They said they wanted to partner, then ghosted after agreeing.
In 2017, I was doing hundreds of customer development calls. There was a common problem with partners joining programs and doing nothing.
The typical response from a partner manager was to babysit.
They’d keep checking in, chasing down, sending one-pagers, reminders, and generally bugging their partners to see if they could get any momentum going. This process tires everyone out. No one likes it. No value is created.
When I started asking about what actually motivates partners, I discovered that it goes in reverse order of this process. Partners that are loved, honored, elevated, showcased, and promoted are motivated to do stuff. If you wait for them to do stuff before you show them love, it usually never happens.
Not just listed, loved
I’m not the only one who saw this.
Many partner managers realized that giving partners nothing up front wasn’t working. Those leading the partnerships space began offering things like a listing in a publicly accessible directory.
This helps. It’s a step in the right direction. Giving exposure to partners on a directory makes it feel official, and seeing their logo makes them feel honored.
But it’s also perfunctory. PMs can view this as an item to check off a box.
(Worse, it can be taxing on the marketing department if they control the site and have to constantly update it with new partners)
When partner managers shift their mindset from, “How can I check the boxes to onboard new partners” to, “How can I show I care about partners and creating value for their team and customers?" something magical happens. And it doesn’t happen in a warm-fuzzy way, it happens to your bottom line.
Imagine partnering with a company who did the following:
- Proactively refers customers that have been asking about an integration or services similar to yours,
- Features your new directory listing when it’s ready (and gives advice on what use cases and other information will resonate with their customers),
- Provides tips on what will grab the attention of their Sales and CSM teams so you can optimize lead share volume ASAP,
- Also shares what their Marketing team cares about so you can increase the chances of doing co-marketing activities on topics your teams align on,
- Clarifies support channels for your team and/or your mutual customers so you are comforted in knowing how to escalate urgent problems,
- Is kind but candid about their priorities and resource constraints so you don’t waste time on empty promises.
Would you feel excited to work with them?
Consider the ways you can be that kind of partner!
Real world results
Take a look at how the top PartnerPage directory owners have succeeded in H1 2022:
- More than 100% year-over-year growth of service or agency partner programs,
- More than 135% year-over-year growth of technology partner programs,
- Hundreds of leads shared with technology partners via directories,
- And thousands of leads shared with service partners via directories (Wow!)
It’s safe to say that the partnerships world is booming, and it’s never been a better time to optimize how your partnerships team operates.
When your partners win, you win
If you focus on ways to make your partners famous, they will love you, and you’ll get results.
You’ll also save a lot of time and money managing partners.
You can’t scale one-on-one babysitting of every partner. This is why most PMs end up ignoring 90% of partners and focus only on the big fish. Because that’s all they have bandwidth for.
What if you could tap the long tail of your partners without tapping out?
It starts with a mindset committed to making them famous, and flows into processes and tools that make that happen in a scalable way. (Without bugging your marketing team all the time.)
Share the love, scale the program.