2024 Partner Journey: How to Properly Onboard Your Partners?
This article is part of a compelling series crafted by Linkon Axon, Founder and CEO of Arys Consultants. The articles give you practical tips on how not to fail your 2024 Partnership Journey Strategy and elevate your partnership program. By leveraging the key factors proposed by Linkon, you will learn how to effectively create, structure, and build a partner program that scales revenue seamlessly.
Onboarding represents the pivotal third stage within the Partner Journey, and its significance cannot be overstated. It follows the crucial step of partner recruitment, and the successful onboarding of new partners is critical to establishing a solid foundation for their future contributions. Through onboarding, you can give your partners a comprehensive understanding of your business, its values, objectives, and the tools they'll need to succeed. In essence, onboarding is the gateway to transforming fresh recruits into motivated, activated, and fully enabled partners, setting the stage for long-term collaboration and mutual success.
In 2024, the onboarding landscape is evolving, and staying ahead of the curve is essential. The question arises: what are the pivotal components that must be woven into the fabric of your onboarding pipeline to ensure its effectiveness and relevance in today's fast-paced business world? Let's embark on a journey to explore these essential elements, uncovering the strategies and tactics that will empower your partner's onboarding process to thrive in this new year.
Onboarding Enablement - Building a Strong Foundation
Onboarding enablement is a pivotal component of integrating partners seamlessly into your team and fostering their success. To achieve this, a keen focus must be placed on identifying the precise needs of each partner, tailoring resources and support to meet these unique requirements. The key to a successful onboarding process lies in creating a toolkit of resources that not only equips partners for the present but is also designed for long-term utility.
As partnerships typically follow a medium to long-tail strategy, it's imperative to establish robust processes and procedures that can withstand the test of time and accommodate the evolving needs of teams today and tomorrow. The journey begins with the development of both internal and external onboarding processes that are not just functional but also user-friendly. Ensuring a seamless user experience (UX) and a user interface (UI) that promotes intuitive navigation is pivotal for the free-flowing enablement of partners throughout their journey.
Getting Specific: The 6-12 Month Timeline
The duration of an onboarding process can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the size of the business, the number of decision-makers involved, and the complexity of the partner program. In larger organizations, it's not uncommon to encounter a web of decision-makers, with at least 11 individuals often playing a role in granting the green light to proceed. Now, if you're wondering how quickly you can expect partner program converted leads to materialize once the partnership program is in place, it's crucial to manage your expectations.
Typically, you might start seeing the first results within a mere 1-2 weeks in the form of initial leads. For more substantial accounts, the timeline extends to 3-6 months before they come to fruition. By the 12-month mark, you should ideally have established collaborative relationships with around 15 partners who are regularly engaged in your program. From this point onward, you can strategize to scale your partnership efforts further, leveraging the relationships and insights gained in the initial year to drive ongoing growth and success. This timeline can serve as a roadmap for your partner program, guiding your expectations and helping you plan for the long-term, sustainable growth of your collaborative efforts.
Harnessing the Power of PRM Systems for Seamless Partner Channel Management
In the dynamic landscape of modern business partnerships, the utilization of Partner Relationship Management (PRM) systems stands as a linchpin for success. These systems provide the vital infrastructure that empowers both internal and external partnership teams to harness the free flow of lead generation information, thereby streamlining the entire process. In the corporate world, particularly at the enterprise level, companies may find themselves onboarding a significant number of partners on a daily basis. To effectively manage such high volumes, manual systems, and traditional processes prove impractical, if not impossible. This is where PRM systems step in, offering the essential automation required to maintain order and coherence within the partner channel management process.
One of the fundamental pillars of successful partner channel management is enabling partners to access the necessary sales enablement and marketing collateral. These resources are the lifeblood of partners as they equip them with the tools required to promote and sell your products effectively. PRM systems serve as the gateway to this treasure trove of essential materials, ensuring that partners can effortlessly access the right assets at the right time, enhancing their capacity to represent your brand effectively.
Moreover, the value of PRM systems extends beyond mere accessibility. They enable you to establish an ongoing feedback loop and gather invaluable data and metrics to evaluate what's working and what isn't. These data-driven insights are instrumental in refining your partnership strategies, allowing for real-time adjustments and informed decision-making. PRM systems, with their data and metric-gathering protocols, provide a window into the performance of your partnership ecosystem, facilitating continuous optimization and helping you to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of business collaboration. The comprehensive data-driven approach offered by PRM systems not only enhances your partner channel management but also serves as a strategic tool for your future growth and success.
The Art of Saying NO to Potential New Partners
In the realm of partnership management, it may sound counterintuitive, but there is a saying that holds substantial wisdom: "Don't buy a problem." It encapsulates the idea that not all potential partners are a perfect fit for your organization, and sometimes, it's wiser to decline partnerships that don't align with your goals and values. Unaligned partners, vendors, or customers can inadvertently cause substantial damage, often revealing their true colors during the onboarding process when their incompatibility becomes most apparent.
The repercussions of unwise partnering decisions can be far-reaching, affecting not only the dynamics within your organization but also your brand, reputation, and efficiency. Let's delve into some of the potential harm that can arise from such misalignments:
1. Brand and Reputation Damage: Associating with unaligned partners can tarnish your brand and reputation. It's crucial to safeguard your brand identity and the trust of your customer base.
2. Wasted Resources: Time spent on unaligned partnerships is time that could have been invested in nurturing mutually beneficial relationships. The resources expended on incompatible partnerships can be significant and unproductive.
3. Impeded Growth: Unwise partner identification and onboarding can hinder your growth prospects. The right partnerships can open doors to new opportunities, while the wrong ones can lead to stagnation.
4. Operational Inefficiency: Disconnected partners may disrupt your workflows, causing operational inefficiencies that ripple through your organization.
Recognizing the qualities that make a partner fully aligned is indeed of paramount importance, but possessing the ability to discern potential issues that might not be apparent in the short term is a genuine superpower. By evaluating partnerships not only for their immediate advantages but also for their long-term implications, you can safeguard your organization from potential pitfalls.
The ability to foresee how a partnership might impact your company six months down the line is a rare skill that can protect your brand, preserve your reputation, and ultimately guide your organization toward enduring success. In the intricate dance of partnerships, it's not just about who you say "yes" to, but equally important is knowing when to confidently say "no" for the greater good of your business.
Partner Onboarding stands as a pivotal and non-negotiable stage. It serves as the bridge between recruitment and long-term collaboration with partners, establishing a solid foundation for success. Properly executed onboarding imparts partners with a comprehensive understanding of your business, its values, and the resources they need to thrive. Moreover, it fosters motivated, activated, and fully enabled partners, ensuring their readiness to contribute effectively.
Now that we have established the key components of the first three stages, it is time to learn about how to Engage your newly onboarded partners properly. Engage is the fourth and one of the most important stages in the Partner Journey process.