— July 27, 2018
In most cases, the success of a business partner program is almost always driven by a scientific blend of quantity (how many partners you have) and relevance (what are you offering to partners for sharing your brand).
Typically, when companies have the right messaging and relevant rewards for partners that are adding to the top of the funnel, passing along leads, and even helping to close deals – it’s a ripple effect.
Scaling Growth with a Business Partner Program
While it is easier said than done, growing your business via partner marketing can be done with a little help from the experts. We sat down with HubSpot to learn how the inbound marketing & sales software company leverages partner marketing and the key variables to consider when scaling your business partner program.
Here are 3 key elements of running a successful partner campaign:
Similar to running a referral program, partner marketing is in part a numbers game. Instead of limiting your program to a small niche group, you’re likely to see better results with expanded outreach.
When companies open up their programs to different types of partners, activity spikes and the top of the funnel begins to expand.
HubSpot classifies their partners into three different categories: Sales partners, agency partners, and connect partners. Each partnership type has a unique model in terms of new customer acquisition, what their roles are, how they function operationally, and the value they provide to HubSpot. Each segment is also incentivized differently, based on their primary objectives.
By creating custom partner programs for a variety of segments, HubSpot is able to personalize campaigns, messaging, and incentives to the specific interests and motivations of each type of partner. Additionally, they have the ability to utilize different categories to achieve various business goals.
“We are able to expand and enter into new markets with ease by leveraging partnerships. Additionally, with partners, we are able to service clients that we may not otherwise be able to.” – HubSpot
Understand What Partners Value
Organizations that leverage partner marketing are investing in an opportunity to benefit from an active, engaged, and often times, localized network that understands exactly what their audience needs. This is why it’s of utmost importance for companies to truly understand what their partners value as well.
The best business partner program incentives are reflective of the hard work that partners put in as they share your product or service. While most marketers understand that a reward should be given in exchange for a lead, how can companies ensure that they’re using the right incentive for the right partners at the right time?
While financial rewards – revenue share, flat-rate incentives, and discounts – are definitely a part of the equation, it’s also important to find partners that VALUE their business and are looking to find solutions that are the best fit for their own clients.
“The partners that are solely focused on the financial motivation are typically not the best for long-term success. The partners that want to add value for their clients and pick the best solution for them are the ones that will ultimately develop the best relationship with you and your brand.” – HubSpot
Reward Partners At The Right Time
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to developing an incentive structure, it’s important to build a program that best suits your company and partners. Selecting the form and flow of your rewards is the first step in developing an effective program that will generate the most leads for your business. The most successful incentive structures are easy to explain, implement, and payout.
“Transparency is key when it comes to allowing your partners to know where they stand – in terms of how many of their leads have come through, where they stand in terms of payments, and other aspects of your program’s details.” – HubSpot
If you’re generating a healthy amount of leads per month, but don’t have a way to automate payments, your business partner program will become a drain on your marketing or finance team. The last thing you want is to be spending more time managing reward payouts to partners than investing in activities to develop your partners and acquire new business.
Partner marketing is most valuable when you’re able to easily amplify results without proportionately increasing internal resources. Without the right tools, capabilities, and systems in place, achieving that efficiency at scale is virtually impossible.
As you’re building your business partner program, don’t make it difficult for potential partners to learn about and apply for your program. Focus your time, energy, and resources on developing relevant content and incentives, as well as training and supporting your partners. Then, focus on optimizing those partner campaigns as you start to collect data and analyze trends. You, and your bottom line, will be happy you did.