The Best Tools for Partner Enablement
Interactions between companies and their channel partners are changing. To keep your business competitive and attract new prospects, you need to keep up with the latest developments in the marketplace.
But how can you be sure your partners are also up to speed? By enabling them with tried and tested tools.
Although the idea of partner enablement has been around for some time, it's more important today than ever. Not only is it good for your bottom line, but it's also good for building strong and lasting relationships. Here are some helpful tools to help you enable your partners.
What Partners Need to Be Truly Enabled
The following group of tools can help you support your partners and foster healthy business relationships. Depending on the type of your partnerships, we advise using these tools as a foundation when developing your partner enablement strategy, but you are free to add to it.
Comprehensive Onboarding that Makes Sense
One of the most important aspects of any enablement strategy is comprehensive partner onboarding. By "comprehensive," we mean ensuring that channel partners successfully begin their journey toward professional growth and success. Poor onboarding of channel partners can jeopardize a relationship before it even begins or, worse, cause a partner to bolt.
Partners need to be properly onboarded so they understand more than just the basics of your product. They need to understand how it differs from all the other products on the market. That means you need to constantly provide excellent training that focuses on how your product solves consumers' problems. It means you need to train them enough to be able to demonstrate, configure, and support the solution.
Ways to Win Today
In partnerships, everyone loves a quick win, and rightly so. Why is that? Because they help build momentum and create the trust needed to take the partnership to the next level.
That's why it's important to provide tools that enable partners to achieve quick wins without friction. A PRM is a good example of this.
As you know, PRM software is designed to greatly improve the effectiveness and convenience of managing all external components within the channel partners' organizational framework.
For example, with Kiflo, you can easily submit leads both in the platform and with a referral link. It's also efficient because it allows you to design and share business processes in minutes.
Continued Support Tools
The ideal strategy for gaining your partner's trust and retaining them once you've made the investment is to continue to support them. By doing so, you show them that you understand their business needs. Support them in the areas that are most important to them.
You also need to support them during the sales process. The sales cycle can be longer or shorter, but it always involves a number of different processes and tasks. You should provide your salespeople with various materials they need to complete each stage. For example, salespeople need a pitch deck to make a presentation to the customer at the beginning of the sales cycle.
Having quick access to resources where your partner can find answers is an important step in building loyalty and trust. Have help available for them, such as a chatbot or FAQ. It might even be worth appointing a partner account manager for top-tier channel partners.
Your channel partner marketing plan should focus heavily on providing marketing opportunities to channel partners and resellers. Without helping partners generate leads that lead to sales, no channel sales enablement strategy aimed at partner success is complete.
How can partners reliably bring leads into their sales pipelines? If they can generate leads as needed. You can help them do this by providing the guidance they need to leverage the many lead-generation strategies available in marketing. Providing marketing templates is another important component of channel partner empowerment that you can help with.
This way, you can help your partners attract and nurture web visitors so they turn into warm leads.
Channel partners can be rewarded for the enormous amount of work they put in via a channel incentive program. The channel partners must feel appreciated for their work and know that the organization is looking out for them. Engaging incentive programs that aim to boost channel partners' performance and loyalty are the most effective.
If you're like most channel partners, it makes sense that you spend most of your time thinking about your clients. But how about expressing your gratitude to those who support you so much as well as the clients you look after?
You should make sure you're demonstrating your appreciation for and engagement with your partners, whether it's through the launch of a new co-marketing campaign, accomplishing a particular milestone, or simply saying thank you to someone for participating in your webinar panel.
Tools for Partner Enablement
The above section was a brief introduction to the tools you need for partner enablement. This section goes into more depth on the tools for partner enablement with practical tips for each.
Partner Onboarding Tools
If you develop an intuitive onboarding process, you’ll be setting your partner up for success. You’ll also want to monitor their progress to make sure they're ready to market your product. After all, if they’re not well trained, it becomes a lose-lose situation.
By creating a partner onboarding pipeline, you can get a bird’s eye view of which partners have been contacted, accepted, trained, and certified. You can effortlessly follow your partner as they move from one stage to the next. You now have a complete overview of the development of your partner program.
Product, Sales, and Marketing Training
You need to provide your channel partners with the knowledge they need to work well with your entire network through training. This includes educating them about your company's reputation, offerings, sales, and marketing. Product training teaches partners everything they need to know about your product, from basic specifications to installation to sophisticated troubleshooting.
They also need to know how to market and sell your product. Effective communication is key to closing deals. Sales training teaches partners how to talk to consumers, address their needs, and skillfully ease any concerns they may have before making a purchase.
In-application Communication and Meetings
Strong and transparent communication about how to deal with channel partners is essential for a successful channel partnership. The foundation for successful collaboration is effective communication. That's why you need a platform like a PRM to automate all your communication workflows. Face-to-face or virtual meetings to discuss common concerns and make plans are also beneficial.
Path-to-Profitability and Quick Win Tools
A business plan is a list of objectives that are established for a predetermined time frame and will be monitored to assess the partner's performance. This is distinct from the partnership agreement, the contract you sign at the start of the relationship to specify the bounds of the legal relationship.
