Join the waitlist

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Accelerate Growth with a Partner Program

No matter how good your product is or how award-winning your service is, you won't get very far if nobody knows about it. To overcome this, businesses of all sizes and in all industries regularly partner with other businesses to increase sales, boost brand awareness, and engage new customers.

Starting a partner program can help you reach potential customers you wouldn't have otherwise reached. If you have something to sell, then starting a partner program can help you do it. 

It can, however, be difficult to scale your partner program once you have your first few. Here are the 10 questions you should ask to make your partner program successful. How do you grow from one or two partners to hundreds of active resellers? 

No matter how good your product is or how award-winning your service is, you won't get very far if nobody knows about it. To overcome this, businesses of all sizes and in all industries regularly partner with other businesses to increase sales, boost brand awareness, and engage new customers. 

To reach potential customers you might not have even known about, you can add a partner program to your business model. 

It can, however, be difficult to scale your partner program once you have your first few. Here are the 10 questions you should ask to make your partner program successful. How do you grow from one or two partners to hundreds of active resellers?

Have you created an Ideal Customer Profile?

If you want to maximize your sales and avoid the untargeted ‘spray-and-pray’ approach, which wastes resources and attracts the wrong customers, you need an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). You need to have a bulletproof ICP when you want to scale up your partner program. There is no room for vagueness. 

Despite what you may think, your product isn't for everyone, so your partners must know exactly who they are selling to if they want to sell well. To share your ICP with your partners, you need a clear and specific image in mind. For example, we provide a detailed explanation of who our ICP is: 'purpose-built for agencies.' While your sales may be broad, you'll need to narrow it down with a laser-sharp focus for your partners.

You will not only be able to sell more effectively with your partners, but you will also be able to find the right resellers. Look for resellers in a similar niche to you rather than those in the same niche. When I sold a SaaS product to sales teams, I partnered with people with the same customer base as me; sales coaches, sales trainers, and consultants. 

It is also important to look for partners that offer complementary products. Better yet, do they already resell a similar product? In my case, I was able to partner with companies that already sold CRM software. 

You will find it much easier to find the right partner if you have a clear understanding of who you are trying to sell to.

How are you selecting partners for your program?

As you work on scaling up your program, it's important to consider the criteria on which you select your program partners. Isn't this a numbers game? Isn't it all about numbers?

Can anyone become a partner? Is it a self-service system, where they can just sign up and start selling? Or do they have to apply and be approved before they can get started? Each approach has pros and cons, so your choice depends on your overall strategy. Would you prefer rapid expansion, regardless of the cost? Or would you prefer a more targeted operation, which will yield more leads, but require you to be more involved? 

You will also need to consider what happens once your partners join. Even if all partners are approved and vetted before starting, they will still require the information to get started. Therefore, you'll need a defined process for onboarding new partners. You'll also have to consider what kind of training and guidelines you'll provide.

How well have you guided your partners?

In the absence of proper guidance, even the best partners will struggle. Documenting your own current sales process for them to follow is the first step. It doesn't have to be anything complex; just write down how you currently onboard new clients. You don't have to overthink it here; if it works for you, it will work for them as well. 

As part of the process, make sure they are armed with all the collateral they will need. This could include help documentation, product guides, or any additional content they need to complete the process. 

Take the time to think about what the process will look like in practice, particularly what your role will be. Do you plan to be a part of the sales process? You may benefit more from helping out—particularly early on and on larger deals—if you can sit back and let partners do the selling for you. 

Even if your training program is excellent, your partners will not know the product as well as you do at first. They will need help, period. That’s something to remember because plenty of partners will not ask for that help, out of some misguided sense of independence. You need to be proactive in offering assistance and making sure they have everything they want.

If you want to save yourself a lot of headaches, you should consider the entire process and all possible scenarios. For example, what are you going to do about discounts? Will you set ground rules, or will partners have to get discounts approved on a case-by-case basis? Build a comprehensive model and framework for your partner program rather than waiting for these kinds of issues to catch you by surprise. Take into account all the parameters and make sure you haven't forgotten anything. Describe the process from beginning to end. 

It has been my experience that the more you get involved at this stage, the better the results. I like to talk with every new partner, onboard them, and train them personally. I can spot potential issues early on in the sales process and prevent future problems by walking them through the entire process. 

Your partners need your support, but are you providing it?

You need to give your partners everything they need to succeed in selling your product, not just a massive manual of policies and procedures. 

