Tips For Getting Your Sales Team Excited About Referrals

Your sales department is key to the success of your referral program, so it’s important to get them involved early and often. Here are some tips you can use to get your sales team excited about, and asking for, referrals.

Promote your referral program

To start, you need to promote your referral program to sales the same way that you are promoting the referral program to your partners and customers. Why? Because the more they know about the program, the more likely they are to be actively engaged in it. You can promote your program a few different ways:

  • Create an email blast – You can send email blasts to your sales team educating them on the program, and emphasizing the value of referrals.
  • Brand your program – By giving your program an internal brand, with a specific look and feel, you make it easily recognizable to the sales team.
  • Invest in promotional materials – Hang up flyers and banners in the office. Include details about the referral program to create awareness and understanding. You can even put flyers in common areas, like the company kitchen or bathrooms, that teach sales how to start asking for referrals. If you have the budget, you can also get t-shirts or mugs for the sales team. Make referrals an exciting initiative for the entire company!
  • Create a program owner – In all your promo materials, emails and flyers you should clearly identify who owns the program, along with contact information, so that anyone with questions, comments or concerns knows who to go to.

Structure your referral program to incentivize sales

By structuring your program in a way that enables advocate ownership, your sales team can override the normal lead routing rules. This makes it so any referrals that come from the advocates owned by a specific salesperson go to that salesperson instead of the regular routing rules. We find this type of referral functionality motivates sales to invite and nurture customers to become engaged advocates while working their referrals. This also helps motivate sales to meet quotas and get their commission.

Make it easy for sales to take part in the referral program

You can promote and incentivize your sales team all you want, but if it isn’t easy to see advocate and referral data, and recruit and nurture customers, sales won’t put the effort in. Your referral program shouldn’t add unnecessary work for your sales team. That’s why having the referral program data and functionality integrated into the sales CRM is critical. Functionality and data you should have includes:

  • The ability to invite customers to the program.
  • Seeing referring advocate information to reach out and qualify the referral and get a facilitated introduction.
  • Seeing advocate referral metrics in order to nurture them to refer multiple times.
  • The ability to input trackable verbal referrals for both registered and unregistered advocates.
  • See lead source as a referral.

For more referral program management tips and tricks, check out the resources section of www.amplifinity.com.

How Verbal Referrals Can Increase Advocate Referrals

We all know that customers, like ourselves, want things to be easy. The more barriers you have in your sales cycle or on your lead forms, the less likely you are to convert all of those leads into opportunities. As marketers, it’s important for us to make every step of the customer journey  easy – starting at the first point of contact, all the way through to the end. According to a survey from McKinsey, making the customer journey as easy as possible increased revenue growth by 10-15%. The survey also found that an easy and effortless customer journey resulted in happier customers, as positive customer experience ratings increased by 20 percent.

Look at companies, like Amazon for example, who have perfected the easy customer journey. By giving users the option to enable 1-click purchase, Amazon removed the barriers that might otherwise stall an online purchase. How can you replicate a similar ease of use for your referral marketing program? You can start by automating and tracking verbal referrals within your system.

Verbal referrals, also referred to as offline referrals, can be difficult. When you have a customer or partner who is ready to pass you a warm introduction to someone excited about your product or service, the last thing you want to do is ask them to stop and fill out a form online or apply to join your program. Instead, you want to be able to receive that referral lead and, in the easiest way possible, be able to enter the referral into your program workflow and make sure it is tracked back to the partner or customer for proper credit. If you are currently trying to track these types of referrals manually, it’s likely the most difficult part of managing a referral marketing program.

By incorporating verbal referral functionality into your referral workflow, you can eliminate a pain point for advocates who make verbal referrals but don’t get the credit due to a lack of attribution in the existing CRM or system of record. By allowing for verbal referrals, your advocates aren’t tied to lead forms through your dedicated system. Instead, they are empowered to leverage those close connections through the power of conversation. Chances are, your advocate will thank you, and be more willing to refer leads in the future.

Listen, people are busy and time is money. We all know this. That’s why it’s more important than ever to track verbal referrals. By allowing proper attribution for verbal referrals, you are allowing the advocate to keep leads engaged and collect those verbal referrals when a lead might not have time to fill out a form. Simply put. a verbal referral reduces the amount of effort an advocate has to put forth in the referral process.

