The Components of a Simple Sales Process for Partners

A good sales process consists of 3 main things: tools, a pipeline and the sales methodology. These are the three critical components that nearly all of your lead generation activities fall into. First, you need tools to support your key processes. Tools are what you use to conduct your sales and marketing activities such as calling leads, sending out email marketing campaigns and more. They automate these activities for you, so you can spend your time doing more important things.

Then, you need a pipeline to guide your sales process through stages your leads go through before they make a buying decision. Establishing standards to this  process is easier than trying to figure things out ad hoc. If you try to manually keep track of this process, you run the risk of missing important information and losing out on deals. Finally, you need a sales methodology to guide you and your leads through the sales process. Without this methodology, you won’t be able to explain to your lead why they need your vendor’s product. You also won’t be able to convince the lead to move onto the next stage of the process and sign a deal. 

The Tools

There’s sales and marketing tools for everything you can think of, but you only need three. These tools will support your key processes: sales, marketing and customer relationship management.

1. Sales Engagement Platform

SalesLoft and Outreach are good examples.. A sales engagement platform helps you engage with your prospects across multiple channels. A platform helps you automate your daily tasks like contacting prospects and gives you reporting that lets you see which form of outreach works best. It helps you effectively reach out to people that fit your ideal customer profile. 

2. Marketing Automation Platform

 Marketo and Hubspot are well known platforms. Marketing automation is used to nurture your leads. It automates repetitive marketing activities such as sending your leads emails so they keep you top of mind. It also provides metrics on how responsive your lead is to your efforts. Those metrics help you decide when your lead is ready for the next step. 

3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platform

Think Salesforce. A CRM stores all the information you need to know about your lead. You’ll use this to keep track of where your lead is in your sales process. You’ll be able to see who talked to your lead, when they talked to them and what they talked about. You’ll store comments and observations about your lead and then later review them to decide how to win over your lead. 

The Pipeline

The pipeline is a process that guides the different stages of your leads in a sales process. It maps out how you get leads and turn them into deals. These leads can either be inbound leads that come from marketing or outbound leads that you seek out. Managing this pipeline gives you a couple of benefits. It allows you to forecast how many deals you’ll close and generates growth. 

The first step in managing your pipeline is to keep track of your leads and deals. Keeping track of this ensures that you know which of your leads are qualified, what stage they’re in and what’s holding them back. This helps you plan your strategy. You can’t keep all of this mentally, so write it down.  

The next is to outline the phases that the lead goes through. These phases occur after you’ve determined that your lead is qualified. 

1. Discovery Call

You’ve reached out because the lead is qualified. They fit your ideal customer profile. They want to know what your vendor’s product is and what it can do for them. 

2. Demo

This is where you show off your vendor’s product and answer any questions the prospect may have. Your prospect may have objections as well. If your vendor gave you sales scripts, this is the time to use them.

3. Proposal

If the discovery call and demo have gone well, then your prospect will most likely ask for a proposal. In this stage, you prepare the proposal and send it to your prospect. Your vendor may have some sample proposals that you can use to make your own. 

4. Decision

In this phase, the prospect either decides to buy the product or not.

Once your phases are outlined, you will be able to identify how many of your leads proceed from phase to phase. You’ll get a better understanding of how many discovery calls you need to fulfill your quota. 

Finally, at the end of every quarter, you will do a pipeline review. This involves sitting down with your sales team and going through your pipeline. Doing this quarterly lets you refine your pipeline, generate growth, and reach your ideal customers. 

Questions to Ask 

To get the most out of your pipeline review, you should ask several questions. 

  1. What is your forecast?

This question lets you see how many deals you are likely to win in a certain time period. This will be your overall look at the timeline. 

  1. Is there enough coverage?

Do you have enough discovery calls lined up to meet your quota? You need at least 3x to 5x that number to ensure that you have enough coverage. 

  1. Is each deal in the right stage?

For this question, you will go through each deal and take a look to see if you are talking to the right people at the right time. This has the benefit of making sure you know the deal inside out. 

  1. What are the next steps for each deal?

Asking this question lets you see what each deal needs to be able to move forward. 

