We often try to exert influence at the first meet while communicating with our channel partners. The effort has an aim to change the attitude, motivation to build a relationship which feeds success if managed properly.
The effective communication becomes challenging between two people when both know each other well, aware of each other’s ideas, style of communication and share a close bond. The task of communication with a large network may seem overwhelming due to the difficulties faced by vendors. Don’t worry, we have summed up top 10 tips which guide about the rules of communication with partners in a better and fruitful way.
Developing a cohesive and proactive communication strategy
The idea is to make a consistent communication strategy which reflects proactive than reactive stance. You can enhance the effectiveness of your partner communication by considering:
- Objectives -What are your end goals that you want to achieve through your channel?
- Selection Segmentation - Who is your target and why?
- Message Medium - What is your message and how can you deliver it in the best way?
- Syntax Semantics - What are your thoughts that you want to express? How will you convey your thoughts so that it can be interpreted in the right manner?
- Call to Action Response - What do you want your partner to do next?
- Repetition Frequency – Will you repeat your message and for how many times?
Selecting and Segmenting partners
It is essential that the message must sense relevant and interesting to your partners. Make sure; you put the right foot forward by developing an adaptive communication strategy according to your audience.
Check relevance by considering:
- Decide your audience and restrict them to only those partners to whom it has value and meaning.
- The medium of the message, its syntax and semantics, the timing and call to action must be appropriately adapted.
It is important to note that if you have an elaborative, up to date database with multiple contacts in all disciplines for your channels, your communication strategy will provide the best sub-optimal results. Investment and time have a major role to play.
Email the Defacto communication method?
In 2011, the number of emails declined for the first time, and this swing has continued with social communication because instant messaging is taking its position.
However, email is still a mode of communication for many businesses and to make it work for your business, you should have:
- Authentic and Up to date email addresses
- A mode to send bulk emails along with unsubscribing option.
- The process should be repeatable for communication creation which does not lead to duplication of effort.
- The content should be crisp with an appealing headline to ensure to the receiver opens the email.
A mode of tracking the communication: Whom did it reach? Who has received, opened and read an email? What does make them bounced-back’ and why? Who is responding to your call to action?
Take the benefits of complementary communications such as telephone or social where a more intimacy is required or message reinforcement is needed.
Potent partner portals
Portals are considered as the final destination and the mode for hosting any email or campaign in its entirety All modes should be used to channel traffic to your portal due to two valid reasons:
- You want your partners to visit your portal through a way of your call to action to continue with further steps, e.g. read, learn, sign-up, download, etc.
- Your portal is a storehouse of information, tools, and assets for your channel and that’s why you expect their visit from your call which will keep them crawling on site to provide more valuable information.
Portals are the way to show effectiveness so consider our Relayware guide ‘Quick Guide to High-Performing Partner Portals’ to understand more about it. We guide about the importance of providing effective service and support to your channel, together with a recommendation on forming and deploying portals successfully.
Socialization is the name of the game
The communication with your partners through your company pages is important, your end goal is to convince partners to engage with you, therefore, communicating them to your message.
They have to know of your presence to get to follow you. So consider the following:
- Send out an enticing email which alerts people to your social presence, make them understand why they should follow you.
- Make sure employees have accessibility to links to your company pages in their email signature.
- Encouraging ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ by sharing your presence on social media platforms.
- Use social page links and add to your website, portal, printed collateral and mobile app(s) with clickable ‘follow’ icons as appropriate.
Paid advertising can help you to increase your brand proposition or channel page with more likes and followers.
Make sure you target potential audience but be prepared when the number of followers increases.
Collaborative Social Discussions
Social networks such as LinkedIn can help you to develop communities or make groups within the network and invite your partners to join. After constructing groups, make sure you manage the group's properly to trigger up collaborative discussions between members of your network while moderating membership and updating content. Their disadvantage is that they take place in the social network apart from taking in your environment and this delimits your chances for self-promotion.
There are possibilities of hijacking by individuals, more focused on leveraging themselves and their business. Some Partnering Automation solutions like Relayware invite social groups in the same way but limits the audience to those within your network and/or those showing interest in your programs.
It makes for stronger, constructive groups and discussions on the narrower topics while granting grounded discussions. The groups can be diverse and tailored to your network members.
Direct social communication
While facilitating for self-profiling or registering contacts, it is good practice to keep their personal as well as company social ID. Partnering Automation solution provides reliable partnership benefits including partner ‘single sign-on’ to your portals or other online or mobile tools by using their social ID’s. It saves partner time and helps to memorize multiple ID’s and passwords and keeps sync social profiles with your database, again saves time and energy.
The advantages for vendors include more registrations, decrease in abandonment rate and more profile data accuracy and completeness. The authority to check social profiles for both company and individuals helps directly social communications which enable personalized social messages directly to the individual. Finally, one can re-communicate messages through the individual’s social accounts into their social networks making them the medium itself.
Targeted instant social messaging
Targeted instant social messaging has become a mode mainly to communicate with sales people and where immediate actions are important. When this is joined with other mediums and tied into an activity-stream interface on your portal and/or mobile app, it can be a great way for sending targeted, on time information in such a way as to get the attention of the partners.
Get an idea from those portals which have a great deal of static and up to date content that does not solicit regular visits but when an activity stream (recognizable to anyone familiar with Facebook’s Timeline or LinkedIn’s homepage updates) takes place, the site is brought instantaneously to life. As tools (available with some Partnering Automation solutions) are unified with a mobile app and mobile push-data technology, The recipients receive notifications along with a compelling reason to read your latest messages.
Syntax and semantics in the message
Let’s take a view at effectively targeting your message to diverse audiences of partners and alignment of the message itself to get an instant response to your call to action. If you want to communicate about your recently launched product, for example, you can use any one or all of the following methods which will partner selection and segmentation for the good communication:
- Limit your audience to those contacts within network who are authorized to sell the product
- Don’t forget to deliver the message out to field-based channel members e.g. sales via IM, email and mobile to improve the result and immediacy.
Then in consideration of the message itself, align the syntax of the message so that the message comes out to be relevant and catches interest to persons, including sales, marketing, operations, pre-sales, technical support, and purchasing. Then get adapted to the semantics of the message: Why do you want to sell this? What is the best way to market this? Why do you want to recommend this to your customer? What is the best way to service and support this? How can you buy and stock this?
Supercharge your calls to action
The communication to your channel must be welcomed with a call to action. If the recipient does not respond after reading a message then the chances are less to retain them. Make sure they are asked to make a constant effort to:
- Access more information, download a document or sign up for an incentive
- Register of a deal
- Invite for a training course
- Promote social activity participation.
When a partner shows interest and participates, make sure they have a great experience as it will affect the results because the chances of them following through the desired behavior get raised.
In summary, call to action is important to have because a communication without one may well be forgotten in small time than it took to read it. It is important to stay in touch with your partners, now’s the right time to survey them so that important messages are repeatedly sent for those who do not respond. This ‘second bite of the cherry’ provides better results in comparison to your first provided when you change the essence of a message to deliver a more personal or appealing touch.