Partner Summit Season Is Here: Tips for Creating the Best Events
The fall season is upon us, which means the partner summit season is officially in full-swing. Some vendors do partner summits better than others, and we’ve seen our share of great partner summits. So what makes a partner summit a truly unique and worthwhile experience?
Your partner summit should be all about your partners: engaging them on a more personal level, teaching them about all the great program and product improvements your company has made and hearing more from them about their challenges today. These events can be time-intensive and costly, so it’s important to make it worthwhile for both attendees and your company.
Of course, there can be a lot of stress involved with putting on such a large-scale event, but following a few simple steps can help keep your company on the right path to a successful summit:
Make the Most of Your Time
At best, you’ve got your partners for two to three days. Factor in entertainment, meal breaks and those times when they’re distracted by their emails, smart phones and customer emergencies, you don’t really have a ton of face time with your partners. You have to make the most of the time you have.
Talking about being distracted: Have I told you about the time I was speaking at a partner summit and the CTO interrupted me to let me know the company’s entire platform had gone down, and the partners’ phones immediately started lighting up like a three-alarm blaze?
While you have your partners as a captive audience, make sure you’re taking the time to teach them more about your products, help them launch exceptional marketing through the year, and engage them on a more personal level. Breakouts are great, but can you switch things up a bit? Provide them training in a more engaging way. A hands-on demo station, training sessions by other partners or a Social Media Rally Station will mix things up a bit.
Don’t Keep Up with the Joneses
Your partners may have been to other huge events with star-studded entertainment, but that approach may not be right for you. Host a partner summit that shows your dedication and class. Have motivational speakers that will help partners to drive business growth; give partners more opportunity to speak directly with executives; and ensure that partners are invigorated and excited to drive more business with your solutions for years to come.
Drive More Engagement with Social
Now that the event is planned, how do you increase attendance, or, better yet, engage partners who are following the event virtually? Spreading the word is just as important as planning out the event itself. Creating events, posting content and getting people to generate buzz on their profiles will help spread the word about all the great things you’re doing and show those at home why they should attend next year. Don’t forget your useful hashtag, #YOUREVENT, to let people follow along.
Contributing blogger Heather K. Margolis, the Channel Maven, has led channel programs for major IT companies.