Asking all of these questions will help you spot any issues with your pipeline and better understand your deals. 

Deal Registration

Registering a deal can happen at any point in the sales process. This is important if you’re a partner as it lets you claim your lead before anyone else can. Typically most partners will register a deal as early as possible to ensure that their vendor knows that they’re the ones working that particular lead. This is a way to reduce channel conflict as the deal registration form contains enough information to determine who brought the lead to the vendor first. 

Along with claiming a lead for yourself, most deal registration programs incentivize you to register deals. This incentive may be offered as a discount or in the form of a rebate. Check your vendor’s partner program for details.  

A Deep-Dive into the Digital Agency-Partner Persona with Greg Portnoy and John Florey

Listen to Make Them Famous’s 55 minute deep dive on the Digital Agency Partner Persona to find out more about this persona and how your agency can leverage partnerships to generate growth.

3 Takeaways we got from the Podcast

  • You might be able to easily convert your existing relationships into partnerships. Building out these relationships can give you and your partner reciprocity and mutual wins. 
  • Be flexible with your partnerships. Companies may change their tech stack, their value and more. Don’t be afraid to reevaluate your relationships. 
  • Maintain partnerships even if you can’t offer your partner’s product at the moment. You never know which one of your clients will need a particular product and maintaining those relationships with those partners will make it easier to recommend them to the clients who need them. 

Listen to the full episode here

3 reasons why your partners aren’t engaged and 3 suggestions for a fix

A good partner relationship means that your partners are engaged, growing their revenue and yours. But sometimes, partner engagement can be difficult. If partners aren’t engaged, your channel is less effective. So how do you engage your partners and why aren’t they as engaged as you’d like them to be? 

Why are Your Partners Less Engaged?

Partners have many reasons for not being as engaged with you as you would like. Here are 3 common reasons why your partners are less engaged. 

1. Not enough support

Partners are often small businesses and have less resources. They may not have much knowledge about the industry and rely on a few large contracts to get by. These partners will need more support than other partners, but engaging them is a good way to grow your channel. 

2. They struggle to bring in revenue
Typically, partners are great at sales, but less so at marketing. They have difficulty keeping up with new marketing technology and trends. They struggle to reach potential customers. Partners are willing to learn how to market themselves. They just don’t know how. 

Also consider your sales process. If your sales process is too complicated or takes too long, your partners will lose their prospects. This decreases the likelihood of your partner selling your products in the future. 

3. The tools you gave them are complicated 

Have you noticed your partners logging into your PRM less? Do you have multiple tools, each with their own login? Your partners struggle to understand how to use the tools you give them. They find them time-consuming and costly to use. They don’t see how the tools can support them and their business. 

If any of these reasons sound familiar, take a look at your partner’s feedback. The feedback from your partner is the best way to find out what their problems are and what they want. 

How to Engage Your Partners? 

Your partners want to be partners. Providing them the support, tools and incentives they want, will help you maintain a good relationship. 

  1. Provide Support

Many partners are small business owners with less resources. Providing industry knowledge such as whitepapers and other material tailored to your partners’ interests will help show your partners that you’re invested in them as much as they are invested in you. This also helps your partners market themselves, allowing them to reach more potential customers.

2. Provide tools that connect to other tools

Partners use multiple channels because that’s what their potential customers do. Providing tools that connect these channels together enables your partners to coordinate their efforts across channels and expand their reach. Enabling access to all of your tools from your partner portal makes it easier for your partner to use the tools they need, freeing them up for more important tasks. 

3. Change your incentives

Find out what your partners would like as an incentive. Some of your partners may want incentives that allow them to focus more on customer experience while others may want a reward for finding new markets. Reward your partners for what they want to be doing.  

Conclusion

Partner engagement is essential for a good relationship. Ensuring that your partner program supports your partners and offers the incentives they want will go a long way in increasing your partner engagement. Providing your partners with easy-to-use tools will free up your partners and allow them to reach out to more prospects. 

About Us

At xAmplify, we’ve kept partners top of mind. With our decades of experience, we’ve helped companies engage their partners by giving them a marketing automation platform designed for partners and by partners. Our platform solves the challenges that partners face and automates much of the work they have to do.

