Almost all global brands have the same goal: to make sales and grow their business. Channel partnerships or partner programs can help you to scale your business quickly.
What is partner channel management?
Direct sales are good, but they are not the only way a company can generate revenue. For instance, did you know that almost 75% of world trade flows indirectly?
Companies that want to scale their business should get to grips with this fact. Indeed, one of the best ways of doing so is by employing partner marketing, an approach that will improve how you run marketing campaigns, helping you gain new customers while spending less. To be sure, partner marketing can help you drastically reduce your customer acquisition costs.
Channel partners are third-party companies or individuals that promote a business and increase sales and profits through indirect sales. Here are some of the partner types:
- Other brands
They make a commission for their work, i.e., the leads and sales they generate. For companies and brands that want to scale their business quickly or for those aiming to have to launch effective channel partnerships, you should have a proper process in place for partner channel management.
In addition, you also need the assistance of channel marketing management software. With it, you can manage channel partners as well as the campaigns you plan to run.
How will channel partners help in boosting profits?
Using channel partners is beneficial and can significantly help boost profits. Here are some of the key reasons:
- Paying a commission to a channel partner is cost-effective and is a better option than hiring a big sales team. While the process is similar to hiring a sales team, the advantage is that you do not have to pay them unless they make sales.
- They can help you build brand awareness.
- Since you can use KPIs to measure their performance, you will quickly identify the best channel partnerships. You can focus on strengthening them.
Here are some of the best practices that you can follow to manage your channel partners more effectively:
1. Proper and systematic onboarding:
This is the first step you need to take if you want your channel partners to perform well. Apart from giving partner training, educating them about all the products you sell is crucial to success.
Doing so will help them understand what you are offering and how they can use that knowledge to get more commissions. After all, channel partnerships only function when your affiliate partners are able to work optimally. As such, you should also ensure that their onboarding sessions are as comprehensive as possible. To make things simple, give them relevant marketing material containing all the data they require before they begin working on a campaign.
Training should be an ongoing process too. Have a training plan where your affiliates and partners receive continuous support. And don’t stop these training sessions after the initial onboarding either. One of the biggest mistakes many companies make when they get into channel partnerships is thinking that once these preliminary get-to-know-us and information sessions are finished, so is the need for further support.
An effective training plan is, therefore, extremely important when trying to win the trust and confidence of your partners. Hence, this should be of paramount importance if you want your channel partnerships to thrive.
2. Invest time in building relationships
This is another important step when working with channel partners. Learn their strengths and weaknesses and how their customers view them. Understand what drives their business, and make sure you understand their short-term and long-term goals and how they are working towards them.
If possible, you should also learn about their internal processes and workflows to see how and if it will be useful and possible to align your company with theirs. The more you understand your partners better, the more you can give them the assistance they require. Hence, this is one of the first steps you should take in channel partner management.
3. Set goals
Set your channel partners realistic goals. SMART goals help you set objectives that your channel partner can reach within a specific timeframe. SMART is an acronym that stands for ‘Specific,’ ‘Measurable,’ ‘Achievable,’ ‘Relevant,’ and ’Time-bound.’
In this collaboration, your main goal should be to ensure that both parties succeed. Unless you make the channel program lucrative, potential partners may not show interest in joining you. Take time to develop a marketing or channel strategy before implementing it.
4. Monitor the results
To monitor your channel partner’s performance and to keep a tab on channel sales, you need a robust system. Swaarm is one of the top performance marketing software platforms that help companies have total control over their campaigns and their partners.
Through it, you can check your partner’s performance, and if they are doing well, you can use the software to roll out other relevant marketing campaigns.
When a proper system is in place, your partners will also be able to assess how they are performing by using the partner portal, through which they will be able to discern what they can do to improve. In order to have better control over your channel program, and assist your partners in achieving success, invest in effective software like Swaarm.
5. Use real-time data analytics to make decisions
Making false assumptions can lead to expensive mistakes. Only when you have accurate real-time data can you make proper decisions. When you use partner relationship management technology, you can check the channel performance and get real-time information.
Similarly, your channel partners can use this data to see how they are doing and if they need to change their strategy to improve their performance. Decision-making skills can significantly improve when tracking software is available to assist partners and brands in making changes.
Some of the benefits of investing in a tracking platform such as Swaarm include the following:
- The provision of data indicating how your channels are performing and how they are doing compared to their competitors.
- Accurate forecasts.
- Real-time data for both you and your partners. This information can help your partners make better decisions when trying to improve channel sales.
- Performance metrics to assist your partners in monitoring everything they do.
It would be best if you understood that your channel partners’ success depends entirely on the support and infrastructure you provide. If you want your channel partnership to work, you must proactively give as much help to them as they require.
6. Have a comprehensive marketing strategy in place
To succeed in this endeavor, you should develop a thorough channel partner strategy. Always look for quality over quantity. When trying to reach a wider audience, there is often the temptation to add as many channel partners as possible. This strategy may backfire, however, if you do not have a proper process.
Channel conflicts, over-distribution, contractual disputes, and many other headaches occur when you don’t have a plan or strategy.
7. Receive feedback regularly
You can’t please everyone all the time, and sometimes some of your partners might feel that your performance could be improved too. To maintain good working relationships, it is, therefore, crucial to receive feedback on a regular basis. You can achieve this goal by carrying out one of the following:
- Send anonymous surveys. Categorize partners so you can better understand their feedback. When you gather this information, you will know where exactly you should focus your attention.
- Train channel account managers so that they can gather and ask direct questions to channel partners. It may be best for them to check with your channel partners to see which aspects of the products they like—and what they don’t.
You can use feedback to improve your products and get the best results from your channel partner strategy.
Channel partnerships are crucial for the success of a business or a brand. Channel sales can help you generate more revenue for your business, which is one of the quickest ways to earn more money. Companies need to have a proper channel partnership management strategy in place to get the best results.