One thing that will rapidly grow your business in 2019.

in #b2b5 years ago (edited)

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According to Gartner, "Nothing accelerates a purchase decision faster than a word-of-mouth endorsement from a peer whose only agenda is to help."

In other words: Referrals. Referrals encourage future clients to bypass much of the long sales process of discovery and trust, allowing them to move to the purchase phase in a shorter time span. A referral establishes the position of your brand as a wise and prudent decision.

How do you create consistent referral sources?

Create an official partner program. Whether you offer a service or a product, if you work in the B2B space, you need a formal partner program. This is the hardest step because managing an official partner model means processes and procedures outside of your normal business operations. Failure to formalize it means failing to take your partners seriously. If you don't take them seriously, chances are that they don't think of you seriously either. Additionally, you need staff who are dedicated to running your partner program. If your partner program is just a part of what your sales staff is attending to, chances are they aren't attending to it to the degree required to make it successful.

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How do you create, manage, and run a partner program?

  1. Identify potential partners. The first step is critical. Identify the correct partners and your business can soar in 2019. Sign up the wrong partners and you'll waste a lot of time and money. Who are the right partners? Typically, businesses that service the same or a similar industry as yours. Businesses who are not only talking to, but currently engaged in business, with your potential clients. If that doesn't narrow down your focus, find business partners who are talking to the right person at your potential clients. This can be the hardest step and take the most effort. Start with the right partners and your 2019 will be bright. Just finding the time to do this step can be incredibly difficult for many business managers.

  2. Create a powerful financial incentive. Most of your potential partners will only become actual partners if they believe in you and can clearly understand the financial incentive for them. A one-time gift card to your favorite restaurant may seem like a nice way to say thank you and it may work for some industries based on your price point. However, if you want your new partners to think of you every chance they have, you need to think of them differently. Would you pay your salesperson with a gift card? Instead, consider a much more influential incentive. Do you offer a service? Offer partners a one-time commission ranging from 25%-100% of the first month of service. If that doesn't work then pay partners 15%-25% for the first 12 months of service. Another option is to pay 5%-15% for the lifetime of the new client. Whichever commission you choose, you can be sure your partners will want to bring you more business.

  3. Communicate with your partners on a regular basis. With proper communication and a financial incentive, partners will keep you in mind. Without consistent communication, new partners can quickly forget the value you add to their clients. Use a CRM to plan and manage communication and execute it without exception. This can be challenging because many business managers are so caught up in running the day-to-day operations that they fail to establish a formal, and personal, communication process with their partners.

  4. Train your partners. You need to train your partners on your product, or service, as well as how to refer your business. Calling your partners and chatting about the weather, kids, and then asking for a referral will only work with the most exceptional relationships. This should be reserved solely for partners who deeply understand your value proposition. For everyone else, you need to create a training program. The key here is to provide training in small amounts over the course of your partnership. Giving a new partner too much training will overwhelm them. Giving them too little will leave them with no confidence. Part of your regular communication should be high-level training on your business.

  5. Track your results. You track and monitor every other aspect of your business, so make sure your can see the results of your partner program as well. Chart your partners, the number of deals they refer, the business you close with them, and the value of that business. Rank your partners each quarter or year with an A, B, C system. Cut out partners that under-perform and replace them with new partners.

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Hire a company like Kerdos to design, build, and manage your partner program.

If you're not sure where to start with a partner program then it's time to talk with Kerdos. At Kerdos, we manage and operate each and every aspect of your partner program. We design a strategy and then execute it with our friendly team and the right technology. If you have a partner program that is under-performing, Kerdos also offers consulting services to get you on the right track.

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My name is Rich and I'm the Chief of Client Satisfaction at Kerdos. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have around partner programs.

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