How to run a channel partner summit

Posted by Jo Kelly

Whether you’re a big manufacturer or a technology developer that supplies one or more channels partners, you’ll want to make sure they are equipped and inspired to sell your offering and help take your business further.

Holding a channel partner summit can be a great way to bring the staff of your channels and business together under one large roof to achieve this. This blog explains what to think about when running these types of engaging events.

What are your objectives?

When running a channel partner summit, you should first think about your key objectives. What are they and what do you hope to achieve in having you and your partners together under one roof?

To ensure engagement and hold people’s interest, you should include areas that your channel partners would like to see. In having access to your team, your experience and expertise, what would they want to learn from you? What you think they would hope to take from the summit? This can help you put together a valuable and engaging itinerary.

Aims and objectives they might want you to include are:

  • Explain the business strategies to develop their companies and grow together with you
  • Allow their staff to gather new knowledge, inspire confidence and enthusiasm for your products
  • Share your knowledge about addressing customers’ needs for staff to improve their sales techniques and performance
  • Provide opportunities to network and connect with your team of experts
  • Showcase and demonstrate your latest products to feel educated and inspired to sell more
  • Provide their staff with expert training, such as technical details about your technology
  • Encourage staff to leave feeling valued, empowered and inspired to do more for them and, in turn, for you

To find out what your partners want, it’s wise to ask them. Perhaps send out a survey to get an idea of the main areas and topics to cover or build this into the event feedback at the end of your last partner event, so you know what improvements could be made or what to focus on next.

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Initial things to consider

Theme – Keeping a theme and a strong strapline in mind is important when running a channel partner summit. It can help with everything from emphasising your objectives to shaping your itinerary. It can also put your partners in the right mindset to, for instance, feel empowered, if your conference is about power, or to develop and grow if it is about ascending

Venue – You should think about a venue that will comfortably hold delegates and the staff of your company and your channel partners but will leave all attendees feeling engaged and inspired. You could also choose somewhere unique that peaks partners interest in wanting to attend. Or if you keep to the same venue, ensure you brand it differently and make a new point of interest, so partners want to return to the summit each year.

Location ­– It’s a good idea to choose a city that’s accessible to your channel partners from across all regions, while representing your company and reflecting your themes and ideas. This could be a top tech city, like Tel Aviv, if you’re a technology developer, for instance. Partners will thank you, by having direct flight links and easy connections.

Event staff – You should consider having a team of staff to help run your event. This can involve jobs ranging from welcoming attendees and assisting with catering to handling security, all to help your channel partner staff feel they’re in good hands.

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Activities and itinerary

The activities that you include in your channel partner summit are what can make the event fully effective. Keeping your aims and objectives in mind, based on what think your partners want, can help you come up with activities that will keep attendees engaged, hold their interest, and meet their needs.

Examples of activities that could do this include:

  • Technical demos – Showcasing your latest technology or products and explaining their USPs, features and benefits
  • Breakout sessions – Allowing your partners to discuss key issues with you and each other
  • One-on-one meetings – The chance for a partner employee to discuss key issues with one of your key members of staff, like a product developer
  • Keynote speeches – Insightful talks given by staff on your board of directors, such as a speech about the latest industry challenges from your managing director
  • Networking events – Allowing channel partner staff to wine, dine and network with your employees, such as a welcome reception or a gala dinner

There are other ways you can add value to your channel partner summit to encourage attendees to leave feeling appreciated, empowered and inspired. This includes adding:

Themed refreshments and leisure – Like a smoothie bar, coffee station and massage chairs to make staff partners feel looked after

Technology – Such as a virtual reality experience or gaming stations to excite and inspire attendees. To learn more about this, read our blog How technology can transform your partner summit.

Entertainment events – Like a rock concert or a local pop act performing their biggest hits. This can allow your staff and channel partner employees to socialise and dance the night away, all while ending your event on a high.

Helping you run an effective channel partner summit

Running a channel partner summit is an effective way to engage your channel partner staff in everything from your brand and mission statement to your ideas and innovations. Doing this can ensure your channels are equipped and engaged to do and sell more for you and make you a leader in your market sector.

At CR Worldwide, we can quickly, plan and implement a range of events, including conferences and partner summits. Our events are:

Engaging – We aim to enhance loyalty and performance, increase company awareness, and create an emotional bond with your brand.

Easy to manage – With a team of dedicated managers to run and host your event, who provide exciting activities and experiences, we do the hard work for you.

Easy to implement – They can be easily set up and planned, tailored to suit your staff and meet your needs and business goals.

We’d love to excite, engage and inspire your staff with our events services. To speak to a member of our award-winning team:

Jo has worked at CR Worldwide as Events Operations Director since 2004. She is responsible for scoping and delivering all types of events, for clients of all sizes, globally. She manages the division’s team who organise and execute award-winning events – ranging from one-off sales floor days, corporate hospitality events and incentive travel trips, to annual conferences and partner summits.