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How to Overcome Stagnant Channel Partner Engagement: 6 Tips

When partners are engaged, they are more likely to sell your products and services, recommend you to their contacts, and stick with your brand and organization. Channel partners can be incredibly beneficial in terms of providing increased sales volume, market share, and brand reputation. Improving your channel partner engagement strategy is key to building more successful and profitable partnerships.  

As someone deeply entrenched in the world of partner engagement, I've witnessed the ever-evolving landscape of business alliances. In recent times, however, many organizations have faced a concerning trend: a drop or plateau in partner engagement. I've made it my mission to delve into the root causes of this decline and explore actionable strategies to reignite engagement and collaboration. Let's jump into what's causing the drop in partner engagement and the practical solutions that can invigorate your partner ecosystem. 

1. Make time for planning and strategy sessions  

One of the main reasons behind the drop in partner engagement lies in the shifting priorities of both parties. As businesses adapt to the changing market dynamics, their objectives and focus areas inevitably evolve. This can lead to misalignment and a lack of shared goals between partners.  

To address this, it's crucial to conduct regular joint business planning and strategy sessions. By redefining mutual objectives and creating a roadmap for collaboration, you can rekindle the enthusiasm and commitment from both sides.  

2. Set the foundation for better communication  

Effective communication forms the foundation of any successful partnership. If your partner engagement has dropped, it's time to assess how well you communicate with your allies. In today's fast-paced world, relying solely on traditional communication channels may not be sufficient.  

The more channel partners feel involved in the process and their opinions are valued, the more likely they will be to remain engaged. Embrace digital collaboration tools, establish regular check-ins, provide personalized and relevant information, and encourage open dialogues to foster a seamless flow of information and ideas.  

🔎 Discover more: Easily automate and segment your partner newsletters with Impartner News on Demand!

3. Empower your partner to drive true partner engagement  

A common challenge affecting partner engagement is a perceived lack of empowerment. Partners may feel sidelined or unsupported, leading to disengagement.  

To address this, empower your partners with the right tools, resources, and training. By providing them with the knowledge and capabilities they need, you'll cultivate a sense of ownership and foster a more proactive and engaged partnership. 

How can you do this? 

  • Give them access to on-demand, self-service tools for their training and onboarding
  • Build co-marketing campaigns that actively include their valuable insights for targeting the right customers
  • Make it easy for them to track their progress in your tiering and incentive programs

4. Build valuable incentives programs  

You must align your incentive structures with your partners' needs and goals. To revive waning engagement, reevaluate your incentive programs, ensuring they genuinely resonate with our partners. Tailoring rewards that recognize their unique contributions and foster mutual growth will further fortify the alliance. 

Building partner transparency stands as a critical aspect of this endeavor. By ensuring partners have a clear understanding of expectations, goals, and the overall program framework, you empower them to make informed decisions. Additionally, transparency equips teams to identify areas for improvement and allocate resources effectively, fostering a stronger and more collaborative partnership. 

5. Embrace technology 

In today's digitally connected world, leveraging technology isn't an option; it's a necessity.  

Leveraging partner relationship management (PRM) platforms allows you to streamline partner communications, automate processes, and gain real-time insights into partner performance, ultimately boosting operational efficiency and enhancing collaboration within your partner ecosystem. 

To ensure sustained partner engagement, prioritizing the enhancement of the partner experience is paramount. Demonstrating value to partners and providing quick access to essential resources are key factors that contribute to their ongoing engagement with your organization.

Embracing an automation-first strategy to streamline processes not only saves partners' time and effort but also removes tedious barriers from the marketing cycle, facilitating faster adoption of channel programs and contributing to greater overall success. By embracing technology and focusing on enriching the partner experience, you can forge stronger, more enduring partnerships and pave the way for shared accomplishments. 

6. Measure the partner engagement metrics that matter  

You can't fix what you don't measure. To improve partner engagement, you must consistently assess and analyze your partnership strategies. You can do this by:  

  • Setting clear KPIs 
  • Measuring partner performance 
  • Obtaining feedback regularly  

The best channel partner analytics software can help you see into the future, providing forecasting and predictive capabilities based on your partners’ past performance. Use these insights to identify gaps, celebrate successes, and make informed adjustments to your approach. 

🔎 Discover more: Find our recommendations for the channel partner analytics to track here.  

Better partner engagement starts here 

If your partner engagement has dropped or stagnated, don't lose hope. The challenges you face are not insurmountable. By addressing the root causes head-on and implementing these practical solutions, you can reignite the spark within your partner ecosystem. Remember, successful partnerships thrive on shared goals, effective communication, empowerment, aligned incentives, technological integration, and continuous evaluation. 

By fostering strong relationships and harnessing collective potential, businesses can unlock remarkable growth and achieve unprecedented success together. Let's embrace these challenges as opportunities and embark on a journey toward reinvigorating our partnerships for a brighter future. 

About the Author

Trevor Burnett is the Head of Product Marketing at Impartner. Burnett has over 15 years of experience in the partnerships space. Over the years, he has built both technical and business acumen as he's done everything from building partner portals himself to strategizing how to solve partnership problems through technology with hundreds of companies. He's also the host of Impartner's popular MasterClass series, in which he talks about the latest trends and tech in ecosystems.

Profile Photo of Trevor Burnett