Channel partners, Channel partner programs

Four Secrets to Effective Channel Partner Recruitment

Author: Heather Margolis
Author: Heather Margolis

Channel Partner recruitment is fairly simple if your goal is to sign up as many random Partners as you can in hopes a portion of them sell your solutions. Sure, you give them onboarding support, assign a Partner-facing team member, provide assets and probably a portal, but are those enough to move the needle on the 80/20 conversation?

Based on challenges we hear from Vendors, it’s not. Depending upon your list size, let’s say recruitment endeavors net 2,000 new Partners but only 10 percent (200) actually do something the first year. Ugh. But wait – it gets worse. Two years later only 20 of those 200 are still actively selling.

It’s time to rethink Partner recruitment

With a 1 percent enablement rate, it’s easy to see that the “old way” isn’t working or if it is working it’s not even close to efficient. Neither of those options are a good for business. Vendors, if you want working recruitment strategies (and please don’t forget every channel is unique), we recommend these top “dos” and “don’ts” as a starting point:

1. Don’t Dial for Dollars

Salespeople across the board have virtually stopped strictly cold calling and for good reason. It doesn’t work anymore. Most of us won’t answer the phone especially if we don’t know you. This holds true in sales, including recruitment so, don’t cold call Partners in the hopes that they’ll respond positively or at all.

2. Don’t Cast a Wide Net

Yes, there are hundreds or thousands of Partners who might be somewhat interested in listening to your Channel Program story. It might be tempting to engage them all and hope for the best, but chances are a large portion aren’t a good fit for the short term health of your Channel let alone the future. It’s important for your long term growth to hone in on which Partners will be right for your business before doing any sort of outreach.

3. Do Create Partner Personas

Before prospecting for a new set of Partners, it’s important to know exactly who you’re looking for. Maybe it’s a solution provider with XYZ certification that covers this-or-that region of the US and EMEA. Or maybe it’s an MSP that already manages ABC-services and yours would be a good fit to augment their offerings. Be as specific and descriptive as possible when developing Partner personas and remember, it’s okay to have multiple personas. Taking the time to go through the steps will result in better qualified, more effective, and engaged Partners from day one.

4. Do Use Inbound Recruitment Strategies

Everyone wants to feel like they’re in charge of making their own good decisions. An inbound recruitment campaign works by showing and telling the story of how prospective Partners will benefit from your program. Remember, If you make it about them (not you) they will understand why partnership is right for their business and the stage will be set for success, the time to fail will be shorter, and they’ll be much more effective in the long run.

Well-aligned Partners drive successful channel organizations and alignment begins with recruitment. For more information on developing recruitment strategies for your unique Channel, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Heather K. Margolis is CEO of Channel Maven Consulting. Read more Channel Maven Consulting blogs here.