Everybody’s talking about it. From hardware providers to SaaS solutions, companies are putting up channel partner programs faster than a kid running after an ice cream truck.
Hubspot, Slack, Zoom, and Zendesk are all there. The concept sounds simple enough. You find partners to sell to, through, or with your products and promote your brand.
However, setting up an effective partner program can take energy and upfront investment. Not only is it necessary to structure the program, but then you have to promote it, as well as recruit, manage and engage partners.
Is it really worth your time to grow your company?
Let’s take a look at the top ten benefits you stand to gain:
Every business needs to focus on lead generation to grow and expand. By partnering with other established companies, you can get access to the customer base they have already spent years growing. Since you select partners on the basis of them already working with your ideal customers, the leads you get from them are highly-qualified. Not only do you multiply the number of leads coming in, but you improve the quality of your lead acquisition.
When you attempt to sell directly, every lead is a blank slate. They do not know your brand or a reference point. However, when you’re selling your products and services through a partner program, the potential customers already have a point of reference through someone they already know and trust. They are thus more likely to trust your brand, and your conversion rate should see a boost.
A channel partner program doesn’t just help increase your sales; it helps expand the reach of your marketing campaigns efficiently and cost-effectively. For example, you can collaborate with your partner for a mass email campaign or ask them to feature your brand in their newsletters. This puts you in touch with new customer segments that may otherwise be difficult or expensive to tap into.
Every business strives to keep its customer acquisition cost as low as possible. When you invest in a channel partner program, you get more people promoting your product without hiring any extra staff. This dramatically reduces costs without affecting your customer service. The lower your acquisition costs, the faster your business can grow.
There’s a certain amount of training and onboarding that every company must invest in for their new customers. With a partner program, you can externalize a large portion of this to your partner. This reduces the support needed internally and allows you to offer an elevated customer experience with minimal additional costs.
The whole point of having partners is the fact that they are better positioned to sell to your customers than you are. The same goes for cross-selling and upselling. Since your partners maintain ongoing relationships with their contacts, they can continue selling your customers bigger packages or other products, even after the customer has already signed with you. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
When it comes to international growth, challenges vary with every country. There are different languages spoken, different taxation structures, local customs, etc. Thus, it’s always better to have a partner who already understands the lay of the land and has local experience. With the right partner, you can open up your company to many new markets and connect with customers you earlier assumed were beyond your reach.
The strongest businesses always put their customers first. Now, there’s a big difference between starting a relationship from scratch and building on existing relationships. When you acquire customers from your partner company, you are leveraging their relationship to build your own. Your customers can easily stay connected to your partners, and you. This helps build stronger, long-term relationships.
Co-branding goes a long way to increasing brand awareness. Always choose companies that have a well-established brand value, when you find business partners. If they can list you as a partner on their website or during events and webinars, your brand benefits immensely. Their endorsement helps build credibility with potential customers and elevate your brand.
Hiring more sales reps may help you scale sales but it also eats into your profit margin. Thus, increased direct sales may not always be proportionate to company revenue. Instead, when you participate in growth through partnerships, you can scale your sales without increasing the cost and hence see company revenue grow too. Pairing a partner manager with multiple partners can give you the same revenue as four or five sales reps.
The benefits of forming strategic partnerships far outweigh the costs. But, these benefits can only be experienced when you properly manage your partners and forge strong relationships with them. Here at Kiflo, our goal is to give you all the tools you need to effectively build a successful partner ecosystem.