How to “Marie Kondo” Your Partner Experience
If we opened your shirt drawer and found perfectly folded shirts row after tidy row, chances are you’re one of the millions of people that tuned in to Netflix’s hit show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and suddenly felt the urge to organize your closet. We might not be a celebrity tidying consultant, but we want to share a few tricks on how to declutter and spark joy in your channel program. Gina Batali-Brooks, President and Founder of IsInspired and Impartner Channel Chief Advisory Board member, joined Impartner CMO, Kerry Desberg, on our latest podcast discussion from the Build a Better Channel series and she explains how the principles of a popular house-organization television series can be applied to giving your channel partners a better experience. Several of the concepts that Marie Kondo uses really make sense, even for your channel partners. Below are the five tips on how to Marie Kondo your partner experience:
Commit to Being Tidy
If you think about tidying up and committing to tidying up, people are really starting to look at how you optimize your partner experience. It’s not a short-term fix, it has to start being built in the fabric of how you’re working with your partners. And so, committing to tidying up really means, putting in place the supportive infrastructure that you need over time. Similar to a publishing governance body, trying to move the publishing date of content closer to where it’s from or where it’s being developed, but then being able to say how do you make sure that it’s going to be relevant to the readers? How do you make sure that you’re getting rid of stale content or stale data over time? You really need to make sure you’re committing to being tidy and as well as tidying up for the long haul.
What do you want your Partners’ Experience to Look Like?
Imagine your ideal partner experience and truly put yourself in your partners’ shoes. Think about simple tasks like occasional onboarding as a new partner, you need to have an understanding of what that experience looks like and remember to talk to your partners about what their experience was like for them. Talk to your partners about the vendors they’re working with, think about all of their systems and then you think about all of the vendor systems that they have to know, all the logins, and all of the steps. Take the time to evaluate and think about a partner’s journey; for example, utilizing single sign-on solutions or integrating any tools that might create a better experience. Thinking about it from the partners’ perspective will really help you understand what your partners deal with on a day-to-day basis and will help you create a better partner experience for them within your partner ecosystem.
Focus on Discarding Before you do Anything Else
Marie Kondo says, “Just envision what you’re trying to move to and then finish discarding first.” She advises viewers to discard by category and not by location. So, if you think about discarding data, what is the data that you really need, and what is the data you’re going to get rid of? Looking at it holistically across what you need from a partner and not just what you’re going to need for the portal for instance. If you look at it more holistically, spending time discarding before you decide where it’s going to go and making sure everything has a place to go into. When you’re combining what you’ve learned about your partners and what you’ve envisioned for the partner experience with what you’ve done from discarding, you’re going to put those two things together to make them all work in your channel program.
Does it “Spark Joy” in your Channel?
What you hear most often from partners is that they don’t like doing something because they know it is going to be a hard process and they want a simple process that is consistent. You need to give partners what they want, provide easy solutions, and create simple partner journeys. So, to take a lesson from Marie Kondo, just ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?” For example, if you’re going to a partner portal and you’re going through an onboarding process, and if it’s an email coming into your inbox, you want your partners to respond with excitement or joy and not drudgery. Implement partner personas, implement new processes based on partners’ experiences and partner satisfaction, and improve and remodel your channel. Create a meaningful experience for your partners in your channel and optimize your partner experience so that every process and every piece of content shared sparks joy for your partners.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Marie Kondo because she is incredibly grateful, she thanks the house for what you have over your head, and she thanks the people she works with. Practicing gratitude can be challenging when you think of all the problems that are sometimes present in your channel, but when you take a step back, you might realize that you actually have a lot of good things going on as well. Don’t forget to be grateful and practice gratitude for what you have. Often, we talk to partners on behalf of our customers and you talk to the partners and they think they have all of these major issues or they’re doing things wrong. Encourage your partners, express all the great things they do well, and take the time to show your gratitude for their hard work.
It’s time to reimagine your processes and think about how you can declutter your partner experience and simplify it. Create bite-sized plans along the way that allows you to reach your goals, measure your success throughout the journey, and know where you’re going. If this blog post sparks joy, listen to the full podcast with Gina Batali-Brooks, President and Founder of IsInspired and Impartner Channel Chief Advisory Board member.