You have already mentioned the possibility of co-selling with your partners, which is a great way to see how they sell and what support they need. If you are interested in seeing how they cope with presenting and interacting with your audience, you might consider running a webinar together. 

When you cannot be there personally, you might also want to consider having a dedicated (and trusted) sales account manager to keep track of your resellers’ performance and spot any potential issues. As well as observing your partners, it's imperative to keep in constant contact. Arrange regular support chats, or contact someone directly.

Make sure your partners have everything they need to do their jobs, just as you would make sure your team has everything they need. 

Can you tell me how your resellers are benefiting?

If you are expecting ongoing results, you'll need to ensure that your partners are also getting plenty of value from your partner program. 

Revenue from the sale of your product is probably the most obvious value, but it is more complex than you think and needs to be clearly defined before you begin working together. Do your partners make money by selling licenses? Do they sell services? Ensure all arrangements are clearly outlined and documented to avoid any confusion. 

The value of the opportunity for their brand is perhaps even more important than the money they will make. Will they be able to offer your product to their customers and clients? Do they see the value of the offer? Will it be a good match for their brand? 

You're more likely to see your resellers invest in your partnership when you think about the value they receive from partnering up.

Can you tell me about your marketing and content?

It's not just about making a sale when it comes to reselling. Your partners also need to consider the content and other marketing materials they'll be using to promote your product. Providing marketing materials can help your partners sell more while still maintaining control over the messaging, even if you leave it to them. 

However, that doesn't answer how much you should provide and what form it should take. As with the overall sales process, it is the responsibility of your internal marketing team to decide what works best for your partners. The best marketing will be determined by your team. 

I suggest working on content together with your partners. It might be as simple as collaborating on a blog post, or it could be as big as sharing the stage at a conference. Depending on the resources you have and your strengths, you have a range of other options, including webinars, podcasts, and e-books. You'll learn more about your partner by working together on content, and you'll ensure they're equally invested in the project. 

What are your strategies for managing territories?

With the internet's worldwide reach, it's possible to have partners worldwide. Having an international reseller program sounds great, but it requires more planning and management. Despite your resellers being located in the same country, you'll still need to consider your territories. 

In addition to keeping track of where all your partners are located, you should decide in advance where you'll look for resellers. Are you selling only in the United States? Europe? 

Managing territories and making sure resellers don't tinker with one another is necessary if you decide to take advantage of international selling. If you have multiple sellers in a country or state, you will need to decide ahead of time how the sales will be split between them, including territory management in your sales guidelines. 

Managing resellers in different territories isn't the only thing you need to think about; international users may also need additional support. To gain an advantage, you should think about how you will handle these challenges in advance. For example, will you need to localize the product to different countries? Will it be necessary to support different languages? 

Does your company have a clear vision and mission?

Almost every business owner knows what they're selling. Most know who they're selling to (remember that ICP?), but few have a clear idea of why they're doing what they're doing. Understanding the psychology of selling is crucial in unraveling the "why" behind their business pursuits. By delving into the motivations, desires, and emotions of their target audience, business owners can tap into the power of psychological persuasion, creating stronger connections and driving greater sales. Recognizing the underlying psychological drivers and incorporating them into their strategies allows business owners to authentically communicate the value and purpose of their offerings, ultimately leading to more successful and fulfilling business ventures.

What motivated you to start this business? Why did you choose this product? 

There may be a perception that a business's mission or higher purpose is something for charities and social enterprises and that it is an optional extra. It may be at the bottom of your priority list. 

It is not my opinion. 

Your 'why' gives your customers a reason to choose you and can keep you going when things seem impossible. If you want other people to sell your product, knowing your 'why' is essential. 

No matter what your business is about, no one can care about it as much as you do, even if you don't have it written down on paper. If you can make your partners understand that your business is more than just making you money, that's why they'll be much more likely to sell your product. 

In contrast, how can you expect your partners to believe in you if you don't explain your company's vision and mission to them? Make sure you communicate your 'why' clearly to them. 

Final thoughts

Although it's great to have a number of resellers selling your product, a successful partner program requires a lot of hard work. It's important to know your customers, select and support your partners, manage territories, and much more. 

The most important thing to remember with all that work is:

If you don’t prioritize your customer first, you’ll always struggle. It doesn’t matter how well you plan, how well you use strategies, or how great your partners are; if you don’t, you’ll always struggle. However, if you keep them in focus, your job will be much easier.

Latest blog articles

No items found.