It’s that time of year again. You’re gearing up for another Q1 and another fresh start for your channel program. No matter where you are in your program’s lifecycle, whether you’re just starting out or already have thousands of partners, chances are high you’re examining changes you could be making. So, with 2019 just around the corner, what more can you do to set your partners up for success?

You’ve heard me talk about the partner-first approach before. Putting partners first in your program will lead to ROI gains. How are you giving them the leg up they need? Are you creating campaigns focused around your partners and end users? Look for how you can provide convenience to your partners — that will keep them engaged. Providing complex, easy-to-implement campaigns is a great way to start, but I’ll address that more in a moment.

How can you get started on giving your partners a world-class experience? Just like with any other resolution, take baby steps before big leaps. You wouldn’t run a marathon before you’d run a few laps at the gym. The same theory applies to your channel program. Start out small.

For 2019, make your partner the hero. This is a small, but brave step to take. Some bolder vendors are — wait for this — leaving their logos out of campaigns. Why would they do this? They’re leaving space for their partners to put their logos into their emails and assets to establish the partner as the thought leader. This pays off with end users viewing the partner as someone knowledgeable. The end user leaves happy, the partner gets a sale and the vendor gets ROI payoff. Win-win-win.

Speaking of ROI, how are you measuring yours? The most common method is, of course, monetary. How much profit your channel program is earning is one method of measuring success, but is it the best for your specific situation? Look into that. Would it make more sense for you to measure your ROI through the number of partners regularly logging into your portal, or how many emails partners are sending out per month? Use the metrics that make sense for your program? If the channel program is just starting up, you may want to use data that measures growth as ROI as opposed to strictly monetary metrics. You can always change how you define your program’s ROI as it evolves over time. I talked about this at length in 360Insight’s Channel Edge podcast.

Ready to take a bigger step? Take a look at your partner portal. Adding personalization options to your portal is a great way to instantly make your partners feel more at home. Greet them at the door of your portal with the factors that matter to each individual user, whether that’s determined by their region, job role or vertical. The small steps add up to create one bold sprint, and before you know it, you’re running full-tilt towards success.  

Your partners’ experience, and ultimately program adoption, will likely be the main make-or-break factor for your 2019 sales. Give partners a reason to keep coming back and selling your product, or they will focus on other vendors who do.

What are your channel resolutions for 2019? Let us know in the comments, or drop me a line to talk more about why a partner-first approach can work for your program.