Growing your channel partner community is one of the best ways for B2B organizations to increase revenue. The key is in finding and on-boarding the right partners. Identifying an ideal fit with the resources necessary to provide a positive ROI can be challenging. Here we take a look at seven steps to recruit the best channel partners for your B2B firm.
Establish Detailed Partner Personas
The first step in finding your ideal partner is to establish a set of guidelines and develop a persona that identifies key traits of your optimal reseller. You’ll want to ensure your partner has a strong foothold in your specific industry. Having a solid demand generation process established is especially important when looking at the traits of a potential partner. Your partner will have to have your desired sales skill-set as well as the necessary bandwidth in order to maximize your channel. Companies that already have a loyal customer base within your industry should garner strong consideration as a potential partner.
Offer Enhanced Benefits Packages
Chances are your company already has an established compensation package built for your channel partners. In order to recruit newer, more profitable partners, it may be necessary to entice them with additional benefits. Offering market development funds is a great way to persuade potential partners without sacrificing your profit margins. You’ll need to carefully weigh the revenue potential of each partner in order to determine the type and amount of added benefits you should offer them.
Thoroughly Research Potential Partners
Channel recruitment, at its core, is essentially a sales process. You will want to thoroughly research your potential partners in order to determine if they fit your criteria. Many channel managers develop partnerships without thoroughly researching their partners. You will want to dive deep into the aspects of their company such as historical reputation, sales prowess and marketing capabilities. With the time it takes to manage and develop these partnerships, performing the necessary research to ensure the partnership will be a good fit is essential.
Recruit Your Top Targets
After you’ve identified and gathered information on your target partners, it is time to start actively recruiting them. Teleprospecting plays a key role in the recruitment of prospects for your channel. Although a lot of information can be found through your initial online research, more specific questions that are company centric are necessary to determine quality partners. Reaching decision makers within a target company can be difficult and time consuming. This is a task better suited for a marketing team so that recruiting will only be dealing with warm leads. Well-developed qualifying questions and appointment setting will ensure your recruitment team is speaking with truly qualified prospects.
Nurture Partner Leads
Developing a strategic partnership can involve a long sales cycle. You will find that many companies, although interested and qualified, may not be ready to partner with you right away. Implementing a lead nurturing process based on teleprospecting as well as email work flows will ensure your company stays in the forefront of your target audience. Phone calls to determine where they are in the sales funnel and email workflows that continue to educate them on the value of your company will keep their interest until they are ready to discuss a partnership.
Onboard New Partners
One of the best ways to incorporate a new channel partner is with a pilot program. Once you’ve identified and established a partnership, you’ll want to see how they perform. Rather than immediately committing to a long-term partnership, setting up a pilot program to gauge the true impact of a partnership will save you time and money. You can research and get to know a company thoroughly, but it is impossible to know how they will perform until they begin to promote and sell your products.
Outsource Recruitment Efforts
Researching and recruiting channel partners takes tremendous effort and many companies lack the manpower to successfully onboard partners without causing interruption to their current business. Hiring an experienced team to handle the entire process based on your guidelines can provide you with a higher success rate for your biggest targets as well as uncover additional partners that fit your needs.
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