And if you’re still not convinced, listen up. By offering verbal referral functionality as part of your program, you give customers the option to simplify their referral process which, in turn, increases engagement with the referral program. If you incentivize the enrollment process, advocates making verbal referrals are automatically sent an invite to your program if they aren’t already registered. Because the advocate has already made at least one referral, they are more inclined to register to be part of your program. When that verbal referral turns from a lead to a customer, your advocate will be notified and can see their reward which will encourage future referral engagement with your program.

In summary, having the functionality within your program to track and reward verbal referrals is essential to the success of your program – so remove those barriers and increase your advocate engagement! If you’d like to learn more about how you can increase your referral ROI, check out the Amplifinity ROI calculator.

Building a Referral Partner Channel: Step 8 – How to scale your referral partner program

In the last article in this series, I highlighted the key metrics for running a referral partner program. But if you want to grow your program, the best place to start is to benchmark those metrics. You can compare your results to other companies running referral partner programs in the annual data report: The State of Business Partner Referral Programs.

After developing benchmarks, you can now set some goals for growth and identify opportunities for changes that can drive that growth. In this article I will walk you through the most common opportunities for growth and how to capitalize on them.

Key areas to consider to drive program growth:

  1. Do I have great partners, but just not enough?
  2. Is my program too complex or too limited for what my partners need?
  3. Is the incentive not motivating enough activity?
  4. Are my partners becoming disengaged with the program?

1. Do I have great partners, but just not enough?

While you may have referral partners already, in order to meet your growth objectives the question becomes how do I get more of those successful referral partners? There are a few things to consider here:

  1. Have you exhausted the pool of partners that you would categorize as similar to the ones that you already have? For instance, if you have a referral program aimed at small business accountants, there are probably a bunch more out there you could recruit.
  2. If the answer to the first question is yes, there are no other partners like the ones you have, then it’s time to consider who else in your partner ecosystem could be a referral partner? What about all of those ISVs that sell to the same target buyer as you? Fundamentally, you need to think about who touches your target buyer and consider if they are in a position to refer your product or service.
  3. If you are still looking for more options, how about your resellers? I’m not talking about your top tier resellers, but rather think about referrals as an entry and exit point from a reseller arrangement. For entry try establishing a referral program as a qualification step for a future reseller to prove they can reach the target buyer before putting in the effort to make them a reseller. Regarding reseller exit, there are times when your business model changes (like the shift from on premise to the cloud) and not all resellers will be able to make the shift.

2. Is my referral partner program too complex or too limited for what my partners need?

The red flag here might be initial enthusiasm, then a drop off in activity. You may want to survey your partners to understand what the issue is. There are a lot of referral software out that that allows you to automate processes for partners to make it easy to join by reducing barrier to entry, track referrals,  and receive referral incentives.

Automation also removing operational hassle from the partner and making it easy to make referrals. This helps you gain their trust and increase their desire to keep referring business your way.

3. Is the incentive not motivating enough activity?

If you’ve got lower than expected participation, it just might be that your reward isn’t high enough. Revisit Step 4 in this series – How to incentivize referral partners to get a better feel for industry standards and approaches. If you are questioning your incentive, I’d encourage you to go back to your inbound marketing team and ask them what their CPL and CPA is. The goal is to be less that the cost of a marketing generated acquisition, but not so low that you are cheating your partners.

If you’re considering a change in incentive to drive more activity, make sure you also consider reward structures that encourage repeat referrals.

Lastly, make sure you aren’t “punishing” your partners for earning a reward. Put payment transaction fees and currency exchange in your budget so that the partners get what’s been advertised.

4. Are my partners becoming disengaged with the program?

Lack of engagement with a program is a daily struggle for any marketer. Luckily, there are a few key things you can do to help here with minimal effort.

  • Communicate – but automate first.  As a part of your referral tracking, each time a referral lead hits a different status milestone (think opportunity stages) you can trigger an email to be sent to the partner to let them know that their referral is making progress.
  • Let the data trigger touchpoints. Setup email that trigger based on dashboards/reports that provide you the list of those partners that haven’t logged in in over 30 days, those that have made referrals, but haven’t been successful, those that have been incredibly successful, etc. See previous article on Key Metrics to see examples and get other ideas of what to track. [add hyperlink once live]
  • Give partners full transparency. Nothing frustrates a partner more than not knowing the status of their referral and/or reward. Make sure they also have access to all the data from their personal referral activity in their referral portal.

