April 08, 2022

Best Practices for Partner Recruitment

Discover the best practices for partner recruitment in affiliate, referral, and reseller partnership programs.

best-recruitment-practices

What Is the Goal of Partner Recruitment?

The benefits of a strong partner program speak for themselves; strong partnerships are collaborative, generative, and create new revenue opportunities for everyone involved. The goal of partner recruitment is to bring in the most synergistic partnerships for your organization. This process will vary depending on the types of partners you aim to recruit. Whether you’d like to attract more partners for your affiliate, referral, or reseller programs, recruitment is an essential step in this process. For example, you can recruit partners to expand brand awareness and reach (affiliates), partners to assist and feed your sales team (referrals), and partners to expand your market reach (resellers). The more you fine-tune your recruitment strategy and build your partner program, the likelier you are to find partners that are the perfect fit. By approaching this stage of the partner lifecycle with intention and a mind toward best practices, you can ensure success for your business and partnership program. 

Best Practices for Recruiting Partners

There are many best practices for recruiting partners. Your unique approach will depend on your goals, and there are a few steps you can take to ensure a smooth partner recruitment process. 

Create Your Ideal Partner Persona First

Before you start the recruitment process, you need to create your Ideal Partner Persona (IPP). This stage in the process is tremendously important because it can help save you time and money. This will also help you make meaningful, quality connections with potential partners who share similar goals and values. By clarifying your IPP, you can find partners who are relevant to your business goals. A clearly defined profile will support your recruitment efforts because you’ll know which companies to target. Some factors you might want to consider are company type/industry, company size, point of contact, and location. Remember, this is an ongoing process and you may not get it perfect the first time. That’s okay! Over time, and with more data, you’ll have a clearer picture of exactly what kind of partner you are looking for and how to reach them.

IPP Example
Example of an Ideal Partner Persona Template

Know Where to Recruit Partners

So, you have your Ideal Partner Persona defined and mapped out. Now what? You’ll need to know where to connect with companies that match your IPP. Finding places to recruit partners needn’t be a Herculean task—you can even begin with a simple Google search. You can use your IPP to generate relevant keywords. Save time by using a website scraping tool to export data from articles that pertain to your Ideal Partner Persona. 

You can also take a look at your competitors’ partner directories. This can give you a sense of vetted companies to give you an idea of potential partners. 

Finally, you can use LinkedIn to search for potential partner companies. Take advantage of the world’s largest professional network to find companies that align with your IPP. It’s possible to filter searches based on keywords, location, industry, and company size. Track this data using a LinkedIn automation tool like ProspectIn. Keeping track of your findings will help you stay organized in the recruitment process and build your own database of potential partners for immediate and future use! 

Communicate What You Can do for Them

Once you identify companies that match your IPP, you’ll want to identify a Point of Contact (POC). Reach out with a short, direct, and personal message in order to initiate the conversation. Keeping these initial messages concise and to the point will encourage a direct response. Before reaching out, take some time to draft a customizable partnership pitch template you can use for reaching out to a variety of leads. In your pitch, and subsequent conversations during the recruitment process, you’ll want to:

  • Communicate the value of partnering with you

  • Show them they can sell more services or products alongside yours

  • Demonstrate how your joint value proposition can help them make more sales

  • Articulate the value that the commission could bring them

By focusing on the value that partnering with you will bring to their company, you show them that you are invested in their success as well. This will inspire good faith, and encourage them to partner with you. 

Display Your Professionalism

Throughout the recruitment process, you’ll want to convey your professionalism through written and visual means. Potential partners want to know that you’re the real deal! Your professionalism will inspire trust and encourage them to work with you. Here are some keys to maintaining that professional appearance:

Partner Recruitment Professionalism

Using a consistent, professional tone and appearance will help potential partners trust you from the get-go. 

Select Partners You are Compatible With

Remember, cultivating a lucrative partnership is an investment. These partnerships don’t happen overnight; they take time to grow. A seed needs the right conditions to blossom into a flower. As such, be selective with your partnerships. You don’t need to move ahead with every partnership application that comes your way. Take the time to make sure the potential partner meets your IPP and feels like a good fit. Choosing compatible partners for you will maximize your revenue.

Consider how you will evaluate potential partner compatibility. For example, Vidyard assesses partner applications using five pieces of criteria: commercial compatibility, cultural compatibility, strategic compatibility, technical compatibility, and operational compatibility. Think about what criteria make sense for your context, and design an assessment process that will help you find the perfect fit. 

Be Responsive and Show Them You are Engaged

From your first message to the onboarding process, the interactions you share with your partners can set the stage for its entire lifecycle. Model the level of engagement you’d like to see from them. Show them you care by being available, responsive, and engaged. Answer their questions, and respond in a timely manner. Showing this level of engagement will help motivate them to be engaged as well. 

The 80/20 rule, or, Pareto’s Principle, states that 20% of your partners drive 80% of your leads, while the remaining 80% of partners drive 20% of your leads. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a hard and fast rule. The landscape of your particular partnership ecosystem can look different! You can increase partner engagement by showing up fully from the beginning. If you do not show your partner you are engaged in the partnership then they won’t be either. The beginning stages are incredibly important because they will set the tone for the partnership.

Key Questions to Consider When Using Partner Recruitment Best Practices

There are some key questions that you and your team can ask internally in order to shape your partner recruitment strategy that includes best practices. 

Partner Recruitment Questions

Asking these questions and continuing to reflect on the process and outcomes will support you in finetuning your partner recruitment program. 

Conclusion

Partner recruitment is extremely important. Without recruitment, you won’t onboard new partners. It’s also important to recruit more partners because this allows you to improve your partner persona and understand who works well with you. This will, in turn, make your recruiting strategy even more efficient.  Developing a strong recruiting strategy and a consistent, professional style of communication will help you succeed in this process. As for that 80/20 rule? Well, you can increase the number of active partners by using a PRM platform. A PRM platform, like Kiflo, supports partner engagement through streamlined onboarding, measurable goals and progress tracking, and so much more. This makes maintaining strong partner relationships easier and more time-efficient. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is partner recruitment?

Partner recruitment is the process of identifying, attracting, and onboarding partners for affiliate, referral, and reseller partnerships.

How do I recruit partners?

Identify your target partner type and partner persona. Clarify your recruitment strategy to make the best use of your resources.

Why is partner recruitment important?

Partner recruitment is the first step in the critical process of forging sustainable partnerships. It can increase your brand awareness and help your company grow.

When should I recruit partners for my program?

This will depend on your recruitment strategy and goals! For example, if you want to double your referral partners by Q3, you’ll need to work backward and map out a recruitment strategy in order to meet that number.

Where do I find new partners?

You can find new partners through LinkedIn, B2B networks, and your existing customer and partner networks. New partners can also find you via your attractive landing page for your partner program, which you can promote on your blog and social media.

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