Create a Partner Recruitment Plan in 7 Steps
As businesses grow, so do their partnerships.
That is why having a well-connected partner ecosystem can save you time and effort, allowing you to focus on your core competencies.
However, having the right channel partners to ensure the success of that ecosystem is the first step. Strong relationships with reliable partners can drive innovation and growth by allowing you to enter new markets.
But bringing on the right partners can be difficult, especially with the high number of partner programs that exist today.
So, how can you ensure that you recruit and hire the best people for your product?
To make this process easier and more effective, let’s look into partner recruitment strategies and tips.
What is a Partner Recruitment Plan?
Recruiting channel partners requires commitment and planning.
It is important to create an effective recruitment process that ensures you select trustworthy, talented channel partners who will represent your company well.
This is where a partner recruitment strategy comes into play.
A partner recruitment plan is a strategy for identifying potential partners for your partner program. It specifies the requirements for each partner, as well as the brand and channel goals that each partnership should bring to the company.
Ideally, your partner recruitment plan should keep your team aligned not just on goals for your program and company, but also on who is responsible for what in the recruiting process.
The 7 Steps to Partner Recruitment
Partner recruitment can be a time-consuming and difficult process, but it doesn't have to be!
Having the right partner recruitment strategy can give your business an edge over its competitors and open up a whole new range of opportunities, whether you're looking to grow your business by partnering with established companies or hoping to build a powerful community of influencers or affiliates.
But where does one begin?
Let's help you get started with our 7 steps for successful partner recruitment.
Step #1: Define Your IPP
An Ideal Partner Persona (IPP) is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal partner based on market data and program objectives.
Defining the IPP is not only the first step but also one of the most important components of the overall recruitment strategy. After all, if you pursue the wrong companies, your partner recruitment efforts will be pointless.
Create an ideal partner profile to help guide your selection process and connect with prospects more effectively. Consider your most successful partners, as well as the purchasing habits of your target audiences.
Finally, before you begin communicating with potential channel partners, establish some clear goals for each conversation. This could also help you develop a clear vision of the type of partner you want to attract.
Step #2: Develop Communication Strategies
Just like in any partnership both personal and professional, communication is key.
That is why when finding channel partners for your company, defining clear communication channels should be one of the most highlighted steps. Effective communication techniques will not only help you spread your message but minimize misunderstandings and, ultimately, strengthen relationships with partners and increase engagement.
That is why it is critical to understand the best methods and channels for reaching out to prospects and ensuring that they understand what you are looking for in a partner. Some examples might include:
- Direct emails
- LinkedIn messages
- Slack groups
- Phone calls
- Text messages
Remember to take care when choosing your channel of communication, considering your level of familiarity with the Point of Contact. For example, some potential partners might be frustrated by receiving a call or text message from someone they barely know.
Lastly, always be sure to add a personal touch, especially with higher-tier partners. Adding specific details about the company’s products or services, goals, etc., as well as what your partnerships can do to reach those goals, will help establish a strong relationship.
Step #3: Decide on the Best Channels for Finding Partners
When it comes to developing a successful partner recruitment strategy and program, choosing the right channels for finding partners can be a game changer.
The more channels you have available, the greater your reach and impact in the marketplace.
You can reach out to potential partners through a variety of channels, including online advertising, direct mail campaigns, and webinar events. Each channel has advantages and disadvantages, so it is critical to experiment with various approaches.
But while digital channels are very popular these days, we must advise you not to overlook offline options too!
For example, you can attend events and conferences. Partner expo attendees are almost always pre-selected as being interested in what you have to offer, making this a great chance to try and forge long-lasting business relationships.
So, make an effort to build relationships offline as well, just as much as you do through digital connection!
Step #4: Execute the Campaign
The right campaign will attract the right partners.
And the first step in launching a successful channel partner recruitment campaign is to define your objectives and goals for the campaign, as well as the types of partners you want to attract.
Set specific and measurable (SMART) goals so you can track progress and make necessary changes if necessary.
Once these are established, create a detailed process outlining each step from beginning to end, including how potential partners will be identified, contacted, evaluated, onboarded, and supported.
Finally, determine the resources, budget, timeline, and key stakeholders required to make it happen—as well as who will be in charge of each aspect of the project.
This will provide you with the framework required to carry out an effective campaign.
Step #5: Weed Out Bad Fits
Believe us when we say that 'bad' fits require more effort than they are worth. Ideally, finding partners who share your company's business DNA is the best way to go.
It is best to screen out bad fits to avoid wasting time and resources on people who won't join the team or help the business become more successful.
Start by establishing clear criteria for evaluating potential candidates based on factors such as company size, expertise, experience with related products/services, commitment, company values, and geographic characteristics.
To attract better partnerships, we recommend using automated solutions that save time by quickly weeding out bad fits—allowing businesses to filter millions of potential leads into tailored prospects in less time.
For example, with Kiflo, you can connect your external partner application form to our PRM platform. Once you start receiving partner applications, partner managers can accept or reject these applications. You can also set up automated emails to notify partners of their rejection or acceptance.
As an added tip, add a personalized element to these notifications, so applicants feel the human elements whether they are accepted or rejected. You want to build bridges, and though an applicant may not be a good fit at the time, who knows, they might align with your goals in the future.
Step #6: Use the Data
Companies can use data collection to more accurately analyze performance metrics and learn which strategies are working (or not).
Using this information to adjust tactics and make more data-driven decisions rather than relying solely on intuition can significantly improve results.
With the help of this approach, companies can more effectively pinpoint their target market and develop recruitment campaigns directed at potential partners, which will ultimately produce better results from current and potential new partners.
If you want to know if you need to change any procedures or methods for your current partner recruitment campaign, use data from previous campaigns or surveys.
You can accomplish this by gathering feedback from previous campaigns, good or bad, and comparing what worked or didn't use segmentation and A/B testing techniques.
Step #7: Know When to Pivot
Know when to change or adjust strategies in response to partner market trends or changes in partner behavior; this may require making minor changes to your recruitment strategy.
Also, know when it’s time to change your IPP altogether. Perhaps you’ve stumbled upon a segment of partners that are performing better than you originally predicted. Don’t be afraid to experiment with this segment, redefining your company goals to leverage their success.
Ultimately, you must know when, despite preliminary planning, changes to the timeline are required. Keep a close eye on your data over a longer period of time to make sure you don’t miss opportunities along the way.
One final piece of advice:
Use tools to track partner recruitment campaigns, and make sure the tool you select is simple to use and easy to navigate.
Choose a tool that will make it quick and easy for you to monitor the status of your partner recruitment efforts, provide insightful data on the effectiveness of your campaigns, and can be tailored to meet your specific needs and objectives.
Last but not least, the ideal platform should be able to offer you thorough analytics on campaign performance as well as perceptions of how your partners are doing.
By doing so, you'll be able to spot potential improvement areas and confirm that you're aiming for the right partners for your company.