 

 

referral partner program, referral partners, channel partners
If you can relate to any of these four points it is probably time to automate your referral partner program. The good news is that referral partner program software can remove the operational hassle of referral tracking, attribution and reward fulfillment.

I talk to a lot of people running an existing referral partner program and it is all too common for me to hear, “Honestly, I haven’t promoted the program much because I just can’t handle the manual management of the program without hiring more people . . . and that isn’t going to happen.”

Don’t let this powerful channel go underutilized because you’re still using spreadsheets! Learn how you can scale your referral partner program today!

Previous articles in this series:

Step 1 – How to identify potential partners

Step 2 – How to engage and recruit partners  

Step 3 – How to enable referral partners

Step 4 – How to incentivize referral partners 

Step 5 – How to onboard referral partners 

Step 6 – How to keep referral partners engaged

Step 7 – Key metrics for referral partner programs

Building a Referral Partner Channel: Step 6 – How to keep referral partners engaged

Once you’ve onboarded your referral partners, you’ll need to find ways to keep them engaged and referring. As I discussed in Step 3 – How to enable referral partners, you’ve got to make it easy for partners to make referrals and give them full transparency into their progress. This is the foundation for engagement, but let’s build on that with ways to keep the productivity high.

Here are 7 activities to keep referral partners engaged:

  1. Regular status update communications
  2. Regular program and success story communications
  3. Involvement of sales to drive referral activity
  4. Special promotions – both internal and external
  5. Coaching programs – to improve performance of struggling partners
  6. Escalating incentives to encourage repeat referrals
  7. Non-monetary recognition

1. Regular status update communications

You can have the best portal in the world, but unless you are getting the attention of your referral partners, they’ll forget to visit. Automated email communications alerting them to status changes in their referrals is a great way to stay top of mind with little effort. Typical statuses to alert on would be when a referral lead is accepted by sales/qualified, when it becomes an opportunity, when it hits the various opportunity stages and of course closed won. In addition, you’ll want to notify them when they have earned their reward – which might be at closed won or after a retention period.

Simple, automated emails on referral status can keep them involved to influence the referred opportunity, but also reminds them of your program and how they can earn more. Links in your emails drive referral partners back to the portal to keep referring.

2. Regular program and success story communications

Not all referral partners will always have a referral in the pipeline to get status notifications on so you need to also provide regular communication on the program. A monthly newsletter can be a great way to do this, but make sure the content adds value to them and isn’t just “hey, remember us, we have a program”. Instead, focus on how you can make them a better referral partner. Give them fresh content on the target buyer and tips on how to make referrals. More importantly, showcase success stories of other referral partners.

This can be a simple as giving kudos to top performers, but the real value is in telling their story. How did a partner get 10 successful referrals in 1 month? What is the advice of your top referring partners? What is the key to their success? Take a few hours each month to interview a partner or two and highlight their story. I guarantee it will help to motivate and drive activity from your referral partners.

3. Involvement of sales to drive referral activity

If your direct and/or channel sales teams are not involved in recruiting referral partners and sourcing referrals from them – they should be! This has been proven as the most effective way to drive referral success.

To get them involved, make sure there is sufficient motivation in place. This doesn’t have to be compensation. For a direct sales team, consider breaking lead assignment rules so that every referral lead that comes from a partner they recruited goes to them. For business development, ensure your compensation plan accounts not just for partner recruitment, but also for the production of referrals from those partners.

You’ll also need to ensure sales has the right tools to input and track their activity. Enable sales with:

  • A one-click invite in Salesforce for partners who aren’t yet in the program
  • Ability to input verbal referrals in Salesforce
  • Ability to “own” partners – sales leadership can then track with reports in Salesforce to drive activity and sales ops can use to route leads
  • No hassle – everything tracked and automated so they can focus on selling/biz dev versus rewards.

4. Special promotions – both internal and external

Sometimes you need to do something special to get people to take notice and take action. Some of the most successful referral partner programs have big bang promotions to drive a ton of activity in a short period of time.

This can be a promotion internally to sales where there are special incentives for the latest tech gear, special trip, or whatever motivates your sales team. Get buy-in from sales leadership that during this day or week period that they spend the majority of their time filling the pipeline with leads from referral partners buy getting in front of them and asking.

