Assembling Your Retention Channel Program

By: ITA Group
channel partners connected with each other

The current state of retention channels in a partner ecosystem is heavily geared toward professional or maintenance services and ISVs. It is comprised of mostly enablement and training resources as well as developer and user communities.

It’s likely you’re already doing things that play well in the retention channel, but they’re lumped in with your other enablement tools and partner programs. A recent study of CFOs found over half of companies attribute 40% or more of their revenue to usage or subscription based model and 23% of C-suites are planning to incorporate these models into their strategic planning.

Embracing the channel ecosystem mindset can help you pull out and create new tracks and programs specifically with your retention channel in mind.

Retention Partner Examples

A retention channel is helping you retain, reactivate, renew, upsell, utilize and cross-sell your brand. This may include:

  • Integrators Consultants
  • Professional Services (MSPs, MSSPs, Other Services)
  • Implementation Partners
  • Agencies
  • Independent Software Vendors (ISV)
  • Accountants

The success of a business competing on customer experience or shifting to recurring revenue models is dictated by operational changes, customer relationships and sales/marketing efforts all centered on retaining business.

Getting Your Retention Channel Future-Ready

Retention channel programs should be iterative by nature—especially as things continue to change around who holds the contracts, who is owning the customer relationships, and potentially becomes even more convoluted in a time of complex solutions where multiple partners may join forces to prepare a solution specific to each customer.

The best thing to do is craft your retention programs and monitor to evolve as needed. A great first step is to evaluate your current program. That way you can easily identify areas where you can progress and drive growth, enabling you to move forward from a set-and-forget approach.

The trick to cracking the code on retention channel programs is to align your partners and needs to a customer’s lifecycle after they’ve purchased.

4 Categories of Future Retention Channel Programs

Future retention channel programs should fall into four categories:

  1. Implementation: Similar to the enablement tracks you’ve already got in place, these should speak to exactly what a customer could be asking your partners to do for them. This is a continuation of your current programs with a heavier focus on segmenting down to the people who need this information and support.
  2. Adoption: Focused on increasing usage and layering in services or other products, this is the perfect place for consultants, agencies, ISVs and others to shine.
  3. Growth: Efforts focused around increasing wallet share and product mix are in this category.
  4. Experience: Probably one of the hardest categories to draw a true ROI from the customer experience at every point of the buyer’s journey can impact a recurring revenue company who is reliant on retaining business. This can encompass everything from sales, marketing, support and experts in-house and within your partner’s walls.

Keep in Mind as You Measure

Much of retention channel measurement will go into pattern spotting, making changes inside the four categories—Implementation, Adoption, Growth and Experiences—and then watching to see if they impact your greater goals.

Even for organizations who haven’t shifted to recurring revenue, there are entire markets who compete on their ability to provide superior service as a means to keep their customers. Download the white paper to learn just how much is going on behind the scenes of a retention effort and why an entire channel is needed to succeed.

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