Want to learn more? Schedule a Demo

3 ways to improve your partner’s experience and 2 reasons why you should

Partner experience is more than your partner’s experience with whatever partner management platform you pick for them. Your partners talk to end customers and are more than happy to share their experiences and impressions about your company. So it’s important that your partners have a good experience and impression of you. The better your partner’s experience with you, the more likely they are to resell or recommend your products. 

What thinking about partner experience can do for you

Happy partners are better partners. Here are the top 2 reasons why you should improve your partner’s experience. 

  1. Drive sales

Partners who have good experiences with you and your products are going to sing your praises every chance they get. 

  1. Increase your reputation 

People talk. When word gets out about your partner’s amazing experience with you, you’re going to be the most sought after company for partners to work with. 

What should you consider when thinking about your partner’s experience?

  1. Consider the type of support you’re giving them

Many partners are small businesses, who often have just a few contracts and renewals. But with the changes in technology, these contracts and renewals are bringing in less and less revenue. These partners have little to no marketing experience and struggle to go beyond their personal networks. They need support and training to thrive in the new environment. 

  1. Is your content personalized for that particular partner?

Don’t throw every piece of content you have at your partner. Take the time to consider exactly what they need from you. For example, a partner who resells your products to the European market doesn’t need campaigns geared towards the South American market. You don’t have to be hyper personalized, but considering what your partner doesn’t need access to will make your content less overwhelming for them. It also reduces friction for your partners and makes your partner program stand out.

  1. Your relationship with your partner

Do you have someone who works closely with your partner. Does your partner know who to go to with any questions or concerns they may have? How do you respond to your partner’s feedback? Do you keep in regular contact with your partner? Having a good partner relationship is essential to your partner’s experience. Partners who are kept top of mind will keep you top of mind. 

How to gauge your efforts

How do you know if your efforts are working? Aside from your partners giving you feedback, there are a few ways to tell. 

  1. Revenue increase

If you track your partner’s revenue over time and it’s increasing, then your efforts are working. Your partners are getting the support they need from you and as a result, they’re able to do what they do best. Sell

  1. Partnership length

Has your partner been with you for years? Did they leave and come back again? Are they referring you to other partners? Long lasting partnerships are the best sign that your efforts are working. 

  1. Total number of partners 

Do more people want to work with you than before? Do they cite your partner program as one of the reasons why? Your partners don’t just recommend your products and company to customers, they also recommend it to other companies in the partner marketing space. Improving your partner’s experience, improves your relationship with them and other prospective partners. 

About Us

At xAmplify, we’ve kept partners top of mind. With our decades of experience, we’ve helped companies improve their partner experience by giving them a marketing automation platform designed for partners and by partners. Our platform solves the challenges that partners face and automates much of the work they have to do.

PartnerUp Podcast: The Future of B2B Partnerships with Jared Fuller & Justin Bartels

Recently on The Partnered Podcast, host Adam Michalski and guests Jared Fuller and Justin Bartels gave some insights into the future of B2B marketing and partnerships.

Listen to the PartnerUp Episode

They spoke about the tectonic shift in forming partnerships. Businesses must develop the proper techniques and understand the vital role that partnerships play in the overall success of their venture.

In the podcast, the importance of the Partnership Funnel was discussed. It was suggested that there should be some strategy in how a business find partners, handle onboarding, activate, and maintain their partnerships.

Another key takeaway is that businesses that understand the partnership ecosystem will be more successful in creating their partnership team, rallying the entire staff, and boosting their overall revenue. There is a lot of untapped partnership potential, and xAmplify supports the futuristic approach of helping companies to realize their partnership potential.

Partner University: The Ultimate Partner Marketing Tech Stack

Marketing technology has seen incredible growth over the last year and that is only going to continue. The increase in digital channels, technological expansion, and consumer interaction with brands requires modern solutions that keep partnerships growing. With the right marketing technology, your partnership can grow exponentially. In this post, we’ll show you which tools you need to keep your business growing by building the ultimate marketing tech stack.

