Channel Partners are a vital part of the business model for many companies.  Why and how would you want to include Partners in your customer advocacy program?  Consider them as an extension of your customer ecosystem.  As such, here are two approaches to including Channel Partners in your customer advocacy program:

  1. As a reference – a Partner, like a customer who successfully uses your product, is a potential reference.
  2. As a customer champion – Partners can become a vehicle to connect you to happy customers of your product to tell their story.

Let’s take a closer look at approach #1.  Partners who use your product (in addition to reselling it) can be your biggest cheerleaders.  They know the ins and outs of your product and your customer service and support.

In nurturing them through the reference-to-advocate journey, you may consider working with your Channel Marketing team.  If your Partners are successfully using your product, then why not create a success story on how they are using it?  In telling their story, the Partner can use this opportunity to also market themselves as a reseller of your company’s products.  This becomes a marketing piece for your customer advocacy program, for your Channel Marketing team to include on the Partner portal site as well as a promotional piece for the Partner.

This is a great way to build rapport with your Partners and strengthen your relationship with some of your end customers.  The Partner leverages their success story in their marketing efforts that may win them business for your product.  In turn, these same Partners are motivated to bring you happy customers, which leads to approach #2.

In this approach, no matter if the Partner uses your products or not, they are adding value and reselling them to their customers.  This is an excellent opportunity to engage your Channel Marketing team to create co-branded story templates just for the Partners and their customers.  This is a win-win-win for your customer advocacy program, Channel Marketing, and your Channel Partners.

You can take it a step further and develop a cross-over between your Channel Marketing programs and your customer advocacy program.  Perhaps your Channel Marketing team includes co-branded stories and reference activity in their program offering to their Partners. Happy Partners may be a gold mine for more Happy Customers.

In many geographies, Channel Partners are critical to doing business.  Embrace the opportunity to work with Partners in your customer advocacy program and benefit from their relationship with your customers.  You’ll be glad you did!