• 4 mins read

Building your partner network is no different than building a quality sales lead funnel.

Partner development and partner/lead generation are two sides of the same coin:

A typical buyers journey consists of several consecutive stages in which your prospect becomes aware of and interested in your product (or service) before moving on to the actual buying stage. Your marketers are aware of this fact and use this framework every day to plan the creation of content for your business to drive lead generation.

Let’s take a closer look at the buyers journey and look at two important aspects of it. We will see that we can use the influence of these aspects to build and plan within a partner network while providing valuable input to generate even more leads.


The age of cold calling over the phone is over, that’s nothing new. Buyers these days google extensively before contacting you. So when a prospect contacts you or your partner, they already know all the ins and outs of your product.

The same logic applies to increasing revenue from your affiliates. You can no longer just set sales goals and expect your affiliates to grow or meet them. The dynamics of relationships and the competitive landscape have changed.

Both your partners and customers should be able to find and access interesting and complementary content at the right time. Your job is to create, align, and align the right means of communication in the first three main phases of the buyers journey—awareness, consideration, and decision. The objectives of the interested parties and the capabilities of the partners should serve as guiding principles:

  • Prospect Awareness
    Goal – Identify a problem or need and learn a solution path to benefit from Partner Capabilities – Build lead generation initiatives and keep pace (demand generation)
  • Consideration
    Prospect goal – Evaluate possible ways and options to solve a problem or need Partner capability – Quickly find the right lead identifiers to match against product options and specifications (lead nurturing)
  • Decision
    Goal of the prospect – Choose the right solution and the right provider that exactly fits the needs

Partner Capabilities – Delivering an appropriate and coherent proof of capability and creating an environment without excuses (Opportunity Management)

Learning to manage these three processes individually creates a valuable feedback loop that turns your KPIs into data-backed business development insights with parameters you can actually influence.


The second important aspect when mapping the buyers journey are the buyer personas. This aspect is also a sure-fire success for today’s marketing teams. But think about it: Do you know your buyer personas? Do your partners know you? Are you sure that your thoughts and those of your partners match? Everyone wants leads, but we should give those leads what they need, from someone who has the ability to create quality.

An insightful exercise could be to examine the content available for the different buyer personas (at the different stages described above) and match that to the profile of your ideal customer. Preferably, you also match these with your partner’s ideal customer profile, because you want your leads to be approached with the best possible approach.

Yes, this can take some work, but it comes with some shortcuts and additional benefits that are worth it. The right structuring with the input from marketing on the buyer personas and the ideal customer profile of your direct sales team provides you with an exact mapping and a checklist for coordination with the ICP of your partners. This standardization (in combination with the right tools) saves you a lot of time and in most cases is possible via desk research. This results in the following advantages:

  1. You know exactly how to route the right leads to the right partners and can thus increase conversion rates.
  2. The feedback from this comparison is an input for the marketing team. This allows them to update and expand on current content and help you get better leads.
  3. When you’re done, you’ll have completed a full partner health check with the right attributes to plan for and measure future results.
  4.  Finally, this gives you a list of traits based on empirical evidence for partners you should recruit.

With the  right automation  , you can turn this into an ongoing feedback loop, with razor-sharp local marketing and sales efforts, fewer channel conflicts, and most importantly, a buyers journey that aligns with your partner development plan.

More marketing success for your partners? We’re here to help.

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