Creating a standout image of your brand or business starts the moment you get in touch with potential partners during the recruitment process. Setting up an effective onboarding process is an important part of giving your new partners a good and lasting impression of your company. It is a reflection of your company’s reputation and can play a part in whether or not partners take you seriously.
Are you thoughtful, organized, flexible, generous, and committed to taking your brand to the top? Or are you disorganized, thoughtless, disrespectful, mean, and don’t care about your partners? Whatever the case is, be sure to bring your qualities into your onboarding process.
If you are intent on ensuring that your best partners don’t leave you and spread information about what a bad company you are to partner with, then it is imperative that you create a partner onboarding checklist to make your new partners’ time at your company worth every second.
Without wasting much time, let’s look into what a smooth partner onboarding checklist should have in 2021.
An Appropriate Welcome
In business, setting the right tone with your partners is essential. First impressions can go a long way after your partners sign the necessary paperwork. While the beginnings of most great partnerships are characterized by optimism, it is still advisable to be on the lookout for potential elements of setback during onboarding. Take advantage of the wealth of enthusiasm that comes with the beginning of the partnership.
Use a channel partner welcome kit to kick-off the partnership on the right note. Ensure that the welcome kit contains clear, intentional, and comprehensive instructions. It should also carry an official letter welcoming the partners. The goal is to, as soon as the partnership is official, help the partners settle in without having problems figuring out what next to do. The sooner you get your partners up and about, the more momentum you can build.
A Kick-off Call
Be sure to schedule kick-off calls with your new partners as soon as possible. This way, you will be able to ensure accountability. The kick-off call is essential because it plays a huge role in setting the tone for the partnership. The value of company buy-in cannot be overstated, and that makes the inclusion of VP and executive-level leadership crucial (shows your investment in the partnership).
Use this period to introduce the new partners to your PRM and chosen resources that help sales efforts. Customizing portals will make each partner feel prioritized. Provide effective, updated resources to help your partners with sales and boost their selling confidence. The sooner your partners get comfortable, the faster they deliver impressive results.
It is possible to do partner onboarding virtually. Usually, partner onboarding would be a mixture of virtual and in-person meetings. With the latest breakthroughs in technology, it is now possible to use video platforms, such as Zoom, to make the virtual onboarding experience smooth. PRM can be used to automate processes such as marketing material distribution, creating learning tracks, and deal registration.
The best partnerships usually have some form of incentive programs to help trigger specific selling behaviors. These behaviors include early access to opportunities, lead generation, and marketing opportunities.
SPIFFs: A SPIFF is an incentive program that is geared toward channel partners to increase sales activities. SPIFFs are time-sensitive, and they strengthen relationships between manufacturers and retailers. For the most part, SPIFF programs are created to improve performance, engage salespeople, and push a specific set of products.
MDFs: MDFs are marketing funds that businesses allocate to their channel partners. Companies with channel programs understand the importance of complementing their partners’ marketing efforts. It is advisable to actively invest MDFs into activities with the highest ROI.
Long before your channel partner is expected to start delivering sales and servicing your products, you should be building the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that they will need to achieve success.
Bear in mind that a good PRM software system, with an embedded LMS, can help equip your partners with whatever they need to hit the ground running.
New partner service certifications, ramp-up curricula, product knowledge, and much more can be effectively delivered virtually through the Internet. There isn’t such a thing as “too early” when it comes to beginning the training process. A significant portion of your success will depend on the knowledge and understanding of your products available to your partners.
Ongoing communication and training will be necessary for a productive partnership long after the partner onboarding process.
Turnover and dealer volatility means there will always be new people that need training and development. Plus, existing staff will need constant improvement. The performance of your partners should constantly improve from the minute they sign the partnership agreements.
Remember, the market never stands still, and your products will continue to evolve. Also, the competition will continue to get smarter and stronger. You need to make sure that your channel partners are constantly acquiring new winning traits. This means innovative certifications must be offered and nonstop communications must constantly align the channel behind your changing goals and objectives.
Welcoming your partners appropriately is critical to the success of a new partnership. By setting up a system for partner onboarding, you create an efficient, scalable way to guarantee a successful partnership.
A proper welcome should include an introduction kit and kick-off call. Be sure to make your channel partners aware of the enticing incentives and rewards you offer in your business. Don’t forget to provide immediate access to valuable training and marketing content.
Lastly, make the deal more interesting by providing what sales teams value most: leads.
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