What, if any, pushback do you receive when referring us to a client?
- What would you change about our program?
Not only will the answers to these questions help you revamp your program overall, they’ll also help you frame your program in a way great partners will respond to.
5. Summarize your findings – At this point, you’ve got enough data to start assembling all the pieces of your IPP puzzle. The most effective ideal partner profiles are easy to remember, so keep them short and sweet. Condense the data you have into general characteristics, challenges, and needs. If it’s helpful context, you can also include direct quotes from step 4.
6. Share your IPP with tangential teams – Once you’ve finalized your IPP, review it with other teams, particularly sales and marketing. Your IPP can spark new ideas for events, podcasts, webinars, and email campaigns on the marketing side, while helping sales cater their outbound calls and pick the right partners for joint deals.
As your partner program grows, keep in mind that the types of partners you want to work with may change, and their preferences may also change. So to continue luring in the best partners for your program, you must respond to those changes accordingly.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially if you’re not collecting data about your partners in a standardized way. Luckily, that’s where partner relationship management platforms like Channeltivity shine.
Channeltivity, a leading PRM for technology companies, can help you transform your partner experience along with your ideal partner profiles. Channeltivity provides all the features of a modern PRM and offers detailed reporting functionality to determine who is doing what and when. With engagement, account, contact, marketing, and referral data at their fingertips, updating ideal partner profiles and staying ahead of the curve will become second nature for your partnerships team.
Schedule a demo today to learn more about how Channeltivity can give your partner program a boost.