Breaking Down B2B Channel Partner Program Marketing

B2B channel partner programs are an incredibly strong tool that brands can use to bolster their footing in their respective industries to support their most valued customers while boosting all involved parties to a new level of sales success. After all, your brand and your customers are both seeking the same thing – why not work together to achieve that?

However, these partnerships do not come without a lot of hard work. While you may have shared goals, businesses come with many ingrained cultures and processes that can cause friction, especially when first starting. Many factors need to be ironed out early in the process, and that can involve a lot of work which many may find too costly to invest in these types of programs in the first place.

In this guide, we’ll define what a channel partner is, the key components involved in creating a channel partner program, and the benefits and factors to keep in mind while setting it all up. It may sound like a lot, but that’s why we’ve laid it all out for you!

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Defining a Channel Partner

Simply put, a channel partner can be seen as an ally for your company – someone you work alongside such as manufacturers, vendors, or service providers who sell and distribute your products.

These are your distribution partners and play an important role in reaching end customers, who support your reach and sales by utilising their networks and resources.

Teaming up with a channel partner provides access to their customer base and connections, allowing your brand to expand and reach wider audiences than you may have been able to on your own, theoretically leveraging each other’s strengths to achieve objectives at a far superior level.

In B2B industries, where the customer base is much smaller and transactions are far more likely to succeed based on relationships, a channel partner program can allow you to capture a wider share of the market and beat out competitors by having your product or services be first in line and front of mind.

Your potential channel partners can range across a wide selection but can include value-added resellers, distributors, system integrators, original equipment manufacturers, consultants, and managed service providers.

The key components to a channel partner program are enabling your partners to succeed in ways they can’t on their own, developing a wider channel sales platform, and reaching a broader audience to drive business success.

What are the Benefits of a Successful Channel Partner Program?

Now that we’ve laid out what a channel partner is and what they entail, you’re probably asking what the benefits of a successful B2B channel partner program? There are quite a few benefits that the participants within a program can expect to find, as laid out below:

Reaching customers with buying intent: By partnering with aligned businesses within your channel, you expand your potential customer base and gain intel on their habits. This allows your program to accurately target potential customers using the shared data with comms and platforms tailored to them.

Shared Costs Providing Greater Savings: By sharing costs between parties, this reduces the cost per acquisition as the partners can handle consumer-facing advertising and marketing.

Increasing Brand Recognition: By having two brands working together to leverage their strengths, products and services, you can find your way in front of audiences you may not have considered or had the ability to reach previously.

Gain More Customer Insights: As with gaining more customers, you’ll be able to gain further insights into demographics you may not have reached before – or further insights into your current customers that you may not have understood before!

How to Create a Successful Channel Partner Program?

There are many essential factors in creating a successful channel partner program, but here are some of the most important in what we’ve seen across our 25+ years of creating and facilitating them!

  • Make sure you define your objectives and target audience early: When it comes to collaboration, cooperation is essential to make sure you’re both on the same page. By working together to effectively define your purpose for the endeavour, you can prevent any wastage when it comes to marketing efforts.
  • Evaluate channel options: find the best distributors, partners, resellers, etc. Align with companies that share values and philosophies, how well they cover your market, how cost-effective, what do your customers like.
  • Find ways to enable your partners: education pieces such as training sessions and online quizzes, providing sales collateral can also work with lead-generation tools. By working together, you can build a stronger foundation and enable your channel partner program to succeed.
  • Creating co-marketing opportunities allows you and your partners to promote your brands, solidifying the partnership while broadening your audience reach, resulting in cohesive branding and sales success.
  • Clear communication channels are required to allow both parties to exchange feedback, provide updates regularly, and address concerns which lets everyone feel invested in the success of both brands. Booking regular touchpoints will let both parties ensure they feel heard and reduce miscommunication or misunderstandings. Incentives motivate everyone and reinvigorate the partnership.
  • Measuring performance using data analytics is important for success – defining key metrics early on will provide both parties with the best way to measure the success of the venture while also identifying areas of strength and improvement.

What Can a Channel Partner Incentive Program Do, and How Can We Help?

Now that we’ve established what a channel partner program is, it’s important to move onto where we can help – with the incentive program to accompany!

Generally, launching a channel partner program is used to change a certain behaviour in your audiences, but to do that you need to have a clear plan set out. Most commonly, this is to increase loyalty and sales, but it can work across a series of identifiers, such as price protection, customer retention, decrease your overall costs, and more.

The first step is to establish the best practices that your program will reward, in order to maximise these changes in behaviour. Reward type (cash, cashback incentive travel or tangible rewards), ensuring your program is simple to understand, rewards are attainable, partners are rewarded in a timely manner and accurate data tracking are all essential processes for a successful partner incentive program, and this is where we come in.

At Incremental, we’ve been designing the leading channel partner incentive programs across Australia and New Zealand since 1998, so we know what we’re doing and know how to deliver on all the promises that a successful program needs to make. Between our LORI platform, experienced sales and account management teams and leading industry contacts, we have everything possible to make your incentive program thrive.

So, what are you waiting for? Reach out today for an introductory meeting and see what we can do for your brands!