Honeymooning that gives your channel partner what they want

Posted by Dan Kelly

Day three of Channel Focus North America (CFNA) 2019 will look at engaging, enabling and committing new partners to make the most of the honeymoon period. And asks the question: What do today’s partners really want?

The topics will be covered in a session at the 22nd anniversary of the conference, taking place this week in California. CFNA is the world’s leading event for people building and developing channels for companies in the IT and telecom industries. Our Global Development Director, Dan Kelly, who will be attending the event, gives his views.

The importance of the honeymoon period

A partnership isn’t just about acquiring a business relationship. It’s about gaining a commitment to working (and wanting to work) together. The honeymoon period of a partnership is the initial first couple of months of your working relationship. Like any relationship, it’s a time when anticipation, excitement and hopes are high. Your partner anticipates a strong working relationship with you. They are excited to be working with you and have high hopes for the future.

These are all positive things, but the mood can quickly turn if you don’t deliver on your promises (or show your intentions of doing so) right from the start. The honeymoon period is the time to turn up the dial and ensure a partner’s expectations are not just met, but exceeded, and they aren’t left feeling disappointed and deflated. Otherwise they’re likely to quickly lose interest, focus on the other vendors they sell for, and consider their options.

To achieve that, you need to give your partner what they want.

What do channel partners want?

You should think about your partner team as you would employees of your company, because what either wants is similar. For instance, just like an employee, a partner:

  • Wants to be listened to
  • Wants to feel understood
  • Wants to feel important
  • Wants to feel appreciated
  • Wants to feel supported
  • Wants you to help them learn
  • Wants you to show them (not tell them) what to do

Each of these individual “wants” contributes to part of the process in engaging and enabling a new partner. Actively achieving them is what can ensure they quickly become committed to working with you.

You should think about your partner team as you would employees of your company, because what either wants is similar.

Learn more about our channel incentive schemes

Giving your partner what they want

Firstly, to even attempt to fulfil everything your partner wants, you need to first get to know them and give them your time. Understand how they typically operate, how their employees work best, what motivates them and what makes them tick.

Secondly, consider creating a personalised journey and tailoring an incentive to suit your partner, which will come from getting to know them. I talked about this in my previous article about my views on other topics being discussed at this year’s Channel Focus – Keeping channel incentives relevant and personalising your partner programs.

Finally, it’s about making things easy. For example, giving a partner easy to use tools for learning, so teams get to know your brand without too much inconvenience, and rewarding them for doing so.

A reseller will sell what is easy and what makes them more money. It’s worth keeping in mind that there are plenty of other vendors for your reseller to sell for, so if you don’t make things easy for them, they are likely to go to a vendor that will.

Getting your honeymoon period started with a bang

When it comes to a channel partnership, a vendor’s C-suite have visibility of the details, but individuals on the channel partner’s sales teams most likely won’t. A good way to engage such individuals into your partnership is to make a big deal about it and get it started with a bang.

An effective way to do this is with a sales floor day, or sales team incentive event, which aim to help maintain momentum.

A launch event could be set up for your partner to include things like mini sales competitions based around your offering. While this provides a fun way to motivate your channel’s salespeople to sell your products, it creates brand awareness, makes them aware of the products they will sell, and draws attention to the formation of the partnership.

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Helping you give your channel partners what they want

In thinking about the honeymoon period with a channel partner and answering the question as to what they really want today – up for discussion at Channel Focus North America 2019 – they want to be treated as you would be expected to treat any new employee. Engaging, enabling and committing a new partner is about making them feel they’re one of your own. And, in doing this, you need to get to know them, personalise your incentive programs, and make things easy.

Our channel incentive programs are designed with all this in mind, from tailoring incentive schemes to show you’re listening to a reseller, to educating and rewarding channel sales teams to better understand and incentivise them to sell your products effectively.

At CR Worldwide, we can quickly design, launch and optimise effective channel incentive programs that drive increased sales for your business. Our channel incentive schemes are: 

Easy to implement — Our turnkey MyRewards platform can be tailored to suit your requirements, meaning you can be ready to implement an incentive program quickly.

Easy to use — Our platforms are made to be quick to launch and easy to understand, so your sales channel teams can meet their targets, view potential rewards, and chart their progress towards winning them.

Easy to manage — Our programs offer real-time reporting in participation with ROI and budget management. This makes managing, organising, tracking performance and assessing the value of your channel incentive schemes simple.

We’d love to excite, engage and inspire your sales channel partners with our channel incentive programs. To speak to a member of our award-winning team:

As a founding partner of CR Worldwide in 2002, Dan helped develop the company from a start-up business into the multi-million global brand it is today.