The special promotion can also work going direct to your referral partners and adding a bonus incentive for referrals made during a short period of time. That incentive could be a higher bounty or percentage of revenue, but it could also be time with the CEO or training that they would normally have to pay for.

5. Coaching programs – to improve performance of struggling referral partners

Some referral partners will struggle. They may have signed up to become a partner thinking they were going to make a killing, made a ton of referrals only to have none of them make a purchase. You’ll also have some referral partners who are tentative to refer. Run reports each month on these under performers and make a point to have marketing or sales reach out and have a coaching session with them. Find out what their issue is. Some typical issues are:

  • A lack of understanding of the target buyer and persona profiles – meaning they aren’t referring the right people/companies.
  • Not making one-to-one referrals – blasting in social media is not the way to drive referral leads. A specific ask done in a direct digital or verbal conversation is the way to initiate interest.
  • Not sure when to make the ask – some partners may be leery on the best time to recommend your product to their network.
  • Not sure how to properly message the value of your product or service – hopefully you’ve got a lot of this baked into your referral methods, but even so, make sure your partners are solid in the value propositions that drive interest with your target personas.

6. Escalating incentives to encourage repeat referrals

Many referral partner programs work because you can go broad with volume of partners and even if they only make a few referrals a year, it can drive significant revenue. If you can increase the average number of referrals made across your referral partners, you can make a big impact. One of the best ways to do this is to provide increasing incentives attached to achievement levels.

This could be increasing percentage of revenue based on the number of successful referrals during a year period. Alternatively, you can bump a referral partner to a higher incentive level if their referrals move quickly through the sales cycle or if they played an influential role in the process. And certainly, there could be a bar at which the partner relationship could expand to a reseller.

Whatever your achievement bars, make partners well aware of them so that they can set goals and work to achieve them. Send them regular communications on how they are doing toward reaching the next level (this can be part of those automated status emails). This will keep partners engaged and referring throughout the year.

7. Non-monetary recognition

Of course you have referral fees for your partners, but there are additional ways you can recognize them for their efforts. Mentioning them in the monthly newsletter with their success story is a great way to make them feel engaged. Additionally, you can offer special meetings with the CEO to top performers A call from your Channel Chief thanking them for their effort can also go a long way. From the marketing side, you could show some love by helping to promote their business through your social feeds.

Fundamentally,  you’ll want to identify top performers, make them feel appreciated and encourage continued productivity.

In the next article in the series I’ll cover the key metrics to collect for referral partner programs and the final article in the series will cover how to use those metrics to grow your program.

Previous articles in this series:

Step 1 – How to identify potential partners 

Step 2 – How to engage and recruit partners 

Step 3 – How to enable referral partners

Step 4 – How to incentivize referral partners

Step 5 – How to onboard referral partners 

Building a Referral Partner Channel: Step 4 – How to incentivize referral partners

There are many different mechanisms to incentivize your referral partners. The key is finding the right mix of appropriate amount, structure and motivation – while ensuring you can handle the fulfillment! In this article in our Building a Referral Partner Channel series, I’ll cover those elements and provide best practices so you can make these key decisions.

Choosing the best reward amount for referral partners

Referral partner fees typically fall between 5%-25% of first year revenue. While many programs use percentage of revenue, for those with a more repeatable product price a simple flat-rate bounty can work as well. The factors to choosing the appropriate reward amount are:

  • Consider if you want to reward higher amounts/percentage of revenue for higher tier partners.
  • Consider if you want to motivate repeat referrals by having an escalating reward based on the number of successful referrals within a time period.
  • Consider if you want to vary the reward based on deal involvement or lead stage.

According to The State of Business Partner Referral Programs – Annual Report, the average reward payment for a referral partner is $182. Keep in mind, this is an average across many partner referral programs with a high variance in purchase amount for the various products and solutions. The best way to checkpoint your reward amount strategy is to work with marketing to determine their cost per acquisition (CPA) of a customer coming from inbound efforts (see calculation below). Your referral fee should always come in much lower than the marketing CPA.

