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Question

How do you approach motivating partners to engage in your partner program? What do they want and how do you give it to them?

Answer
I've found that service partners are typically motivated more by a bit of healthy competition than by money. At the end of the day, the service partners looking to be motivated are the ones typically aspiring to become your top partner or within your top tier. It's important to create clear goals for them to accomplish every month/quarter/year and then be sure to acknowledge their stellar performance in a relevant way based on their preferences - some appreciate public recognition where as others prefer private.
Question

How can I get the customer success and support teams in my company to leverage service partners?

Answer
Great question! I recommend you spend time meeting with individual team members - the CSMs and support agents actually working with your customers - to get a better understanding of their day to day before trying to get them to leverage service partners. It's important to recognize how busy these teammates are already just trying to ensure customers are happy and they may not have immediate capacity to take on something new like leveraging a service partner. Once you do find teammates that have capacity, be sure to work with them to educate other teammates on the benefits they experienced while working with you to leverage said service partner.
Question

What is your go-to playbook for activating newly recruited partners?

Answer
For me, it's critical to provide newly recruited partners with a clear to do list, and a clear set of performance KPIs to work against. If you fail to provide clarity out of the gate on what is expected within your program, you may lose the opportunity to build any momentum causing the partnership to drop in priority for both sides.
Question

Any tips for reengaging dormant Partners?

Answer
My honest answer? I wouldn't, unless you have a recruitment challenge. If you have built a program that is truly mutually beneficial and the partner has gone dormant it is likely that they have made the decision to deprioritize working with you. This can at times be one of the worst time sucks for a partner team when you have other partners (or future partners) who are eager and ready to work with you.
Question

My SaaS vertical has a strong ecosystem of services providers that we want to provide implementation/support/strategy for our customers. How do I go about building a certified services/experts partner program?

Answer
Great question! The first step is to validate their performance in an objective way to see if their clients are as satisfied with their work as they claim to provide. This will help you determine which partners are worth inviting into the v1 of a certified services/experts partner program - especially if you plan on sending referrals to them out of the gate. Once these partners start working with your customers, you can start to determine what program tiers/measurement could look like.
Question

What sales materials do consulting partners generally need to discuss your product with their clients?

Answer
In the past I've found enabling consulting partners to be one of the trickiest parts of program design as every partner is different in how they communicate with clients. Out of the gate, I think the partner needs to have a clear value proposition, a set of customer stories to tell, a succinct competition positioning statement, and straight forward pricing materials.
Question

What is the benefit of partner training and having partners get certified?

Answer
To me, the most important part of getting partners certified is helping validate which partners a customer should choose from when looking to hire a service partner. As a partner team, you are building the necessary training and technical certification tracks that should, in theory, help filter through the potential options for your customers. If your training/certification materials are not doing this effectively, it may be worth exploring new tracks you can implement to ensure the right partners are recommended to customers.
Question

What's your advice on aligning partners with our sales pitch and how to we enable them to successfully pitch to our customers?

Answer
One of the most important parts of aligning partners with your sales pitch is making the customer journey clear out of the gate. You are making it easier for them to successfully pitch to your customers if the swim lines are clear between what a customer should go to you, the vendor for, and what they should go to a consulting partner for. For example, the second that you start offering competing services to your consulting partners you are creating a point of confusion for customers which will in turn make the pitch process more challenging for everyone involved.
Question

How can I leverage services partners for my integration partnerships?

Answer
At the end of the day, your service partners represent an incredible wealth of knowledge as they are effective the voice of their customers (which are hopefully your customers too!). To me, the best way to leverage service partners for integration partnerships is by getting their insight into what integrations should be built, what integrations can be improved, and how/if the newly shipped integrations are helping their customers they way you envisioned.
Question

How do I make the process of sending referrals to my partners repeatable?

Answer
In order to make this process repeatable, I recommend setting up a clear process (enabled by software) for how these referrals are handed over to partners. This could be as simple as a Google form so you are accurately tracking every single referral that goes to your partners, or from your partners back to you. It is critical that you create expectations with your partners on how they should handle/respond to the referrals you are sending their way. For example, partners should reach out to referrals within X hours of receiving it.