The Quick Guide to Partner

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1 QUICK GUIDE Optimize Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding The Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding

2 #channelchoices The Relayware Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding 2 INTRODUCTION Recruiting the right channel partners for your business is not always the easiest of tasks. It can take a lot of time, thought and effort to get it right. And, once you ve worked hard to recruit, you need your partners to maximize their sales potential and indeed want to sell your products / services above those of your competition. But where do you start? Today, indirect channel programs themselves have to be the differentiator, to motivate partners to work with you, rather than your competitors This quick guide will help you plan and navigate your way through your partner recruitment campaign, while offering best practice for your essential on-boarding strategy, allowing you to get it right first time: 1. Channel Programs as a Differentiator 2. Your Recruitment Campaign Defined 3. Best Practice Partner On-Boarding 4. On a Last Note

3 #channelchoices The Relayware Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding 3 1. Channel Programs as a Differentiator Do you remember those days when companies were able to throw together a few deliverables that were cheap and easy to assemble, dress them up with a logo and brand name and get buy in? Times have changed, business is now more challenging then ever. It was fine when the market was less crowded, less competitive and companies could differentiate themselves through their unique technology. But in the age of technology commoditization and convergence most are now lacking the means to compel their indirect channels to work with them simply because their product is the best or the only one available. In this day and age, channel programs themselves have to be the differentiator and through them, a company needs to convey actions as well as words that motivate indirect channels to work with them rather than their competitors. In essence, your partners want to hear that you will: Develop products or services that are superior to your competitors Create a desire within your mutual customers to buy new products / services or upgrade from existing ones Invest in demand generation Score them Make customers receptive to buying your products and your brand Direct customers their way Direct them to potential customers Minimize channel conflict Provide the necessary information, education, tools and resources to assist your indirect channels in marketing, selling and if necessary supporting your products Ensure that the sale of your products / services will prove to be a profitable enterprise Make it easy for channel partners to augment your product / services offering with complimentary products and value added services

4 #channelchoices The Relayware Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding 4 Ensure your products / services deliver on their promise, that they are of merchantable quality and reliability and encourage repeat purchases Throughout, be easy to do business with and treat your channels with integrity and respect A company needs to convey actions as well as words that motivate their channel to work with them out of preference. Facilitate collaboration between you and your channels and among your channel communities Communicate with them when, how and how often they choose to be communicated with Provide easy access to the information, tools and resources they need to be successful The above constitutes your program value proposition. As you can imagine, many of these expectations depend on having a great product, but that isn t necessarily the case. In fact if you get the other elements of your value proposition right and implement them better than you competitors, it is possible to have inferior products / services but a far more dedicated and motivated channel then they do. At this point there are two important principles to remember: The best recruitment campaign in the world will fail if your partner program is not compelling The notion of build it and they will come having the best program but failing to market it and proactively and systematically drive recruitment will also fail

5 #channelchoices The Relayware Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding 5 2. Your Recruitment Campaign Defined OK, let s get down to it. You need to recruit your channel partners like you would a member of your own company or team. Think like a hiring manager. Any other approach would be limiting. You need to start by documenting the following: What s the purpose of creating this role? What s the context to the appointment? What are the goals of hiring this individual (fiscal or otherwise)? What resources are to be made available to the individual to assist them in achieving their goals? Which target markets or customer segments will they focus on? Who will they report to? How will their performance be monitored and reviewed? How will good performance be rewarded and poor performance addressed? What will compensation and benefits look like? By what contractual obligations will the employer and employee be bound? Why should the candidate join you instead of another company? You also need, of course, to establish a candidate profile and a brief to the recruiter. Spending time thinking all this through will reap dividends, ensuring you recruit the right partners for your channel. Equally, you should not embark on a partner recruitment campaign without ensuring that you are clear on all of the following points: Why are you looking to recruit new channel partners? What does it mean for your existing channel ecosystem?