This plan provides you and your partner with a direction. It outlines your collaborative process, your intended outcomes, and how you'll track your development. Without it, it would be a classic case of the blind leading the blind.
Lead and Deal Registration
With a single platform, you can manage deals and leads. You can prevent many channel partners from recruiting the same lead by centrally monitoring this process. Streamline the sales process, manage data and effectiveness, and promote equity among your channel partners.
Your PRM software must have a feature called deal registration. When a channel partner tries to close a sale, they'll use this feature to avoid conflict with you or your channel partners. Because a sale can be secured for a period of time that you specify, your channel partners can prevent other parties from approaching the same customer.
Continued Support Tools
Continuous Training on the Product and Sales Processes
Continuous partner training sessions and development close knowledge gaps, promote multi-skilling, and increases the value of your partners to your business. Partner enablement programs like this increase your company's competitiveness, create room for succession and advancement, and create a team that is much more effective. So whenever you add a new feature to your product or service, set up a meeting with your partner's sales teams to upskill them.
It's a good idea to have a well-organized archive of important information about your product and business that your partners often ask about. FAQs are handy because if you give your partners an easy way to get answers to their frequently asked questions, they won't have to call or email you every time they have a question. FAQs can help you build relationships with your channel partners.
Data Insight Into Successes and Places for Improvement
With a PRM like Kiflo, you can get an overview of your partners' engagement and the resulting pipeline. Create dashboards to compare and highlight specific data points related to your partner's experience, such as revenue per partner, abandonment rates, etc. You can then use this information to come up with a strategy to help the partners who might be slacking.
Simplify co-branding by creating a separate asset library and distributing it to your partners so they can easily market and sell your products while you maintain control of your brand rules. Allow your partners to add their own logos, contact information, and other custom text to your promotional assets.
When vendors invest in partner marketing campaigns, both they and the partner benefit in the long run. Teach your channel partners the best marketing strategies that will help them reach key decision-makers.
These strategies will also keep them informed about the latest developments in B2B marketing so they can excel at marketing in your industry. Your partners will appreciate your support, and their improved skills will positively impact your bottom line.
Marketing Development Funds
Marketing Development Fund programs allow both parties to monitor spending and evaluate results while helping partners drive sales and increase demand.MDF marketing initiatives take a variety of forms in practice. Some partners use the funds to launch email marketing campaigns or create marketing materials. Others use the MDF to host webinars or run radio ads. Either way, they're very helpful in marketing your product.
Incentive Management Tools
Incentive programs for channel partners, when implemented properly, can increase sales performance and foster strong partner relationships. Every partner has different needs and desires that they hope to fulfill through collaboration, just like every buyer. It's important to develop and manage a partner incentive program that is mutually beneficial, which is critical to the success of any sales collaboration.
Digital platforms are best for creating incentive programs. For example, Kiflo can assist businesses in designing the ideal channel partner incentive program that fosters ties and loyalty.
Think carefully about each partner's needs, then gradually integrate them into your company's goals, activities, and methods to gather information about usage and participation. Also, use your platform to track rewards and incentives.
Relationship Building Tools
Scheduled Feedback Sessions
You can have a collaborative conversation that builds trust, deepens the bond, and ultimately leads to a more productive working relationship if you hold routine check-in sessions. Asking for partner feedback and performing active listening—that is, listening carefully and noticing nonverbal cues—are two good ways to foster collaboration.
Active listening also includes paraphrasing and repeating what you've said. This shows that you're engaged in the process and that you have understood them well.
Highlighting Partner’s Wins Internally
You should make sure to express your appreciation and commitment to your partners, whether it's by launching a new co-marketing campaign, reaching a certain milestone, or simply thanking them for attending your webinar. One way to do this is to mention your partner's win in the news section of your Kiflo partner portal, so everyone can share in the joy and be inspired.
Highlighting Partner’s Wins Externally
As already mentioned, when your partners have achieved something, it's good to celebrate that success internally. But external celebrations hit differently. Post them on a public platform, such as your team's chat app, blog, or email, and include a section thanking all internal participants.
Partner Enablement = Partner Empowerment
Empower your partners by giving them the tools and training they need. When you empower your partners, you can provide a smooth, consistent experience for your end customers. In doing this, keep the following in mind:
Keep it simple, easy, and autonomous: In order for the partners to start working as soon as possible, keep the process short and simple to understand. Also, keep it autonomous so that the partner can do it at their own pace.
Get feedback and use it to improve the process: Make sure that you get regular feedback from your partners. Use this feedback to improve your processes, thus making things easier for your partners.
Content is king. Provide your partner with as many resources as possible: Never underestimate the value of a really strong foundation of core content that your channel partners can share with existing and potential customers. And when we say "core content," we mean informative, entertaining, high-quality infographics, essays, and whitepapers that educate consumers, not pushy sales material.
Find ways to provide value to the partner early and often: Provide instant value to the partnership by contributing resources, funds, and labor, and simply by supporting one another in achieving your goals.
The partner is the primary focus of channel partner enablement. When you make your enablement partner-centric, you also signal that you want to make sure both parties benefit, not just your company.
The likelihood that your partner will use your brand and offering to their advantage increases if you're willing to put them at the center of your enablement by giving them information, skills, and processes that will give them an advantage.