There are many different types of channel programs and partner recruitment initiatives can go in many directions. That said, there are some fundamental principles that will help ensure the success of your partner recruitment efforts. Having the right partners and the right number of partners is critical to your overall channel strategy and creating successful partner programs.
If you focus on the following three items in building your partner recruitment plan, you will have a solid foundation to execute against:
- Clear set of goals and objectives
- Partner profile
- Partner value proposition
Goals & Objectives
It is important to start with the end in mind. Build a simple channel capacity model, that will allow you to have a view of not just how many partners you need but how many partners you need in various partner segments. For example, you may need to slice your channel capacity model by region, by industry, by skill set, or by partner model. It may be appropriate to phase your partner recruitment efforts, either by starting with a pilot project or just building a phased approach. In either case, your goals and objectives need to reflect the approach. You also need to consider the phases of onboarding a partner at this early stage. How are you going to move them from interest to commitment? Think about partner recruitment, like you think about customer demand generation. How many partners do you need at the "top of the funnel" to get the required number of truly committed partners? The critical point here is that you start with a plan and execute against that plan.
You need to consider what constitutes a successful partner for your company or for the specific initiative you are working on. If you are launching a new product or just expanding indirect channel sales for an existing product, you need to understand the type of partner that can be successful selling that offering. Here are some questions, you may need to consider:
- Do you need them to sell to their install base?
- What skills are required?
- Do they have access to the key decision makers?
- What investments are required?
- Is their business model aligned (e.g. service delivery versus product)?
Working through these questions, will make it much easier for you to target the right partners and ensure they will be successful once they are on board. Build your list of questions and commit the answers to paper, from that you can create a partner profile that truly aligns with your channel requirements.
Partner Value Proposition
Once you have a clear view of your goals and the profile of a prospective partner, it is time to build and test your partner value proposition. Start with your partner profile and think through what will motivate them. Again, let's frame some questions to think through our partner value proposition and see if it is compelling and differentiated.
- What drives the economic model of your ideal partner?
- Will your product or offering help them grow?
- Do you help them expand their customer base?
- What is the barrier to entry?
- Have you addressed their pain points?
Thinking through some of these questions, will help you not just recruit partners but ensure that you get partners that truly will invest your products or offerings. It is important to test this with partners early in the cycle, get their feedback on the value you are offering and how it compares with other opportunities they see in the marketplace. You will save yourself a lot of time and wasted energy if you get this right up front.
If you walk through these three factors and feel you have these issues addressed, you should have a good foundation to begin your partner recruitment efforts. Hopefully, this helps you build your partner recruitment plan and gives you one or two nuggets to consider. If you need help in building or executing your partner recruitment plan, please reach out to us at Pereion Solutions. Pereion provides Channel Marketing services to help you grow your revenue through indirect sales channels.
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