6 #channelchoices The Relayware Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding 6 What is the context for the campaign? What is it you want your new partners to do for you? What targets will be set (if any)? How will you establish joint business plans and ensure implementation? What resources will be made available to new partners to assist them in achieving your shared goals? Which markets or customer segments should they be targeted upon? How will the indirect channel make profit from the relationship and how much? What other benefits are on offer? By what contractual obligations will the employer and employee be bound? How will good performance be rewarded and poor performance addressed? How will their performance be monitored and reviewed? Who will be responsible for managing the relationship? Who s their point of contact? What makes your package of offerings better than any other company with whom you are competing for the indirect channel s attention? What channels of communication will be used to drive the campaign? Ultimately, your aim is the same to recruit the best channel partner organizations, sales people and marketers to work, albeit indirectly for you, to help you take your products to market at the expense and exclusion of your competition. If you think of it this way, your recruitment campaign will proceed with greater vigor ad purpose and both you and your potential candidates will have a much clearer understanding of your objectives. Recruitment Process Whether you adopt the big bang approach to launching a new partner program with an accompany public relations campaign or the more low key approach of augmenting your

7 #channelchoices The Relayware Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding 7 existing partner-base as part of your existing program, it s important to preface any communication with messages reinforcing the points we have just examined. Your must set the context of the recruitment: Why you are doing it What is will mean for you What it will mean for existing channel partners And most importantly what it will mean for and how it will benefit those partners you are trying to recruit Let s now focus on creating a low cost and efficient means of inviting partners to join you and processing their applications. Mediums There is no doubt that has been the de facto standard communication medium for many years but it is in decline and also statistically weak in generating responses. Spam filters and security software have exacerbated the problem. By contrast, Social Media has exploded in popularity as a communication medium. It has a role in channel recruitment in three ways: 1. As a medium for promoting membership of your program in general terms 2. As a means of viral dissemination of your program and associated value proposition 3. As a means of new recruits re-messaging their participation in your program to their own social networks The first two can be achieved through any concerted social marketing campaigns. The latter requires the necessary social through-marketing technology such as Relayware.

8 #channelchoices The Relayware Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding 8 Targeted Campaigns You must remember in order to have whole companies partner with you, you must start by recruiting individuals companies don t form relationships with other companies people do. It is essential therefore that you gather accurate contact information; names, job roles, addresses, social ID s etc. if you are to target the right people with the right message. Sales people will have different motivations to join your program to those of a marketer or support person. You must play to these motivations effectively in your communications if you are to succeed in making your campaign above average in terms of response. This means that you will need to engage in targeted and personalized campaigns using every conceivable communication channel including online, and social media, segmented by organization type, market focus type and job role type and so on communicating multiple value propositions to each. This takes time and effort but the results will be worthwhile. Communications should direct the individual ideally to an online or mobile registration point within which you can gather more information about them, populate and enrich your database, while ascertaining if your judgment in inviting them to join you was correct. The same registration point must be available via your corporate website to catch stray applications that you may not have invited or who missed your recruitment campaign first time around. By now you will have devised your partner selection and segmentation criteria. You may now begin the process of mapping applicants against them and either approving or rejecting their application. This can be a time consuming and arduous task, which is best automated, especially if your campaign has been a broad one. Needless to say, ensure you have the necessary systems and / or business processes in place before you begin.

9 #channelchoices The Relayware Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding 9 3. Best Practice Partner On-Boarding Imagine for a minute that you are going on a first date with someone in which you have a vague but as of yet unqualified interest. Half way through your appetizer your date starts talking about taking a long vacation together or having children. It would leave you feeling most uncomfortable and ready to run! Channel partner development is a lot like dating. Move to too fast, too soon and the relationship may come to an abrupt end leaving you wondering what you did wrong. Partners talk often about companies who initiated a recruitment campaign promising a commitment to a long-term strategic partnership. They committed to providing a range of benefits, information, tools and resources to help them profit from the relationship. But the minute they expressed their interest, the company insisted on training them, certifying them, setting revenue targets and joint business planning. They want them to close poorly qualified sales leads and register deals. Incentive programs followed and meanwhile partners want to flee! So, what is a new recruit likely to ask you? I m interested in partnering with you - what now? I may have a short-term requirement to sell your products but let s see how it goes I bought into your value proposition but I need to see how you deliver I like your story but let s experience the substance I don t like or I m loosing interest in your competitor, can you do better? You get the idea. What you do in the coming weeks and months will set the tone for the coming years. Prematurely introducing programs or initiatives that require partners to make more commitment than they are ready to give, or which requires them to make investments that you can t or won t match, may turn them off. Before channel partners

