Partnerships are crucial for business growth. But in spite of all the advantages that partnerships offer and efforts put in to maintain them, 70% ultimately fail. The percentage is predictably higher if you happen to have more than one partner.
So, what are the challenges that restrain businesses in maintaining good partnerships?
Challenges associated with strengthening partnerships
Forming a partnership and then maintaining it for a prolonged period of time is a complex process. It is categorized into the following stages – determining the right goal, finding a trusted partner, and nurturing a rewarding relationship.
Further, the irregular nature of contact with partners makes it challenging to maintain an ongoing relationship.
Advent of online communities to manage partnerships
It has been only a few years since online communities came to the surface. With remarkable success in customer and employee communities, they have become an important platform for engaging with partners.
Compared to partner relationship management software, partner communities offer better opportunities for collaboration. The strategic use of online communities has been tried and tested for successful B2B engagement.
Introduction of gamification in partner communities
Gamification, as the name suggests is the technique of employing gaming elements into the non-gaming environments. With gamification, participants of an online community are motivated to take strategized actions and add value to the community goal.
Popular game mechanics include presenting rewards, points, badges, levels etc. to generate a sense of competition among users , thus, encouraging them to engage with other partners in the community.
Leveraging gamification in partner communities
With partners becoming a part of quality engagement on your community, you can reduce the overhead costs required to maintain a consistent flow of communication. Gamification in partner communities not only results in a better partner support but also drives higher sales and taps new business prospects.
Here are some ways you can leverage gamification in partner communities:
The foremost requirement of a successful online community is the understanding of behavior data. In order to leverage gamification, it is critical to track and measure the behavior of your partners in your community.
You can analyze the behavior data based on the following:
– Partners’ contributions on different topics (discussions initiated)
– Number of replies made by partners (in relation to queries)
– Quality of content shared by partners across the community etc.
Analyze your partners’ performance and reward them based on the following points:
– How are they streamlining and adding to your organization’s goals and objectives
– Are they providing a clear picture of the competitive landscape
– Are they contributing to product development through critical analysis and feedback
– Are they helping you generate sales across geographies
A highly active and engaged partner helps you achieve your goals faster. Therefore, to increase engagement in your partner community, you can adopt the following strategies:
– Build a knowledge base that includes FAQs, user guides, API documents, installation guides, video tutorials etc.
– Address the concerns of your partners and resolve their queries. For instance, an open discussion forum will emphasize a transparent feedback mechanism and invite active participation.
– Showcase your partners’ efforts, contributions, and success stories among other partners to motivate them for future engagement.
As a result of this engagement, you can set up private advisory boards to share and explore different growth opportunities among your partners.
Use the product tracking feature in your community to crowdsource ideas and reward your partners for sharing ideas.
Partnership relationship management can help you grow your business and reduce operational costs. With advancement of gamification, online partner communities have emerged as the major source for revenue generation.
By employing strategic gamification in your partner community, you can build strong and sustainable partner networks.