Sunburst partner relationships

4 Signs Your Partner Just Isn’t That Into You

…and 4 ways to enhance partner engagement.

When it comes to partner engagement, staying connected on a regular basis is important for continued growth of your business. Partnerships that bring sales and marketing together are valuable and require regular nurturing. It is easy to become complacent with partners that have been partners for a long time, but it is a fatal mistake. Frequently reflect on your partner relationships to ensure they are healthy and you are growing your respective businesses together. There are four signs to watch for that will indicate the partner flame is waning.

  • Sales are flat or declining.

    If sales of your products or services have taken a turn for the worse in recent months with a given partner, it is an indication that your partner engagement is low, they are losing interest, and finding better success elsewhere.

  • Executives are not engaged.

    When the executive teams of both companies are working together, the likelihood of continued growth is high. If the executives are always too busy to meet, it means the partner has new priorities and you are not one of them.

  • New competitive solutions.

    Partners frequently carry more than one option for a given solution, but if your partner once exclusively sold your solution or primarily sold your solution, and that is no longer the case, the relationship is in trouble. Partner engagement at the executive level is critical to success.

  • Your programs are left on the table.

    If you have strong sales incentives and partner marketing programs, but the partner is not leveraging them, it is certain they are using other programs instead. To get the latest on how to build incentive programs that work check out, “SPIFs are garbage, do this instead”.

4 Ways to woo your partners back

The best ways to entice your partners to reengage require a personal touch. Usually a partner engagement will suffer simply because someone else is pursuing them more aggressively, has a shiny, new offering, and has better incentives. Here are a few ways to earn your partners’ admiration and, by extension, their business back.

  • Do your research.

    Do some research and understand where your partner is spending their time and energy. Determine where your solutions fit into their current priorities. Develop plans and initiatives that will align with their goals.

  • Get in touch.

    Reach out at the executive level to stoke the flames again. Make sure the executive sponsors go in with the knowledge about the partner’s business that will allow them to reconnect with partner executives.

  • Renew interest.

    Highlight the opportunities your solutions make available to the partner for business growth and expansion. There could be a rational explanation for the current situation, and reestablishing the partnership will be just what the doctor ordered. Another way to gain renewed interest is to share compelling case studies. Be sure to read, “Case Studies are a Snore – 5 Easy Steps to Writing a Success Story that Inspires Action” to get valuable insights.

  • Business reviews.

    Having a regular cadence for connecting with your partners on a quarterly basis ensure you continue to support business and relationship growth.

Bonus:  Engage new partners.

New relationships should be a standard part of any partner program and an initiative that never ends. Plus, you may find that new partner interest can improve engagement with existing partners.

As with any relationship, partner relations require consistent care and feeding. Stay proactive so you never find that your partner just isn’t that into you.