10 #channelchoices The Relayware Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding 10 can reasonably be expect to be proactively selling or marketing your products, you need to nurture them through a number of steps. The relationship lifecycle illustrates the steps to consider: Before you can optimize indirect channel performance, you need to be able to manage and measure performance Before you can manage and measure performance, you need to be able to provide adequate service and support to facilitate it Before you can provide service and support for sales, marketing and customer service activity, you need to facilitate collaboration in those and other areas Before you can collaborate on sales, marketing and customer services, partners must be sufficiently motivated and / or incentivized to work with you Before you can incentivize and build loyalty with partners, you need to have adequately developed and enabled them to perform the tasks you require of them And before you enable them, you need to recruit and then on-board them so they feel sufficiently ready, willing and able to invest the time, money and resources necessary Going back to the earlier analogy of on-boarding as a courtship. A succession of small steps taken at the partners own pace towards a close and lasting partnership in which both parties have made a significant investment of some sort has to be the way forward. Really well executed on-boarding strategies work like this: Immediately after registration, send them portal and (if you have one)

11 #channelchoices The Relayware Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding 11 mobile app download instructions and login credentials together with a soft welcome pack Prepare your portal and mobile app so that they display welcome content and short video tutorials on how to work with the company Consider a how to use our online tools and resources video tutorial Invite them to update their profile and share their own interests in the partnership to help your targeting If they don t engage immediately, be prepared to follow up very frequently by automated time-triggered mail, push messaging and by telephone in those early days while they still remember why they took the first step After the first portal or mobile visit, track their activity constantly. Applying scoring and nurturing techniques to segment your channel base into usage / engagement / activity-level groups and target them with communications designed to increase activity Make ongoing use of time- and event-triggered communications e.g. they did X today, so in Y days they will receive Z, using and social updates Use social media to deliver short teaser messages video clips on YouTube, Tweets and photos on Facebook, but always take them from there to your portal to access the full story where you can track their activity Introduce next steps at a pace that s suitable to use the usage / engagement / activity-level group Introduce training gently. No tests, certification or anything too onerous to begin with. Get them used to watching short, interesting video clips of no more than 5 minutes to wet their appetite Ensure that there s a tangible benefit for them in completing any task that is consumptive of their time and resources Re-enforce the partnership value proposition regularly Ensure that portal / mobile content is tailored not just to channel partner organization and individual profile but to an individuals usage /

12 #channelchoices The Relayware Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding 12 engagement / activity-level. Partners should see content that feels like it was created for them Content should be designed to encourage them to take the next step in the relationship Encourage them to enroll in and interact with your communities Keep communicating regularly with messaging and content relevant to their usage / engagement / activity-level group designed to lead them into the next stage of the partnership If they falter or appear to have lost interest, you may be moving too fast or too slowly for them Re-engage directly and ask them for their feedback so that you may understand what you can do better to help them to the next level. Effective on-boarding costs time and money. But it s worth every penny and every moment you invest. Because if you fail to execute well, the rest of your program will typically have an audience of less than 20% of your channel partner base. The remainder will fall by the wayside and most likely they will be working proactively with your competitors. Statistically, partners who are well nurtured during the first 6 months stay with you and go on to deliver higher performance for longer. The key to long-term success however is how well you take the next step, enablement and development - watch out for our next Quick Guide. You now have a model to build and execute your own successful channel partner recruitment and on-boarding campaigns. Execution and delivery are now the key to expanding your sales, growth and return on channel investment. So, don t delay. Make it a priority to initiate change in the way you recruitment and retain your partners. We d love to hear your success stories, so don t forget to share!

13 #channelchoices The Relayware Quick Guide to Partner Recruitment & On-Boarding On a Last Note Relayware is a SaaS based Partnering Automation company and can help you simplify, coordinate and optimize your channel partner management on many fronts, not just recruiting and on-boarding partners. Some of the leading global companies including Lenovo, Sony, Tata and many more deploy Relayware as their Partnering Automation solution. So, whether you want to enhance your: Partner Portal Partner Sales Partner Marketing Partner Training... there's a packaged solution ready for you. And best of all, it integrates seamlessly with your CRM system and is priced in a way that lets you choose what s right for you right now, yet scale as your business grows and evolves. Simply call us on for more information or visit our website Don t forget to download your copy of The Quick Guide to Partner Motivation and The Quick Guide to Partner Engagement below: Engagement Guide Motivation Guide About Relayware Relayware is a leading SaaS-based partnering automation company, serving hi-tech, manufacturing, telecommunications, financial services and insurance companies around the world. Providing a comprehensive range of partner-centric applications, including partner portals, training, sales and marketing packs that unlock the key to partner productivity. Relayware delivers greater Partner engagement, productivity and return on indirect channel investment. At the core of Relayware is the Partner Cloud, a platform for deploying and integrating the communication tools that simplify and extend partner processes beyond the enterprise.

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