Building a Referral Partner Channel: Step 8 – How to Scale Your Referral Partner Program

By Trisha Winter

referral partner program, referral partners, referral partner software, channel partner program, partner program best practices

In the last article in this series, I highlighted the key metrics for running a referral partner program. But if you want to grow your program, the best place to start is to benchmark those metrics. You can compare your results to other companies running referral partner programs in the annual data report: The State of Business Partner Referral Programs.

After developing benchmarks, you can now set some goals for growth and identify opportunities for changes that can drive that growth. In this article I will walk you through the most common opportunities for growth and how to capitalize on them.

Key areas to consider to drive program growth:

  1. Do I have great partners, but just not enough?
  2. Is my program too complex or too limited for what my partners need?
  3. Is the incentive not motivating enough activity?
  4. Are my partners becoming disengaged with the program?

1. Do I have great partners, but just not enough?

While you may have referral partners already, in order to meet your growth objectives the question becomes how do I get more of those successful referral partners? There are a few things to consider here:

  1. Have you exhausted the pool of partners that you would categorize as similar to the ones that you already have? For instance, if you have a referral program aimed at small business accountants, there are probably a bunch more out there you could recruit.
  2. If the answer to the first question is yes, there are no other partners like the ones you have, then it’s time to consider who else in your partner ecosystem could be a referral partner? What about all of those ISVs that sell to the same target buyer as you? Fundamentally, you need to think about who touches your target buyer and consider if they are in a position to refer your product or service.
  3. If you are still looking for more options, how about your resellers? I’m not talking about your top tier resellers, but rather think about referrals as an entry and exit point from a reseller arrangement. For entry try establishing a referral program as a qualification step for a future reseller to prove they can reach the target buyer before putting in the effort to make them a reseller. Regarding reseller exit, there are times when your business model changes (like the shift from on premise to the cloud) and not all resellers will be able to make the shift.

2. Is my referral partner program too complex or too limited for what my partners need?

The red flag here might be initial enthusiasm, then a drop off in activity. You may want to survey your partners to understand what the issue is. There are a lot of referral software out that that allows you to automate processes for partners to make it easy to join by reducing barrier to entry, track referrals, and receive referral incentives.

Automation also removing operational hassle from the partner and making it easy to make referrals. Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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