Nurturing Your Long Tail Partners to Maximize Channel ROI

As a channel marketer, you’re likely very familiar with your top channel partners. They are the ones who engage with you often and send you referrals regularly. If your program has a number of active, vocal partners it’s possible they take up all of your time, causing you to ignore a larger more quiet (and sometimes under-performing) segment of your partner channel – the long tail partner.

The long tail partner, sometimes called a low-touch, high-potential partner or self-service partner, is a partner who rarely engages with you but still sends a few lucrative deals within any given year. While many companies view these partners as disengaged or disinterested, and therefore not worth their time, others are seeing the immense value in these partners. In fact, according to Jay McBain, Forresters’ principal analyst, companies are starting to embrace these partners and actively employ referral strategies to turn these partners into a reliable source of growth.

If companies could figure out a way to manage [these] partners even more efficiently – don’t assign a channel account manager, limit access to a rich set of expensive resources, and make all support flexible, automated, and self-service — they could rely on that annual revenue at high profits with no touching and little cost,” McBain said in an interview with Channel Marketer Report.

Companies don’t have to have a love/hate relationship with their long tail partners. By turning these partners into referral (transactional) partners, you can maximize their output while minimizing the time and cost spent trying to engage this segment of your partner channel.

Reseller vs. Referral

Companies with well developed partner programs know that reseller partners require a high investment with an uncertain return. Despite the high investment, reseller partner programs continue to dominate the industry. However, new referral marketing technology (aimed at automating the referral process) is starting to shift how companies think about their resellers vs. referrals. In fact, many companies are now finding that partnerships based on referrals are showing incredible success and challenging the status quo reseller partner programs.

Here are just a few of the benefits an automated referral partner program can bring to your company, your partners and your sales team:

  1. Quality leads: Did you know that 31 percent of referral leads from partners made a purchase? This number jumped to 41 percent when a sales team understands and participates in the referral process.
  2. Shorter sales cycles: Referral deals tend to move faster through the pipeline because they are warm, high-quality leads. In addition, your sales team will have access to the partner who made the referral and that partner can help to prequalify the lead or move the deal forward.
  3. Cost savings: Automation often results in significant cost savings. In a referral partner model, you can scale the large number of referral partners without having to add additional resources to manage, nurture and market the partner channel.
  4. Happy customers: Partners can easily meet customers’ needs with your company’s products and offerings. And because referral leads are the highest quality, partners know they will receive the attention and care they deserve throughout the buying process.
  5. Easy partner management: With an automated referral partner program, sales won’t need to manually track which partner referred whom, and what payment goes where. All of this is automated through the system so the sales team can focus on selling.

You can read more about the benefits here.

Why Automated Referral Programs Are A Perfect Fit

Investing in referral automation software, the kind offered by companies like Amplifinity, can be a great way for companies to provide these transactional referral partners an easy, hands-off way to submit deals. By providing a program that is flexible and automated, you can manage a large number of these partners for little cost with a high return.

For Jamie Mendez, director of channel marketing at IBM, making it easy for transactional referral partners to engage was vital to their program, as these partners are usually digitally-savvy. “Their expectation is they’re going to engage with you digitally,” she said in the same interview with Channel Market Report. “If you’re not up to par digitally, you’re not someone they want to work with anyway.”

That’s why it’s key, when researching referral automation software, to find a solution that fits all of your program’s needs without completely changing your existing workflow. By keeping the mechanics of your program the same, and simply automating the process, you can better automate the experience for these partners and see a better return on the deals they submit, while keeping your top channel partners engaged and happy.

If you want to learn more about referral marketing best practices, check out Amplifinity’s resource library.

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 

Building a Referral Partner Channel: Step 1 – How to identify potential partners

So you’re sold on the value of referral partners, but who do you recruit? You could go after individuals or large entities that are willing to enable their sales teams to pass you referrals. Both are credible approaches, but first you need to determine who has access to your target buyer and target accounts.

Here are the questions for marketing, sales and channels to work together to answer in order to explore possible referral partners:

1. What companies have a complimentary product that sell into your same targets?

  • This could be integration partners or just companies selling into your same buying group. Another approach to answering this question is to identify the typical technology stack and services used in your target buying group. The other technology and service providers are a great place to start.

2. Who has influence over your target buyers?

  • If you are selling to SMB, there are many trusted providers to consider such as their accountants and bankers.

3. Are there any associations that your target buyers are members of or that they follow/trust?

  • Local associations and chamber groups are often a key way that small businesses network.

4. Are there any purchases that typically happen in coordination with yours?

  • For instance, when someone buys marketing automation, they may also buy a webinar platform. Or when looking to purchase VOIP telephony they may also be looking at video conferencing platforms.

5. Are there any consultant groups or agencies that are typically engaged in to advise on a purchase decision in your area or a process that is complementary to your offering?

  • From niche consultants to goliaths, there may be players that are influencing your target buyers.

6. Are your target buyers part of a franchise model?

  • If so, the franchisors have direct access and significant influence worth pursuing.

Certainly, if you have an existing partner network, you may want to consider transitioning poorly performing resellers into referral partners. And to avoid “failed resellers” in the future, you can make participation in the referral program a qualifying step before reseller. This proves out that the potential reseller truly has access to your target buyers before you put in the effort to train them.