Structuring your reward to meet business needs

There are 4 key factors you need to consider when structuring your reward:

  • Calculation – This can be a flat bounty, a bounty by product purchased or percentage of revenue. And per the amount discussion, you may want to offer different rates for different partner types or deal involvement.
  • Escalation – Setting a achievement levels with higher payouts is a great way to incentivize repeat referrals.
  • Timing – If you’ve got a subscription product, you may want to consider a retention period before payout to the partner to insure that the new customer is sticky. In these scenarios, you may want to consider rewarding at multiple stages to keep the partner engaged. For instance 25% of the reward at purchase and 75% after 6 months retention.
  • Accrual – For highly productive programs, it may make sense to accrue reward payments to reduce transaction fees and provide higher accumulated payouts.

With any incentive plan, make sure it is manageable for you to execute on. The more you can automate in your referral system, the easier this will be to handle. Paying partners fairly and quickly is a key factor in success.

 

Adding motivation for repeat referral activity

Structuring your rewards with higher levels of achievement and payout is a great way to motivate referral frequency. Additionally, you can consider special reward promotions to encourage volume during slow business periods. Some examples of this are:

  • Holding a “partner day” where the sales team and the partners have extra incentives to collect referrals. This can be an increased reward for any referrals that came in that day or could be raffle prizes.
  • Incentivizing the sales team to collect referrals from your partners is a great way to drive activity. Talk with sales leadership as this is sometimes frowned upon as a “double incentive”, but many sales teams appreciate prizes or swag for quarterly referral winners.
  • Add a big goal reward that would be beneficial to strengthening the relationship with your best performing partners. Set a bar for a high number of successful referrals that is reachable for your top referral partners. The incentive for reaching this does not have to be a cash payout, but perhaps they could get a trip to meet with the CEO or be invited to sales club trips. If the partner is also a user of your product, the incentive could be a free year of your product/service.

Key steps to reduce operational hassle

Anyone who has worked in an incentives or sales ops group knows that incentive programs can be a challenge to manage on the back end. For the scale that you can achieve with referral partners, you’ll need to automate this process or else it will become unmanageable without a drastic increase in headcount. Here are the key steps to automate so that you can focus your time on engaging partners:

  • Automate the collection of tax information. You can do this either at registration or have it triggered when the partner reaches the taxable limit in reward payouts.
  • Set hard-fast rules for reward calculation based on data collected in your referral system and/or from your CRM. If you can’t collect data on it, don’t make it a factor for the reward amount. Once you have clear rules based on data, automate reward calculation so there are never disputes.
  • Similarly, make sure you have clear escalation rules and data so that reward increases can also be managed automatically.
  • Integrate your referral program with a fulfillment/payments vendor so that you don’t have to deal with paying out the rewards. Payouts should be triggered automatically once the success criteria is met (typically purchase).
  • Provide real-time information on rewards earned and paid to your referral partners within their personal referral portals. No one wants to field calls on payments so make it very easy for them to access this information. Additionally, automate email communications to the partner when a reward is earned so they are informed right when it happens.

Now that you’ve figured out how to incentivize your referral partners, you’ll want to ensure you have a smooth process for onboarding. I’ll cover how to onboard referral partners in the next article in this series. 

In the meantime, become informed on the benchmarks that demonstrate a successful partner referral program in the report,  The State of Business Partner Referral Programs.

Previous articles in this series:

Step 1 – How to identify potential partners 

Step 2 – How to engage and recruit partners 

Step 3 – How to enable referral partners

Building a Referral Partner Channel: Step 3 – How to enable referral partners

The next step in building your referral partner channel is to ensure that you are enabling referral partners with all of the information and capabilities they need to be successful. Right after registering, the referral partner should be sent to a personal referral portal that enables them to get all the information they need from you to make a referral, provides them the mechanisms to make referrals and transparency into their referral and reward stats.

