Keeping the spark alive
Nobody said it was going to be easy. Long-distance relationships require work. So, what can vendors do to keep their resellers engaged and loyal?
Avoid unnecessary information
You only have a limited amount of time together, so keep your portal lean and mean. Create a simple, easily navigable and partner-individualized landing page. You don’t want your partners spending precious time looking for critical documents or trying to figure out how to register for an incentive program.
Keep the relationship fun and rewarding
A lack of recognition breeds apathy. How well you know what motivates your resellers and how to engage him is critical to growth. That’s where channel incentive programs come in. However, for such costly initiatives to have any value, they have to be closely aligned to your partners’ sales and marketing objectives.
Play is one of the best ways to keep a relationship fresh and exciting. Consider adding some badges and trophies on your portal. Gamification taps into people’s inborn curiosity and desire to have fun, and couples it with the human need to be recognized and respected. They are also less cost-intensive than traditional incentive programs.
Meet your partner’s needs
There is no better way to show how important a relationship is than practicing active listening. Listening to your partner and providing feedback signals that you have not only heard what they have to say, but that you understand them as well. Offering feedback strengthens the dialogue by making them an active participant in the relationship.
Take time to examine your partner base, what they are currently selling, identify gaps and then tailor your content and communications accordingly. Bear in mind that you both want the same thing out of the relationship: increased sales turnover.
Work to understand your partner’s business model and challenges, then tailor your engagement strategy to meet those needs. Business information can help you segment and determine what type of content is relevant to what partner. If you keep sending marketing materials that have no relevance to individual channel partners, they may start looking for someone else.
Communicate regularly and creatively
Take a hard look at your marketing strategy. Are your emails being opened and links followed, or are you seeing an increase in the unsubscribe rate? If so, maybe you are starting to get boring.
Be unpredictable. Don’t confine yourself to a set once-a-month newsletter that has to go out whether or not you actually have anything of value to relate. When partners receive an email from you, they should know that you actually have something important or interesting to tell them.
Ideally, an email should be attention grabbing and easy to skim. BuzzFeed and Uber are great examples of email campaigns that work. BuzzFeed’s short and punchy subject lines, and equally impressive copy and images are a newsletter at its best.
The beauty of Uber promotional emails is in their simplicity. The brief description of the offer is followed up with a clear call-to-action with the option to find out more. Spice-up the relationship by sending snail mail every so often.
Remember – for any personal relationship to work, the needs of both partners have to be met. For the channel partner, that means hitting his sale goals. For the vendor, it means having his products at the core of that success.