A partnership isn’t just about acquiring a business relationship. It’s about gaining a commitment to working (and wanting to work) together. The honeymoon period of a partnership is the initial first couple of months of your working relationship. Like any relationship, it’s a time when anticipation, excitement and hopes are high. Your partner anticipates a strong working relationship with you. They are excited to be working with you and have high hopes for the future.
These are all positive things, but the mood can quickly turn if you don’t deliver on your promises (or show your intentions of doing so) right from the start. The honeymoon period is the time to turn up the dial and ensure a partner’s expectations are not just met, but exceeded, and they aren’t left feeling disappointed and deflated. Otherwise, they’re likely to quickly lose interest, focus on the other vendors they sell for, and consider their options.
To achieve that, you need to give your partner what they want.
What do channel partners want?
You should think about your partner team as you would employees of your company. For instance, just like an employee, a partner:
- Wants to be listened to
- Wants to feel understood
- Wants to feel important
- Wants to feel appreciated
- Wants to feel supported
- Wants you to help them learn
- Wants you to show them (not tell them) what to do
Each of these individual “wants” contributes to part of the process in engaging and enabling a new partner. Actively achieving them is what can ensure they quickly become committed to working with you.
Giving your partner what they want
Firstly, to even attempt to fulfill everything your partner wants, you need to first get to know them and give them your time. Understand how they typically operate, how their employees work best, what motivates them and what makes them tick.
Secondly, consider creating a personalized journey and tailoring an incentive to suit your partner, which will come from getting to know them.
Finally, it’s about making things easy. For example, giving a partner easy to use tools for learning, so teams get to know your brand without too much inconvenience, and rewarding them for doing so.
A channel reseller will sell what is easy and what makes them more money. It is worth keeping in mind that there are plenty of other vendors for your reseller to sell for, so if you don’t make things easy for them, they are likely to go to a vendor that will.
Getting your honeymoon period started with a bang
When it comes to a channel partnership, a vendor’s C-suite have visibility of the details, but individuals on the channel partner’s sales teams most likely won’t. A good way to engage such individuals into your partnership is to make a big deal about it and get it started with a bang.
An effective way to do this is with a hype day, or sales team incentive event, which aim to help maintain momentum.
A launch event (virtual or physical) could be set up for your partner to include things like mini sales competitions based around your offering. While this provides a fun way to motivate your channel’s salespeople to sell your products, it creates brand awareness, makes them aware of the products they will sell, and draws attention to the formation of the partnership.
Helping you give your channel partners what they want
In thinking about the honeymoon period with a channel partner and answering the question as to what they really want today – they want to be treated as you would be expected to treat any new employee. Engaging, enabling and committing to a new partner is about making them feel they’re one of your own. And, in doing this, you need to get to know them, personalize your incentive programs, and make things easy.
Utilizing The Channel Success Platform, channel incentive programs at 360insights are designed with all this in mind, from tailoring incentive schemes to show you’re listening to a reseller, to educating and rewarding channel sales teams to better understand and incentivize them to sell your products effectively.
For more information, book a demo today.
By Dan Kelly, Enterprise Sales Director, 360insights