If you’ve teamed up with channel partners to help increase your revenue, boost brand awareness, and bring in new customers, you’ve tapped into something with tremendous potential.
At the same time, though, if your channel partners aren’t driven to push your products, you can be left in a frustrating position. After investing so much in setting up your program, you’re not reaping the expected benefits.
Don’t worry– you can always do things to motivate your channel partners.
In this article, we’ll closely examine what you need to know about successful channel partnerships and the strategies you can use to ensure that your partners are highly motivated and driven toward an outcome that aligns with your goals.
What Are Channel Partners?
A channel partnership occurs when a company partners with another organization to sell or market its technologies, products, or services.
Also referred to as channel intermediaries or channel resellers, these individuals or organizations act as a sort of bridge between a brand and the end consumer.
There are lots of different forms of channel partners, including:
- Value-added resellers
- System integrators
- Service providers
- Independent sales organizations
- Distributor reps
Essentially, your channel partners are individuals or organizations that act as an extension of your sales team.
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How to Motivate Channel Partners in 2023
Fostering mutually beneficial and productive relationships is essential to any successful channel partnership. Let’s look at some strategies you can use to motivate your partners and reap the benefits.
Make Sure Your Goals Are Aligned
If you want to motivate your channel partners, first, you’ll want to ensure you have aligned goals right from the get-go. When you and your channel partners have goals that align with one another, it will help you build strong, long-lasting relationships. If they win when you win, you’ll find they are much more motivated to perform at their best.
When you and your channel partner have aligned goals, they naturally choose to promote your products over your competitors. As a part of aligning goals, it’s important to clarify communication.
Invest in Training Programs
Online training programs can be another great way to motivate channel partners. If you successfully create a well-structured training program, you can build a program that consistently delivers a beneficial result for you and your partners.
You can use these training programs to ensure your partners deeply understand your products and services. Beyond that, they’ll understand how to sell them to customers most effectively.
You can also provide technical training to your partners if your services or products require technical knowledge. This ensures that they have a firm grasp of the technical aspects and can provide useful guidance to customers.
While one-time training is better than nothing, delivering ongoing education to touch upon industry trends, upgrades, or new features is the best option. Channel partners that are armed with knowledge about your product and brand will be much more motivated and confident when it comes to promoting your offerings.
You can use many different training delivery methods depending on your needs. For example, you could utilize virtual tools to put on webinars, video tutorials, online courses, and more. On the other hand, you might hold in-person training sessions when your partners are local or even embrace a hybrid model that touches upon the best of both worlds.
You can even offer badges and certifications to help give channel partners a little extra boost when completing your training program. For example, you can create badges that can be easily shared on social media for them to display their qualifications. This can be motivating because it helps give them proof of knowledge and maybe even a competitive edge.
Depending on your channel partnership program’s size, you can even set up a scenario where your channel partners train other channel partners. Essentially, this works by selecting a group of channel partners and training them on conducting training sessions. They can then deliver the training material to other partners, ensuring the message and content are consistent throughout the network.
Are you wondering how you can help urge partners and employees to get psyched about training? Check out our guide to incentivized training programs.
Offer Attractive Rewards and Incentives
Another excellent and effective way to motivate your channel partners is to develop and implement incentive programs. This way, they can receive rewards when they meet certain milestones or specific targets.
There are many different options for incentives, including commissions, bonuses, exclusive rewards, or even discounts on products. When creating your incentive program, you’ll want to set realistic and measurable goals that align with your objectives and those of your channel partners.
Check out our guide to learn more about channel incentive programs and how they work.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Keeping in touch and ensuring the communication lines are open can also help boost your channel partners. You won’t just want to make sure that your business goals are clearly communicated, as well as your expectations, but you’ll also want to regularly share updates, relevant news, product information, and anything else that will help them stay informed and engaged.
Creating an environment of open communication is also essential for building trust. The more your partners feel that you are responsive, forthcoming, and honest, the greater likelihood they will feel loyal to your brand and maintain the motivation to work toward your shared goals.
You’ll also want to make sure that you give your partners a means through which they can offer feedback. Don’t just passively set up a “suggestion box” of sorts– actively seek out their input. The more they can tell that their experience is important to you, the more motivated they will be to give their all to the partnership.
Finally, you’ll also want to make sure that you recognize and celebrate the achievements of the channel partners–individually and as a group. You can publicly celebrate them through social media, dedicated events, or company newsletters. This can be a huge morale boost while providing a healthy dose of the competitive spirit.
Over Top-Tier Support
You can support your channel partners in several ways, all of which can motivate them toward your shared goals. For example, you could engage in simple check-in calls or emails or run complete promotional solutions.
