Honing Your Approach to Partner Events
Partners receive endless invites to attend roadshows, lunch & learns, roundtables, Partner Summits, conferences…you name it! How does a partner decide which of the litany of events they have been invited to participate in, to actually attend? Remember folks… Partners are running a business –– and they are just as focused on revenue as you are. If they are going to forgo a day of selling, your event had better be high impact.
Does your company have an event framework that is truly partner-centric? Below are five best practices to help you ensure your approach to events is as focused on the needs of your partners as the rest of your partner strategy.
1. Implement an Event Strategy & Framework
You likely have a framework for incentive programs and demand generation, so why wouldn’t you have one for partner events that define the criteria for each type of event. For example, an A-level product launch warrants a roadshow of x-number of locations and targets partner account managers (PAMs). A C-level product launch, on the other hand, can be communicated through other, non-event vehicles.
Having a partner event framework sets the roadmap for how your company strategically approaches partner events.
2. Avoid Silo’d Events
Let’s face it, every part of the company wants to get in front of the partner. Whether it’s sales, marketing or the business units, everyone feels their need is business critical and warrants an event of some form. But let’s be real, partners can’t attend an endless number of events. By offering too many events you’ll find that you’re competing with yourself to get that partner’s mindshare.
An event strategy and framework give you the ability to limit ad-hoc events, and demonstrate to partners that when there is an event, it’s worthwhile to attend.
3. Plan Ahead
Partners hate being caught off guard. It limits their ability to budget and strategize. Each half, publish a six-month calendar of upcoming partner events. Also, if your competitors aren’t planning ahead, you will have a leg up towards securing your partners’ time out of the office to attend your event.
4. No Dog & Pony Shows
Partners are in business to make money. Nothing will reduce your attendance level at events like talking about yourself all day. With each event, make sure your content addresses what’s in it for the partner.
• How will the partner make money?
• How will your solution fit into their portfolio of offerings?
• What are you going to do to enable the partner to generate demand and sell more?
• What programs, tools, offerings have you put in place to facilitate increasing revenue?
As you review the proposed content, double check it to make sure these questions are clearly answered.
5. Evaluate. Adjust. Repeat.
Event planning involves time, people, planning, and funding. Determine the objective of each event, how to measure it and assess the results– not just from an internal perspective but the partners’ point of view as well. Communicate the results internally, solicit ideas for improvement, and make adjustments to incorporate into your next event.
Above all, make sure every event is designed from the ground up with the partner experience being top of mind.