How to Increase Mindshare and Build Channel Partner Loyalty
Make your brand your partners’ preferred choice
Your channel partners have choices every time they make a sale, which means increasing mindshare is likely one of your greatest challenges.
How do you make your brand top of mind for your channel partners? How do you become the preferred choice in both the short term and the long term?
The reality is that you’ll achieve long-lasting loyalty and increased mindshare if you create impactful channel programs that engage your partners. Do this within the confines of your corporate objectives and you’ve got a winning formula to increase sales and grow revenue.
Let’s get into the details about what it takes to make that happen:
1. ENGAGING EXPERIENCE = PERSONALIZED MOMENTS + MEANINGFUL INTERACTIONS
The path to gaining mindshare is lined with simple steps that build upon one another. When followed, the result is a compelling partner experience with personalized moments in a program your partners want to be a part of – because they recognize the value.
The more your partners engage with your brand, the quicker you will become top of mind in all their sales experiences. So, how do you get there?
Relevant web portal experience
The more personalized your channel partners find your web portal, the more relevant it becomes to them. And when it is relevant, they will continue to engage because they see the value.
Appealing user interface and web design
We all know what a seamless, easy-to-use website should feel like. When you match that experience for your partners, they are more likely to engage and perform better in your program. Plus, an intuitive user interface is an essential step towards driving engagement. Ensuring it’s mobile-friendly is no longer a luxury – it’s the cost of entry into the market. Make it possible for your partners to engage with you whenever they want, wherever they are.
Your ability to flex based on data analysis is paramount when trying to keep your channel partners continually engaged in your program. Create personalized experiences based on user activity—from programs and promotions to site messaging and progress tracking.
Deepen the connection between your partners and your brand. Flexible templates can highlight your brand personality and reinforce connection, making your brand the go-to solution for partners. Your logo and colors should follow your partner through each touchpoint.
Communicating with your partners when they’re most ready to hear the message is the ideal method to build loyalty. Make your communications hyper-relevant and action-oriented, based on the individual’s journey. Meet your partners with attention-grabbing messages delivered at the right time to keep their focus on your brand.
Your partners want flexibility and choice. When they complete the reward cycle, they learn the real value of your program and increase their loyalty to your brand. Help them get there with the appealing rewards they desire.
2. COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAM = SHORT-TERM + LONG-TERM GOALS
It’s a delicate balance: You need to design a channel partner program that achieves long-term loyalty without sacrificing short-term objectives. This harmony is important for designing the proper program ahead of launch. Without both, your program is not sustainable.
So, what are the factors you must keep in mind to achieve this short-term/long-term balance?
Stackable programs and promotions
Stackable means you can operate multiple concurrent initiatives supporting varying audiences and offers. It balances your short-term goals while driving your partners’ long-term loyalty.
Promotions are designed to react to market opportunities by driving short-term objectives and boosting sales. Immediate incentives reinforce certain behaviors, but partners also need to see the long-term payoff to fulfill your loyalty goals.
Long-term loyalty takes time, so setting expectations through long-term planning is ideal. At the same time, you must make immediate plans for day-to-day accomplishments that drive you toward the overall goal. Move your program forward by prioritizing and optimizing the proper resources at the proper time. It’s a matter of focusing on short-term goals without losing sight of long-term growth.
Act promptly, adapt swiftly
Flexibility allows you to react quickly to market shifts or changing business needs. Whether an opportunity is created by the market or by your manufacturing, you can respond immediately while maintaining your long-term plan.
Incentives that build over time
Partners need to see the benefit of their long-term loyalty. Consider offering incentives that build up over time, such as tiers with special access or rewards. Recognize partners for long-standing relationships.
3. MUTUAL BENEFITS = LONG-TERM LOYALTY
Drive stronger connections
Cultivate greater commitment from your channel partners by engaging them beyond what they’ve become accustomed to with competitors’ programs. Help them look beyond “do this, get that” by giving them something deeper to connect with.
Align on purpose and values
To foster a truly loyal partner network, you’ll need to build a series of mutually beneficial relationships that will evolve and deepen over time. But how?
Your mission clearly defines what you exist to do, often with an eye on economic value, but your purpose explains your “why”. It is vitally important to connect partners to your brand and create a deeper relationship that can inspire incremental effort, engagement, and loyalty.
Understand unique motivators
Each of your partners might be driven by a different motivation – from status or money to mastery or social connection. Your program should include ways to drive behavior through various forms of motivation.
Beyond the transaction
Take interactions beyond the transaction when you employ specialized functionality to empower your partners and deepen relationships:
- Facilitate connection: Surveys, forums, communities, referrals, voice of the participant.
- Provide learning opportunities: Mastery, product knowledge, tactical skills to sell.
- Offer promotions: Spiffs, spin-to-win, performance-focused with gamification and challenges.
It All Adds Up
Your channel partners have choices every day. If you want to stand out from your competitors and make your brand their preferred choice, you need to foster stronger connections with your channel partners and build lasting relationships.
To make that happen, you need to design a program that increases mindshare, sparks engagement, deepens loyalty, and continues to develop a long-term meaningful relationship with your valuable channel partners. It also helps to take advantage of one platform with all the levers you need to drive engagement. At the other end of that process: increased sales and profitability.
Talk to your Maritz representative about the program we can design for you and your channel partners.