Ultimately, the most important thing is that your partners are well aware that you are always available if they need you. Let them know your door is always open and you’re there to offer support. It is remarkable how much more willing a partner will be to work with someone willing to offer full support, even if they never call upon your help.
Searching for some inspiration to help you motivate your team and partners? Check out our list of the best engagement quotes.
Finally, it’s also important to make sure that you are keeping an eye on the predetermined goals you and your partners have agreed upon. Giving them access to this information can help them gain motivation by better understanding how they can improve. Beyond that, this can also help them see how they are contributing to the overall success of your brand and get a better sense of their place within the brand ecosystem.
Tracking and sharing progress also provides transparency to channel partners, an essential ingredient for building trust. This helps them understand that the evaluation process is fair while also providing insight into their performance as well as the overall success of the partnership.
Keeping tabs on your channel partnership program isn’t just important for motivating partners. It can also help you have the information you need to objectively evaluate the program. By collecting and monitoring key performance indicators such as customer satisfaction metrics or sales revenue, you can identify areas for improvement and fairly judge the effectiveness of the partnership.
Is it time to give your employees a little motivational boost, too? Check out our recent post about group incentive plans.
What Are the Benefits of Channel Partnerships?
The results can be remarkable when you successfully execute a channel partnership. Let’s look at some of the most compelling benefits of teaming up with others to sell your products and services.
The most obvious benefit of channel partnership programs is that they can help increase your revenue. This can be a win-win situation– your channel partners succeed when they help your business succeed.
Your partners will work to actively promote your products or services while leveraging their existing audience and sales channels. In return, you can enjoy higher sales volumes and revenue growth.
Another great reason to engage in channel partnerships is that it can help to boost your visibility and trust in your brand. This is particularly true when a well-known company or individual endorse your product.
As soon as your brand is associated with a highly trusted entity, new potential customers suddenly see your product as trustworthy and appealing.
You tap into a new relationship network whenever you create a new partnership. All of a sudden, the users and partners of your partner become a part of your ecosystem. Not only can this increase sales and brand awareness right now, but it can also lead the way to new opportunities down the road.
Another great thing about channel partnerships is that your partners often have deep knowledge of local markets. This means they’ll have insight into customer preferences, regulatory requirements, and cultural nuances in a way that allows them to tailor their sales pitch to your product or service to their specific region.
When you have a number of channel partners paired up with one channel manager, you can bring in the same profits you could with a team of salespeople at just a fraction of the cost.
In general, it’s also usually easier to bring on new partners than it is to find the perfect new salesperson, particularly once your program is all set up and seamless.
It’s common for channel partners to offer localized customer support, including technical assistance, pre-sale consultations, and post-sales support. This can help to build trust among your growing audience and enhance the customer experience.
The assistance your customers receive can be timely and personalized, all while freeing up your employees’ resources to focus on other important matters.
Finally, another perk of channel partnerships is that they allow you to get quick results from low-risk tests.
You can test out new promotions, customer audiences, marketing campaigns, and products in a fairly controlled environment.
Are You Ready to Incentivize Your Channel Partners?
If you want your channel partnership to be as successful as possible, you’ll want to give your partners reasons to push your products and services. Several ways to motivate channel partners include ensuring your goals align, giving them ample training, and offering full support.
At the end of the day, though, offering incentives can be one of the most powerful ways to produce the motivation you’re looking for.
Is it time to increase your revenue and boost brand awareness by motivating your channel partners? Are you brainstorming ways to give your sales team a little boost? Curious to learn about ways you can reward your customers for their loyalty?
No matter what your incentive needs are, we’re here to help. Level 6 has been a leader in custom programs for nearly twenty years, and we’d love to help you create the perfect program that suits the needs of your organization, employees, customers, and channel partners.
If you’re ready to get started, schedule a call with us today.
Do you have any questions about what channel partnerships are, how to motivate a channel partner, the benefits of channel partnerships, or anything else we mentioned in this article? If so, please feel free to contact us at any time. We’d be more than happy to get a discussion going on any of the above topics and would love to assist you however we can. You can find our contact information right over here.
Claudine is the Chief Relationship Officer at Level 6. She holds a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology. Her experience includes working as a certified conflict mediator for the United States Postal Service, a human performance analyst for Accenture, an Academic Dean, and a College Director. She is currently an adjunct Professor of Psychology at Southern New Hampshire University. With over 20 years of experience, she joined Level 6 to guide clients seeking effective ways to change behavior and, ultimately, their bottom line.