Complementary Partners Are Essential To Your Business
It's important to understand if yours is a real partner program or just an affiliate program in search of leads and transactions.
An important first step is to develop a partner rating process that enables consistent terminology for your staff and also enables your business development team to prioritize how it spends its time and resources.
Most Growable Partners (MGPs) are the core of your business.The strategy is to nurture them and convert them to MVPs. Their characteristics include:
They opt-in to receive your communications and meet with you periodically [online and in person]
They allow you to speak with others in their firm
They consistently refer and/or close a minimum number of sales opportunities for your products and services
They make you visibile in their facilities [online and offline]
Most Valuable Partners (MVPs) are elite members of your partner community. The goal should be for 20% of your partners to be MVPs. The strategy is high level partnering through recognition, customized solutions, programs and learning relationships. They possess all of the MGP characteristics plus:
They tell you what you need to do to be successful – no guesswork
They provide suggestions for improving your business
They consistently refer or close a high number of sales opportunities for your products and services
They refer you to new potential MGPs
Second Tier Partners (STPs) are partners whose commitment level and results would not be affected by your 1to1 time investment. They do not present the opportunity to become MGPs. You retain them and attract new ones through your BizD process. Their characteristics include:
They opt-in to receive your communications and will speak with you on the phone and online
They sporadically refer or close new sales opportunities for your products and services
Below Zero Partners (BZs) will never justify the time required to partner with them. The strategy is to eliminate their misperceptions or to subtely encourage them to become someone else’s partner. Their characteristics include:
They are not willing to speak or meet with you and do not opt-in to receive your communications
They are not willing to allow you to build rapport with others in their firm
They do not dedicate basic resources to refer or close new sales opportunities for your products and services
Targets are those with whom you'd like to establish a 1to1 relationship because they suggest future MGP potential.
Make sure that your partner team is not only oriented towards recruitment and managing STPs, but that you also have the calibre of staff to develop MGPs and MVPs? Otherwise, top partners will lose interest and leave for a better opportunity.
Before contacting a partner, make sure that you know about their company and the person with whom you'll be speaking relative to their history with your firm. Don't make the conversation only about what they're doing to help your company. Why not send an email asking to set up a convenient time and agenda rather than expecting them to be ready to talk with you at that moment you call.
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