Channel partner marketing is great for reaching new audiences, generating consistent income, accessing resources and growing your business – but at the heart of all this sits the relationship between you and your partners.
Without a strong and lasting connection between you and your channel partners, you’ll struggle to reap the benefits listed above!
Whether you’re new to channel marketing or you’re looking to strengthen your bond with existing partners, we’re here to help. As a channel marketing agency ourselves, and with over 20 years in the business, we’re not exaggerating when we say we’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt to prove it. And as a result of this, we really do know how to get it right every time.
So, let’s explore the methods you can use to achieve loyalty and build relationships with your channel partners for long-term success…
Are you putting your channel partners first?
Many technology organisations often make the mistake of viewing their partners as just another source of income. But in reality, the most successful IT channel marketing strategies are born from mutually beneficial relationships between the vendor and distributor/reseller.
By placing the needs of your partners in line with your own, you’re more likely to be met with trust and loyalty. Rather than focusing on what your partners can do for you, why not look at the situation from a different angle?
Ask yourself “what could I do to make this partner relationship stronger or more successful?”.
Making sure everyone is on the same page
Lots of organisations will align their goals with their partners at the start of the working relationship, but as time goes by they often get lost or forgotten about. Maintaining a clear focus throughout is essential.
Of course, both partners will have the same broad goals – increasing sales, generating leads, and maximising profits. But, in our experience, that just isn’t enough to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Reviewing your specific goals at regular intervals will help to keep everyone in the channel aligned, and working with your channel partners to set achievable objectives will unleash their full potential.
Once your goals are set, maintaining the focus of your channel partners is key. Regular check-ins will not only ensure that objectives are met, but will also help to show that you care, making you a priority in your partner’s eyes.
Creating an authentic connection
Developing a real connection with your partners plays a huge part in creating those long-term relationships we’re after. Proper communication where everyone involved is completely open, honest and transparent with each other will create a sense of trust that just can’t be bought.
If your channel partners feel like they’re left out of the loop, they’re more likely to leave and find a partner who cares. Providing value to your partners is the best way to create those mutually beneficial relationships we’re looking for.
Don’t be afraid to compromise
In any sort of long-term relationship, you’re bound to come across some difficulties at times. Your priorities may not always align exactly with those of your channel partners, but making short-term compromises where possible can enable you to strengthen the relationship in the long term.
By making compromises now and then, you’re putting your partner’s needs first; a surefire way to prove your trust. Plus, ensuring your partner’s needs are fulfilled in the now places them in a much stronger position further down the line to help with yours.
Be clear about your expectations
When developing a mutually beneficial relationship it’s vital that both sides have a clear understanding of what the other party expects of them. Fulfilling, and even exceeding, expectations can only be accomplished if your partners have an explicit understanding of what you want to achieve.
Don’t forget, this works both ways. In order to build a lasting relationship with a channel partner, it’s essential you understand exactly what they expect from you as well.
Set your channel partners up for success
Channel marketing is most effective when every partner involved is successful. If your channel partners recognise that you care about their success just as much as your own, then they will be more inclined to continue working with you.
Supporting your channel partners can be achieved in various ways. Some examples of the way we have helped vendors in the past include providing training services for partners which not only gives them the confidence to sell more effectively, but it also ultimately helps them to generate and close more leads, thereby benefiting you. We are also pretty adept at creating through-partner marketing material, making it as easy as possible for your partners to go to market with your products or services.
A thriving channel partner will have more resources that can be devoted to selling your products or services. Plus, helping them to succeed will be recognised by your partners, further building the essential trust required to make your relationship last.
Celebrate your partner’s achievements
When your channel partners are winning, so are you. If you’re regularly posting your big wins and achievements on social media and LinkedIn, then why not extend this same energy to your channel partners?
Celebrating your partners not only makes them feel respected and valued, but it also helps to strengthen that bond. In our experience, partners are much more likely to return to companies when they feel appreciated.
Using your brand’s authority to help drive traffic to your partner’s channels and increase their own brand awareness will also help to solidify that relationship. Plus, by drawing attention to them you may be directly aiding in their overall success, and when they succeed so do you – win-win!
Get the help of a channel marketing agency
One of the easiest ways to maintain a great relationship with your channel partners is to use a channel marketing agency – particularly one with experience in your sector. Here at ResourceiT, we specialise in creating meaningful partnerships between organisations in the IT sector.
Our role as an agency is to take the stress out of channel marketing; helping to get you noticed by relevant vendors or distributors in the first place before creating those initial partnerships, as well as maintaining them for years to come.
By building lasting channel partner relationships, you can ensure that both parties involved benefit from higher levels of engagement, productivity, and most importantly, profitability.
Looking for help in finding channel partners for your IT business? Give us a call today on 01256 881 100 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! Our friendly team of experts have years of experience and will be able to answer all your questions.