To keep optimizing your referral partner channel read, Step 2 – Engage and recruit partners.

In the mean time learn how companies like Citrix are implementing referral partners in the webinar, Why Channels Need to Embrace RaaS.

Data: How companies are driving deals through partner referral programs

The partner landscape has been going through momentous changes due to the onset of the cloud and consequently the change in target buyer. Therefore, it has become a necessity to diversify partner relationships in order to meet growth objectives. One way companies are doing this is by establishing partner referral programs to:

  • Qualify resellers as referral partners to prove productivity and fit
  • Generate leads from ISVs and other individuals who would never be resellers
  • Get value from resellers who can’t transform to SaaS delivery models but can still be leveraged as referral partners
  • Diversify partners and increase revenue generation through referrals


Based off referral partner data from actual companies’ partner referral programs during the course of a year, benchmarks were formed on:

What is the average referral activity a company can expect from partners?

Kathy Contreras, Research Director for Channel Strategies at SiriusDecisions commented, “Partner referral programs can be used in any industry and offer a way to motivate and reward partners for identifying and registering new leads. This type of partnership [referral partners] provides the opportunity to align with organizations that have strong relationships with a supplier’s target buyers, but are not interested in or qualified to resell the supplier’s offerings (e.g. suppliers that provide collaborative solutions, systems integrators, consultants, influencers, etc).”

In the recent study done by Amplifinity based on partner referrals made on the Amplifinity platform during the course of a year, it was determined that on average 69% of referral partners are actively referring throughout the year.  The average program contained 863 partners making referrals out of the average 1,250 enrolled in the partner referral program.

partner referral programs, referral partners, channel partners

The remaining 31% of referral partners enrolled were not actively referring.

How high-quality are the leads that come from referral partners?

Partner referral leads are one of the highest quality partner leads. What makes partner referral leads so high-quality are their one-to-one interactions. But not all partner referral methods necessarily enable that type of interaction. Therefore, it is interesting to compare the most used partner referral methods to their success in driving deals.

referral partners, partner referral program, channel partners, partner referrals
Most Popular Partner Referral Methods

As the chart illustrates, a lead form is by far the most popular way for partners to refer. This is logical since partners have a higher comfort level with lead forms as a result of it being a common business practice for partners. When looking at how lead forms converted for partners it is no surprise that it came in as the second most successful in terms of generating deals with a 37% conversion rate from partner referral lead to deal.

But if lead forms have the second highest conversion rate what is the highest?

Surprisingly, print cards have a conversion rate of partner referral lead to deal of 67%. However, this must be taken with a grain of salt since print cards were used less than 1% of the time by referral partners. This is another method that emphasizes the value of that one-to-one referral from partners.

Social media comes in as a far second in terms of popularity, with the data showing that not one partner referral coming from social media converted to a deal. This brings to the forefront the assertion that it is the one-to-one interaction that makes partner referrals such high-quality referral. While social media referrals can be done one-to-one it is more often used as a general blast.

“The data supports the concept that channel marketers already know – personalization improves conversion,” says Trisha Winter, CMO of Amplifinity. “The same goes for referrals. Social media, which is typically used as a one-to-many referral method was the second most used but had no success. Partner referral programs need to enable one-to-one referrals with methods like print cards, lead forms and verbal; which had high success rates.”

What impacts partner referral programs’ conversion rates?

The average success of deals coming from partner referral on the Amplifinity platform is 31%. On its own this conversion rate is remarkable, but when compared to the overall industry average created by Salesforce’s Implisit of 0.48% it almost becomes unbelievable.

referral partner, partner referral program, channel partners, partner referrals

However, this drastic increase in partner deal conversion didn’t surprise Winter, “It didn’t shock me that the success rate of leads created from partner referrals run on Amplifinity was so much higher than partner lead industry standards. When companies have the ability to enable partners with target buyer information while automating referral tracking, communications and incentive fulfillment it’s easy to see how referral volume and quality would skyrocket.”

Another factor that impacts the conversion rate is the fact that many partners will only bring a referral forward when a prospect has already become interested in the product or service. Attribution can additionally happen at the opportunity stage, which inherently inflates the success rate.

How does enabling sales involvement change the partner referral conversion rate?

While a 31% conversion rate is amazing by any standards, the Amplifinity report showed that enabling sales involvement in the partner referral program drove up the conversion rate even more. On average, a referral program that enabled sales to actively recruit partners to the program, generate referrals from partners, qualify referrals through partners, and receive a facilitated introduction from partners, increased the conversion rate to 41%.

What type of compensation is being offered to referral partners?

Compensation is very important when it comes to any partner program. Within the compensation structure lies the motivation for partners to make referrals. So what type of compensation is used most to motivate partners?

    • 60% of programs offer checks
    • 20% of partner referral programs offer gift cards
    • 20% of programs offer bank transfer

The most common compensation amount paid out to referral partners was between $101 – $1,000 with 76% of partner referral programs paying between those amounts. This large variance can be due to the percentage of revenue a partner referral program pays out and the cost of the product or service the partner is referring.

Download the full report to see more data on business partner referral programs including:

        • Most offered referral methods
        • Most successful referral methods
        • How the top 1% and top 10% of referral partners perform
        • Average referral pipeline
        • And much more

referral programs, partner referral programs, referral software, referral partner programs