It’s the eternal equation: Suppliers + Channel Partners + X = Faster Onboarding and Time-to-Sales. So how do you solve for X? And, in doing so, create a more powerful, engaging and profitable channel program. You could start by reading Andrew Sigmund’s recent take on on why automating onboarding will save you time and partner satisfaction (in fact, please do!) — Or you can keep reading for solid tips to you solve this equation for yourself, your partners and your program.
Onboarding – Hurdles = Happy Partners
Onboarding partners into a portal and platform they will remain active in is always the toughest part of the equation. How do you make sure they log into the portal in the first place? Send an email with the basics (username and login), along with a convenient link to the login page itself and a few details about how your program and portal will benefit their business. If they still don’t log in, pick a time to send a nudge to their inbox, calendar invite to discuss or place a quick phone call reminding them of the benefits awaiting them when they do log-in. Automation can make a significant difference here. You can set an email to automatically go out after a certain period of inactivity on a new account.
The important thing is to get partners through the door of your portal one way or another. Zift recommends single sign-on (SSO) for everything in your partner program. Eliminating hurdles for partners to jump through, like multiple logins for systems and resources, will help you in the long run, and keep partners coming back.
Partners + You = Mutually Beneficial Symbiosis
Are partners aware of the value of your program? If you’re not making the benefits of your program crystal clear during onboarding, you should be. Communicate the value of the partnership. Working together for mutual gain has way more benefits than downsides, so bring those benefits to the forefront during onboarding.
Speaking of concepts to keep front and center, have a value proposition statement for being your partner and make sure they know your value prop for the end-user. These are both equally important for your partners to keep in mind.
Clearly-Outlined Expectations = A Smooth Onboarding Process
Share a clear, methodical process for joining your program at the beginning of your partnerships. Again, you can can use automation to simplify this and allow partners to do much of the work of onboarding independently. Set clear time frames for necessary benchmarks such as signatures, so you’re not waiting to move forward any longer than you have to.
Creating a checklist that outlines tasks for the first 30, 60 and 90 days of a partnership will go a long way toward tackling what needs to get done. You could also enable people on your team to taking action. Zift’s Channel Engagement Managers work directly with partners to get them comfortable working on the platform. Creating a task list and helping partners achieve each milestone, whether it’s through one-on-one work or online support, is always much more successful than turning new partners loose into a portal they don’t know how to use.
You can also create automated training programs that must be completed in a specific order and gamify the process to make onboarding a fun and efficient experience. By the end of their first 90 days, partners should have communicated a business plan and established themselves in your platform. You should, in turn, lay out your expectations and timeframes for success — communicate, communicate, communicate.
Onboarding Cheat Sheet
Curious about more formulas for successful onboarding procedures? You don’t need to go far: Consider this on-demand webinar with SiriusDecisions on charging up your 2019 channel sales with proven onboarding tactics as your cheat sheet.
How have you solved your onboarding problems in the past? Show us how you’ve made it easier than adding 2+2 in the comments.
Originally posted on Channel Chatter, by Cameron Sutton. Cameron is a Marketing Content Manager at Zift Solutions.