Nature vs. Nurture?
When it comes to your long tail channel partner program, it’s all about Channel Partner Nurturing. In this, the last in our 5 part series on what to do with your long tail channel partners (The 80/20 Rule – What To Do About Long Tail Channel Partners, Engaging Long-Tail Channel Partners – The Importance of Partner Profiling, Managing Long Tail Channel Partner Engagement, and Activating your Channel’s Long Tail Partners), we’re going to discuss best practices for developing your long-term, high touch channel partner “nurture” program. Ensuring your newly activated partners keep you and your products top of mind.
And as we have done in the previous four posts, let’s take a look at the definition of “To Nurture.”
Noun: the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something.
Synonyms: encouragement, promotion, development
This process of channel partner nurturing includes our discussion on engagement and activation. But it goes much further. The core to a good channel partner nurturing program must focus on development and promotion. Key to this is a) sales and marketing support and b) education and training.
Partners, for the most part, are stretched thin. And a vendor who can ease a partner’s selling and delivery motion, will quickly rise to the top of their preferred vendors list.
Sales and Marketing Support
The number and types of sales and marketing programs that a vendor can provide for channel partner nurturing are numerous. So, we are just going to focus on a few key and critical areas.
Through-Partner marketing is when you give your partners the tools to promote your message to their customers. Your partner has an established relationship with their customers, and by helping them deliver a compelling value proposition around your products and services, you assist in the entire sales process.
By giving them the marketing tools they need, the smallest partner in your channel will be able to execute a marketing campaign that delivers your product message and value proposition.
Two types of Through-Partner Marketing that are highly effective are:
Pre-packaged email campaigns
Provide your partners with a series of multi-channel email campaigns that they can load into their marketing automation tool and send to their clients. The easier you make it for the partner to get your message out, the greater the chance of success.
This needs to be as turnkey as possible. As the vendor, you need to provide the content and the speaker. The partner can provide a host to introduce the topic and speaker. But the entire process needs to be seamless. All you ask of the partner is that they provide the attendees. And you will need to provide them the email templates to help them promote the webinar.
Education and Training
Nothing accelerates the development of your channel partner better than education and training program. Whether it is a full-blown certification program or a simple LMS that inculcates a certain message or set of skills. By engaging your partner in training, you win the hearts and minds of sales, marketing, and engineering. If you can craft a training and education program that will get your partners to learn more about your solutions, then you are guaranteed to have a productive and profitable partner.
The importance of proper channel partner nurturing cannot be overlooked. With all of the time, effort and expense involved in recruiting a new channel partner, it is imperative you then invest in their continued success. And that is what a good channel partner nurturing program will accomplish.