Advice from Drift’s Partner Programs Manager
This article is a part of a compelling series that gives you practical tips on how to grow a successful partner program. By leveraging the advice of the greatest minds in partnerships, you will learn how to effectively create, structure, and build a partner program that scales revenue. If you are a startup or SMB in the B2B tech industry, this series is for you.
For this article, we interviewed Michele Albanese, Drift’s Partner Programs Manager. A leading conversational marketing and revenue acceleration platform, Drift offers solutions that enable businesses to leverage the power of real-time conversations. The chatbots and AI-powered communication tools developed by Drift help shorten sales cycles, convert leads faster, and accelerate revenue. With over 50,000 customers, the company enjoys a vast customer base across the world.
Michele is the brain behind the Partner Program at Drift – she designed and built the project from scratch. She is in charge of creating strategies and roadmaps, driving growth, and expanding services that partners can offer to their customers. Starting over three years ago with ten partners, Drift Partner Program has now become one of the most-coveted platforms in the MarTech segment. Currently, it has 150+ channel partners across the world, including the APEC, EMEA, and AMER regions.
Read the following interview to discover how Drift built such a successful channel partner program and take advantage of the game-changing advice coming from Michele herself.
Michele’s Advice to Run a Successful Partner Program
1. Let Your Partners Create Opportunities Around Your Solution
Offering partners commission is a good motivator for partners, but it is often nothing in comparison to enabling them to sell other solutions or products alongside yours. This is a massive incentive for existing partners and helps attract new ones. It’s a structure that is a win-win, both for the company and the partner.
2. Provide Outstanding Partner Support
Having top-notch customer support is essential for the success of a partner program. Having a squad of professionals like Partner Delivery Teams, CS teams, and Channel Account Managers can help you cater to all aspects of partner lifecycle management. When it comes to forming and fostering lasting relationships, keeping partners informed and up-to-date is key. Send newsletters, make regular meetings, and set up other creative ways to keep your partners engaged.
3. Effectively Manage Channel Conflict
The conflict between partners and sales reps can be a challenge. Sometimes both parties can feel as though the other is cutting in on their deal. To solve this, you can incentivize partner-rep collaboration so that both reps and partners feel encouraged to work in sync. You can give sales reps added commission if they sell alongside partners, or bonuses if they close a certain amount of deals with partners. This gives sales-reps motivation to collaborate with partners which often results in higher sales.
4. Create a Community, More Than Anything
Creating a strong and sustainable community of partners is integral to the success of your partner program. Try and find partners who are the right fit for the program and are keen to work with your brand. It’s best to keep a select group of partners rather than taking whoever applies. This keeps your partner program exclusive so that partners will be proud to be linked with your brand.
Make it Happen for You: How to Grow a Successful Partner Program Like Drift
If you want to grow a partner program like Drift, it is essential that you have the proper tools to structure, automate, and scale your program.
A Partner Relation Management (PRM) platform allows you to:
- Organize your program
- Coordinate training, onboarding, and certification processes
- Share assets and resources
- Attribute leads
- Collaborate with partners on a shared pipeline
- Get full visibility over partner activity
- Measure partner performance
- Track commission and payouts
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