Finding the right partner marketing tech stack requires an understanding of what it actually is. Marketing technology stacks are a group of tools that marketers leverage to simplify marketing processes and improve partnership activities. These tools not only assist with marketing automation, they also provide measurements of activities and help partners increase spending efficiency. Together, these tools facilitate growth and help partners streamline collaboration for improved marketing campaigns that communicate with customers in efficient and personalized ways. 

The Ultimate Partner Marketing Tech Stack

With over 8,000 marketing technology solutions in 2020, we decided to pare this down to categories that are most important and relevant for channel partner marketing and sales. Forrester also did a great article around technologies for Channel Marketing, but we wanted to share what we found in our experience not just the tools. Each partnership and business varies, and there isn’t a one size fits all option. The right tools for your business depend on your current and future marketing goals. 

Tech Stack Segments

There are seven marketing tech segments that companies and partners must build their stack based on the areas that are most important for them. 

  • Promotion and Advertising – Software that promotes your brand and increases traffic to your website
  • Sales and Commerce – Improves online and offline shopping experiences
  • Social Engagement and Relationships – Focuses on customer success, social media and the overall management of customer relationships
  • Content and Consumer Experience – Content management, email marketing, marketing automation, apps and other software that integrates with both sales and customer success departments
  • Analytics – Tools for measuring campaign effectiveness
  • Data – Databases to get enriched information and insights on your prospects and leads 
  • Management – Software that facilitates collaboration across teams for a more complete alignment strategy

Once you understand where your partnership needs to focus, building your ultimate tech stack becomes easier. 

Necessities and Nice-to-Have Tools

It’s also important to consider the necessities for your team. There are must-have tools that boost efficiency, increase collaboration, and improve communication between partners. Additionally, there are nice-to-have tools that facilitate organization and creativity. Creating the ultimate partner marketing tech stack requires a focus on the must-haves, and a consideration of the nice-to-haves if the budget allows for them. Keeping your stack lean helps protect against having too many services that confuse partners and lessens the financial impact of unused tools and software.

Why is this Stack Important?

Now that you have a better understanding of the right tools for your ultimate partner marketing tech stack, you need to know why the stack you choose is important. While there isn’t a defined stack for each business, there are essential tools that help your partnership grow based on your terms. Your marketing tech (martech) stack should meet the needs of your organization, facilitate your overall strategy, and solve any current problems you have. Creating a flexible stack that scales and automates as you grow enhances your processes and doesn’t limit your growth due to cost or overall capabilities. 

What Are the Components of the Ultimate Partner Marketing Tech Stack?

A fully developed martech stack includes different tools that work together seamlessly. Regardless of your overall goals, the ultimate stack for your partnership should include:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Software that stores customer information and helps build relationships for increased engagement
  • Project Management – Tools that increase collaboration by streamlining workflows and simplifying communication between teams.These tools increase organization across partnerships and let members easily track the progress of each project.
  • Marketing Automation – Software that automates email marketing, social media and lead generation workflows. This component lets you create personalized messages across campaigns that run constantly, without manual effort.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Software that improves search rankings with keyword research, content audits and backlink building for online growth.
  • Content Management System (CMS) – Manages, stores, and publishes online content without requiring new code each time.
  • Social Media Management – Tools that help you keep track of brand mentions, schedule social media posts, and access user analytics.

Depending on your business model and requirements, your partner marketing tech stack may include all of these components, a few of them, or others that aren’t mentioned. A solid martech stack provides the tools necessary for growth in areas that are important, without the bloat of software that you won’t use or don’t need. Careful strategizing helps you choose the options that best fit your company, goals and growth requirements.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, consider how each component in your marketing tech stack works together. Most of the software available integrates with a variety of tools, making onboarding and integration simpler and faster for the entire company.

xAmplify Helps You Create the Ultimate Partner Marketing Tech Stack

xAmplify partner relationship management (PRM) solutions combine the tools and software your business needs into an automated system. With tools that align processes, improve workflows, facilitate communication and help increase sales and results, xAmplify helps you create the ultimate partner marketing stack so you and your partners can focus on growth.

If you’re ready to grow your business with a martech stack that meets your partnership’s needs, schedule an xAmplify demo for more information.