Preparation is key. A well-established plan for partner recruitment is crucial to success before you even initiate a partner recruitment conversation.
Developing a Channel Partner Recruitment Plan for Your Target Buyer
Many organizations and channel executives will make the mistake of “winging it”. Approaching a potential partner with little to no preparation will make establishing the partnership and moving forward more difficult and potentially less beneficial for both parties. Allow me to explain how to build a partner recruitment strategy that will lead to happy partner relationships and revenue growth.
Key Areas Where Partner Recruitment Goes Wrong
- Passive vs. Proactive Recruitment. Don’t wait for partners to come to you. Go out and find partners that will help your business as well as benefit from a relationship with your organization.
- Assuming the Most Obvious Channels are the Right Channels. Sometimes there is a better option. Don’t always jump on the first thing you see – there may be something better.
- Being Casual About Channel Partner Selection and Evaluation. Having strict selection criteria will help you determine which partner channels will work best for you and your company.
- Assuming Partners that were an Ideal Fit are Still a Perfect Fit. It’s as important to go out and find new partners as it is to continue re-assessing your current partner relationships.
- Assuming More Partners = More Sales. “The more the merrier” does not apply to partner sales channels. A larger number of partners does not always mean more sales with no downside risk. Closely monitor the successes and failures of your partner channels to ensure they are the right partners for your business and improve on the weaker areas.
The Recommended Process for Building a Channel Partner Recruitment Plan
There are three key phases for building a partner recruitment plan that will help you hit your revenue goals:
Phase 1 – Establish a Target Buyer Profile. Understand the benefits and the offering of your product. Which customers are more inclined to purchase your product? When and where are they going to buy it? Building an effective target buyer profile lets a supplier know exactly what they need from a partner to offer their customers what they want in the most cost-effective way.
Phase 2 – Identify the Ideal Partner Profile. Which types of partners mesh best with your target buyer and your product and brand? The layout of specific criteria and guidelines for partner recruitment allows a supplier to find partners that support their priorities and also reaches target buyers most effectively.
Phase 3 – Figure Out the Necessary Partner Coverage Model. How many partners are required? Where should these partners be located? Are you working strictly with online partners, in-person retail partners, or a combination of both? To figure out your coverage model, work on finding the answer to this question: “How do we maximize the supplier’s ability to reach our target buyers without over-saturating the market?”
- Effective recruitment planning will always begin with an understanding of a supplier’s target buyer.
- What does a customer expect in order to be satisfied? The answer to this question will help you - a supplier - know what a channel partner needs in order to perform successfully.
- Strictly selecting and qualifying the right partners is more important than recruiting a large number of partners.
- In addition to partner recruitment, make sure you are working to enable the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of your current partners.
- Organize, plan, and prepare for partner recruitment conversations. Jumping into negotiations without a plan will lead to stagnant revenue.