Deliver referral partners a personal referral portal with:

  1. Multiple ways to easily make referrals
  2. Product content to educate and to share
  3. Information on target buyer including personas
  4. Clear rules for earning incentives
  5. Transparency into referral activity and reward status
  6. Training materials on the program and how to make referrals

1. Provide multiple ways to easily make referrals

According to, The State of Business Partner Referral Programs – Annual Report, there are six methods that partner programs utilize to make referrals with varying degrees of use and success (see chart below). Poll your partners to determine the ways they connect with their network/your target buyers. For instance, which social media channels would make sense to offer? Minimally, you’ll want to offer Lead form, shareable urls and a way to collect verbal referrals as staples for your program. These are the most successful methods at driving leads that turn into new business. Here are the six referral methods:

  • Lead form – A form filled out with contact info once your referral partners have had a conversation with prospects to qualify them.
  • Verbal referrals – If direct or partner sales teams are involved in recruiting referral partners and collecting referrals, make sure you have the mechanism to collect this information and input it into your referral system to be tracked.
  • Email – Provide emails preloaded with your value proposition that a referral partner can then personalize and send to their contacts.
  • Shareable URL – Provide the ability to create a personal, trackable referral link that partners can place on their LinkedIn profile, business website, email signature, blog post or in a direct text message.
  • Social media – If your referral partners are connected to your target buyers via social media, then give them the tools to share your value proposition in social media. The more functionality you can provide to allow them to post/message to an individual, the better results you’ll get.
  • Print cards – A printed referral card with the personal url/tracking code on it can be a great way to bring offline conversations on line. With the value proposition already on the card, this can be an excellent leave behind for face-to-face encounters.
partner leads, partner referral program, partner network, referral partners
Most used referral methods by partners, The State of Business Partner Referral Programs – Annual Report

2. Give them product content to educate and to share

The best way to ensure that your value proposition is reaching the referral is to lock it into the referral methods. Additionally, you’ll want to provide key content pieces that your referral partners can share as well as content to educate your partners enough to qualify for fit and make the recommendation. Don’t overwhelm, just provide the key staples in simple, easy to digest format. At bare minimum, provide a pdf overview as well as an explainer video.

3. Clearly define your target buyer and provide persona profiles

The quality of referral leads are only as good as the information you provide your partners on who you want in your pipeline. Right on their personal referral portal you’ll want to give them the following information:

  • Target company profile: Industry, size, relevant technographics, any known triggers for needing your product or service.
  • Key personas within the target company: department, titles, job responsibilities, role as influencer, buyer, champion, etc.

Make this information easy to access – I recommend on the portal homepage – and easy to understand (use graphics and videos).

4. Provide clear rules for earning incentives

The best way to get activity from referral partners is to make them very aware of the value they get in making the referral. Yes, this may help position them as a trusted adviser and allow them to add value to existing customers, but fundamentally this comes down to the referral fee. Referral partners need to clearly understand the incentive and any hoops they need to jump through to earn it (I’ll cover incentive models in the next article in the series). Blatantly advertise the incentive on their personal referral portal and spell out any rules so that there is no confusion or argument over achievement. And if you’ve got a specific SLA or stretch goal, show them where they are on their way to achieve it.

5. Provide transparency into referral activity and reward status

The last thing you need is to be fielding emails and calls from partners wondering where their reward is. Enable all of the referral tracking to flow in real-time to their personal referral portal. Also, send an email when a referral changes status so that your partner is aware. The data in their portal should include:

  • All referral activity – Who they’ve made referrals to and which referrals are still open, have been accepted or rejected.
  • Referral status – Once a referral is accepted and qualified, make sure they can see the progress through the pipeline so they can help support the process.
  • Successes – When a referral makes a purchase, notify them of this via email, but also show this in their portal as well as the incentive earned.
  • Reward fulfillment – Provide the details on the payment of rewards earned.

6. Provide training materials on the program and how to make referrals

I cover training in a future article for onboarding referral partners. But fundamentally, there is no way you will be able to personally train each referral partner. Make sure you include in their personal referral portals training videos/materials on the following:

  • The rules for earning incentives
  • The target buyer profile – including personas
  • How to make a one-to-one referral ask
  • The ways to input referrals into tracking system
  • Info on what happens to a referral lead once they provide it
  • How to access referral activity data and reward fulfillment status

Use technology to enable referral partners

Using technology to enable referral partners is key to getting the scale needed to impact company revenue. Make sure the technology you select makes it as easy as possible for you to deliver these capabilities and information to your referral partners. Additionally, make sure it is white labeled and integrated via SSO into your web properties so that it is a seamless experience for your partners.

Once you’ve got the key enablement pieces in place, you’ll want to build a motivating incentive structure for your partners. Discover best practices for structuring incentive models and fulfillment for referral partners in the next article in this series.

Previous articles in this series:

Step 1 – How to identify potential partners 

Step 2 – How to engage and recruit partners