Getting Channel Communications Just Right
Attention technology vendors: When you correspond with your channel partners, are you inundating them with too much information? If you have a robust channel program with many different departments all working together there’s a possibility that your partners can get as many as five communications from your company per week. Multiply that by the other vendors they sell, and it’s amazing partners listen to you at all. This is why it’s so important that vendors communicate internally to schedule partner communications so partners don’t get bombarded.
Here are some tips on how vendors can ensure their communications with partners are just right:
Select One Communication Point Person
One way to streamline the communications process with your channel is to have one person monitor the communications schedule and approve communications before they are sent. The person who controls this job should have a strong, confident personality with a clear organizational knowledge; this person should understand your channel’s business objectives and how to communicate clearly without overwhelming your partners. What’s more, he or she should advocate on behalf of the partners in the event that communications become too frequent or infrequent.
Create and Maintain a Public Communications Calendar
Though you might have a point person on the staff in charge of maintaining a balanced communication schedule, it’s important that schedule is updated regularly and posted in a public, internal forum. Don’t disrupt your co-workers with repetitive calendar invites or a long e-mail chain. Instead, keep the schedule posted to an internal wiki and shared through an internal network or, if your company uses Google Apps, you can share calendars.
Group Minor Communications into Monthly/Bi-Weekly Newsletters
After you’ve selected a point person for partner e-mail communications and created a monthly calendar of communications, you should be in a good place to determine the priority of your communications.
Consider adding less-timely communications and information, such as upcoming partner webinars or the availability of training videos, to an already existing partner newsletter. This will give potency to the messages that do stand alone (which should be your most important communications) and also provide plenty of fresh content when it’s time to put together your newsletter for the month.
Use Social Media in Coordination with E-Mail
Though e-mail is a fantastic tool for nurturing your partners, you certainly don’t want to alienate your partners with too many messages. That’s why it’s so important to enhance your e-mail program with social media. By encouraging partners to connect and follow your company on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites, you’ll be able to reach them more often in a less-disruptive way.
You’ll also add transparency to your partner program offering (which may attract new, qualified partners) and keep communication channels open with partners who may not be very engaged via e-mail but really respond to social tools.
What are some tips you have for gaining the right balance with partner communication?