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Build programmes that foster dynamic, more engaged partnerships

4 min read - by Uzma Ullah - Account Director,

It’s critical to the continued success of your partner relationships to keep them fresh and vibrant. Let’s look at some of the changes you can make to cultivate your partnerships.


The relationships you create when you enter partner agreements don’t end when you sign a contract. They’re more complex and can be much more fruitful if you take the time to support and nurture your partners over the long term. Like any long-term relationship, your partners deserve a little extra attention.


One size may not fit all – If each partner were the same, you wouldn’t need channel partners at all. The strength of the channel partner relationship comes from each partner’s individuality. After all, they know their regions better and are scaled to know their customers better. Get to know your partners and take the time to find out what motivates them.

Continuous assessment is key. To really get to know your channel partners, like our friends at Sage UK and Ireland did, you’ll want to determine how your partners are doing, where they excel, and where they need more support throughout the life of your relationship.


Choosing sides –Combine the reach of TCMA (Through Channel Marketing Automation) with Managed Marketing’s concierge-level of personalisation touch for a more collaborative and flexible marketing approach.


Not taking in the bigger picture – Are you grading each relationship based solely on monthly earnings reports? Look beyond the spreadsheets to discover the value that each partner brings. If the value added is quantifiable, ask your partner for metrics that you can review. Consider whether your partner offers unique services or has special certifications that complement your product rather than simple revenue generation. When thinking about customer retention, does your partner provide the glue that keeps customers coming back for more?


Making it all about you – Maybe your partner has a different way of doing things. Are you trying to make them learn too many of your internal processes to get anything done? Are your systems too complex? Some partners will leave to lift the burden, despite incentives. Where are the friction points in your processes and how can you reduce them? Ask your partners for feedback. You might be surprised by what you discover.


New phone, who’s this – You spent the time onboarding your partners last year, but now you’re getting a lot of support requests, or getting little interaction at all. Partners have employee turnover too. Everything from refreshers to annual onboarding can help you keep your partners up to date.


Going radio silent – The only way you keep your partners engaged is to keep them informed, excited, and valued. If they don’t hear from you, after a while, you won’t hear from them. Do they need help? Can they make their way through your partner portal? Does the portal have the assets they need? We helped Zebra Technologies address dropped engagement by refreshing their partner portal and revived partner involvement. You can also try personalising content for your partners, providing news and relevant resources.


Pushing too hard – Once the ink is dry on the partnership agreement, it can take months before sales really start. In the interim, partners need to be fully onboarded and enabled with the sales tools at your disposal. The time you devote to working with your new partners can come back many times over.


Once you have a solid engagement plan, consistent partner management lets you grow your partner programme in a way that works for both sides of the relationship.


Like any relationship issue, sometimes it’s best to talk about it. Contact a member of our Channel Solutions team for more information on strategies for a successful partner programme.