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Once you’ve identified potential referral partners, it’s time to get their attention and convince them of the value of becoming a referral partner for your business. So why should they partner with you, anyway?

Here are some value props to consider:

  • Does recommending your product/service put the partner in a good light with their customers or network?
  • Does it help them to be perceived as a trusted advisor?
  • Does your product/service add complementary value to their offering?
  • Does your product/service make their offering more sticky by increasing usage or value?

If you answered yes to any of these, you’ve got a great case on how their participation in your referral partner program will be a win-win. Add a fair incentive model with a bounty, or better yet, revenue sharing and you’ve got a solid value prop that will get the attention of potential partners.

If you answered no to all of those questions, you can still find willing referral partners if the ask is easy for them, meaning they are connected to the right people and your referral system is easy to use. But in these cases the value is 100% focused on the incentive, so you’ll need to make sure there is enough upside for them to make the effort. (And yes, I will cover incentives later in this series).

So you’ve got your value prop, now who is going to deliver it to recruit referral partner?

Partner marketing can email and advertise, but the single most effective way to recruit partners for referrals is to have your sales team do it. Direct sales has an organic incentive to recruit partners for referrals because they reap the benefit of the resulting leads. If they are organized by territory, they also typically have connections to local associations, influential small businesses and salespeople from companies with symbiotic offerings. Arm your direct sales team with the value prop and a simple registration process. Additionally, get sales leadership the metrics needed to drive their teams toward a partner recruitment objective.

If you are lucky enough to have a partner sales team, partner recruitment is even easier as this team is already incentivized to drive recruitment. Just make sure they understand your ideal partner profile and work closely to evaluate how the partners they recruited are performing.

In either scenario, it never hurts to do some internal promotion like this one.

referral partner program, partner referrals, recruit partners

You can also put marketing to task on an internal campaign to drive recruitment in a short window (a month or quarter). Make it a competition across individual reps or regional sales teams with great prizes and watch the partners enroll!

Once you recruit partners for referrals, you’ll need to have the key capabilities to enable referral partners. Keep a look out for the next article in the series that covers how to enable referral partner.