Drive Mid-Tier Channel Partner Sales with These Low-Touch Engagement Strategies

Drive Mid-Tier Channel Partner Sales with These Low-Touch Engagement Strategies

Savannah Bobo

Slightly blurred person standing in the middle of a warehouse aisle - mid-tier channel partner sales

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: channel partner sales from your top partners are consistently driving revenue, but you’re having issues with your mid-tier partners. Some are on fire, some of the time. Others could use a little heat. Sometimes they make big purchases, then go quiet for months. Some may not have done much business with you historically, but inevitably there’s that special handful with the potential for better partner performance or even growth as a company. But, during meetings with you, their eyes glaze over. You talk about channel partner sales and deal registration goals, but there’s no follow-up.  

So you do what any good supplier partner does: you offer incentives. You discount products you want out of your inventory. You send them free lunches and swag. But still, they’re just not that into you.   

The truth is, free lunches and generic discounts are about as effective as those “get six-pack abs in two weeks” ads. The harsh, inescapable reality is that channel partners are businesses too. They have their own priorities, goals, and a long list of vendors vying for their attention. Your product is just one item on their overflowing line card. So, how do you get them to stop seeing you as just another number and start seeing you as a valuable partner? 

Chart Your Channel Partners 

First things first, ditch the outdated “gold, silver, bronze” mentality. Treating your partners like they’re stuck in these categories is a recipe for lost opportunities. Instead, chart your channel based on actual performance data and growth potential.  

The Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule) holds true for many channels: you’ll likely find that 80% of your channel partner sales come from the top 20% of your partners. These are your MVP channel partners, the ones who deserve the lion’s share of your attention and investment. Shower them with resources, dedicate your best sales engineers, and invest in joint marketing campaigns. 

But what about the remaining 80% of your channel partners? They might not be consistent rainmakers, but don’t write them off! They still have the potential to contribute to your channel partner sales pipeline. The key is to invest your time and resources cost-efficiently. 

Use Tech to Increase Mid Channel Partner Sales  

You should focus your efforts on supporting your top 20%, but find a way to automate engagement and education for the rest of your channel. The right sales and marketing technology can be a big help here. 

  • Make it easy for partners to access valuable sales enablement resources. Provide a user-friendly online portal with all the sales enablement materials, product information, and marketing assets they need to succeed. Your partner’s experience with your resources should be as straightforward as possible. Use technology that allows you to restrict access to your resources so partners only see what’s relevant to them. 
  • Embrace automated channel marketing. You can use a low-touch automatic marketing solution to send out automated, AI-generated marketing (ie. you don’t have to create it!) emails every month. This way, you’re consistently engaging your 80% without overexerting your time and resources. 

Don’t be afraid to lean on automation. A user-friendly partner portal and automated marketing keep your brand top-of-mind without burning through your resources. This frees you up to focus on building deeper relationships with your top performers, maximizing your channel’s potential. 

Channel Partner Loyalty Programs 

Now, let’s talk about loyalty programs. You can do more with than just rewards sales and purchases. They’re perfect for consistently engaging mid-tier channel partners and they yield indirect benefits that help you improve your sales and marketing strategies. Here are some key elements of successful loyalty program for mid-tier channel partners: 

  • Use a points-based loyalty program. Reward partners for activities that contribute to their success and yours. This could include completing training modules, submitting warranty registrations, or attending industry events. Offer a variety of rewards, from practical tools and electronics to family vacations or event tickets. 
  • Motivate daily partner engagement. Features like daily trivia or sales leaderboards can incentivize partners to visit your loyalty program portal regularly. This keeps them connected and informed about your brand. 
  • Combine rewards with learning. Integrate your loyalty program with your learning management system (LMS) or other sales enablement tools. Award points for completing training modules or product certifications. This not only incentivizes learning but also helps identify mid-tier partners with the potential to become top performers. 
  • Get mutually beneficial customer and sales data. Offer points for submitting customer data like warranty registrations. This rewards partners for contributing to your success while yielding valuable customer insights you can use to implement better, data-driven sales and marketing strategies. 

By incorporating a points system with diverse rewards, daily engagement features, and incentives for learning and data sharing, your loyalty program goes beyond sales rewards. It fosters a dynamic partnership where you and your mid-tier partners work together for mutual success. 

Remember, successful channel partnerships are about more than just transactions. It’s about building trust and a mutually beneficial relationship. Here’s the bottom line: channel partners aren’t interested in just discounts. They want to partner with a vendor who helps them grow their business too. 

So, what are you doing to help them succeed? Offer co-marketing opportunities, provide sales training programs, or develop resources that help them reach new customers. When you demonstrate a genuine interest in their success, you’ll build stronger relationships, drive channel partner engagement, and ultimately, boost your bottom line. 

Ditch the free lunch mentality and start investing in real engagement strategies. That’s the recipe for building a thriving channel partner ecosystem.