For Partnership Leaders

7 Powerful Ways To Engage Your Referral Partners

Referral partnerships are the most effective way to grow business, reach target markets & realise value. Here are 7 top actions to keep them highly engaged

What’s the best way to keep your referral partners highly engaged—and referring? This is a hot topic, as I’m sure you know. When you answer it, you’ll have a roadmap for keeping productivity at all-time highs.

Many sales professionals and business leaders know that referral partnerships are the most effective way to grow their business, reach their target markets, and realize value.

The big question is…once you get the ball rolling, how do you keep it going?

Here are the 7 top actions to keep your referral partners highly engaged.


1. Communicate Process

If you’re not entirely sure of the whole picture yet…what can you do? Communicate about the process. Share ideas, insights, and key information with your referral partner. Share updates that may influence their thinking and bring to mind potential prospects to refer to your organization.

Communicating about the process is a smart move – and because it’s so important, you may want to automate some of your dialogue. You could automate emails to communicate with partners about new developments, new clients, and evolving product information.

As you get used to communicating the process, check-in with your referral partners to find out if they have questions, concerns, or issues that you can address in your updates.


2. Communicate Value

We all like to read, watch, and learn things that are relevant to our jobs. When you communicate with your referral partners, do a mental check. 

Ask yourself:

    • Does this help them understand our products and services?
    • Does this help them more easily refer prospects?
    • Does this help them get clear about our target audience?
    • Does this help them grow their network?
    • Does this help them make more money?

By communicating in personally relevant terms, you support success. You can increase the odds that people will open your emails, look forward to your communications, and derive value from the exchange.


3. Communicate Stories

We all love to hear information in the form of stories. It may be why fairy tales and children’s stories are so popular. It’s not just for kids. As adults, we still love to hear, watch, and tell stories. It’s a powerful way to share experience, offer insights, and expand best practices.

When you’re thinking about your referral partners, use stories to share things in a way that is personal, practical, and relevant.

For instance, you may want to offer your partners stories such as:

    • A video from a successful sale – as told by the lead salesperson
    • A stand-up meeting after getting a higher incentive
    • A personal account of overcoming odds to achieve a goal

By using a story format, you can engage viewers in a very human way.


4. Connect The Dots: Sales and Referrals

How are your direct sales teams involved in recruiting referral partners? How are your channel sales teams recruiting partners, and identifying referrals? Get your sales teams involved in the process of making referrals and you’ll tap into one of the most powerful resources you have on hand.

Sales professionals are the ones who are in the most contact with potential referral partners. They are deep in conversations with partners. Naturally, they can spot opportunities. 

In other words, when you coordinate with your sales staff and sales executives, you can transform how you are managing the entire flow of referral partnerships.


5. Connect The Dots: Promotions

I’ve been talking with sales leaders and many of them talk about the value of promotions. Promotions keep partner referrers highly engaged. Whether it’s product promotions, seasonal promotions, cross-promotions, or location-specific offers – you can drive massive activity for business, and referrals.

Check-in with your referral partners and take the lead on this. Build a master calendar for promotional activities. Depending on your partners and industry, you may want to do this quarterly, or annually so that you have time to sequence activities and coordinate efforts.


6. Connect The Dots: Coaching

Let’s face it. Some partners do better than others. It’s not always clear at the outset what is behind variations in performance. That’s why it helps to have a plan that includes personalized contact and coaching.

Some partners may have started with sky-high expectations, yet not made enough from their activities to match their vision. Others may have not expected much, but had some unexpected bumps in revenue from their referral activities.

By actively investigating, you can reach out to partners and offer personalized coaching. For the under-performers, you may be able to identify simple best practices that make their actions more rewarding. For the surprise performers, you can analyze the coordinates and implement new protocols to get repeat performances.

With a little attention, you and your partners can reap the rewards.


7. Connect The Dots: Recognize and Reward

When it comes to engaging partners, we often think about monetary rewards. You may have specific tiers for rewarding your partners for referrals. Because this varies widely across different industries, I’ll leave the details of that discussion up to you and your partners.

But it’s not the entire conversation. A lot of people there are other ways to recognize their actions, skills, and successes. If you have a newsletter, you can feature their success and their company in your next issue. If you are interviewed in a local paper or radio interview, a mention of their success is terrific recognition. 

Perhaps you can arrange a personal meeting with your VP of Sales, Head of Innovation, COO, or CEO. You may be able to feature them and their company in a press release. 

Look for ways to recognize and reward your referral partners – and they’ll feel appreciated, respected, and valued. 


Sum Up

By understanding how to keep your referral partners highly engaged, you can strengthen your relationships in your network. 

Starting with a collaborative mindset, you can join successful businesses that are shaping the market and realizing significant revenue potential. Partnership Co-Selling is how you can virtually qualify B2B sales opportunity. You can use this to boost sales, expand your network, and grow profitability.

Using a platform like CoSell is the simplest way to get your sales team on board. CoSell is a robust platform that makes it easy and fast to automate and scale collaborative co-selling across sales teams. 

If you’d like to explore how partnership co-selling can help you and your team boost sales and win major clients fast - check out our selection of free eBooks.

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