Regardless of whether you are building a new partner program or working to revamp an existing one, there are a few factors that significantly contribute to your organization’s ability to optimize such a program. The “3 I’s of partner programs” are importance, implementation, and infrastructure.
In our recent webinar, industry experts, Marcia Harlow (Solution Partner Program Strategy & Operations at Cisco), Maitland Muse (Partner Solutions Experience at Verizon Wireless & T-Systems), and Niranjan Thomas (GM, Platform & Technology Partnerships at Dow Jones) discussed best practice recommendations for each. Check out their top insights:
To ensure that your partner program is successful, you will need to clearly define what types of partnerships will help your organization achieve its goals.
After you have identified the types, dive deeper into the ideal profiles of your partners. For some organizations that are undergoing transformation in parallel to the launch or revamp of the partner program, it may be finding organizations “that have had success with traditional lines of business and are wanting to transform themselves” (Maitland Muse).
Marcia recommends: Make sure your partners can consume all of the benefits of your program in an easy way that will make them more productive and more self-sufficient. You want to ensure that your partners aren’t waiting on anyone to move forward in their partner journey.
Given Niranjan’s success with ideation sessions, it’s a good idea to implement these joint sessions around product development as well. In these workshops, you can gather the voice of the customer, which will push you in where and how you should be innovating.
Regardless of how you setup your technology infrastructure, you must leave your partners “feeling as whole as possible” (Maitland Muse), providing them with the opportunity to learn what they want and when they want it.
Additionally, your infrastructure must support two-way feedback that can be implemented quickly and in a flexible manner that promotes evolution. The infrastructure is critical because “if they don’t like it, they won’t use it, and if they don’t use it, it won’t grow” (Maitland Muse).
Recognizing the role partnerships can play in your organization, identifying processes to ensure successful implementation, and considering how to build your technology infrastructure to support a scalable program are all necessary to ensuring success with regards to your partner program.
If you are interested in hearing more from these industry leaders or still confused with where to begin, download this eBook, “Optimizing Your Partner Program.”