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After adopting a CRM for partner relationship management, Alexandra Najaryan — Head of Expert Partners Program at amoCRM, doubled partnership network in just 8 months.
In October 2019, Alexandra Najaryan launched the amoCRM Expert Partners program. The new project aimed to give entrepreneurs, consultants, marketers, and system integrators the chance to kickstart the dream of launching their own businesses. It was a perfect win-win: partners would spread the word about amoCRM and earn a whopping 35% for each sale they made.
Alexandra’s initial team included only her and one other employee. “We had incredibly limited resources,” she chuckles, “We were doing everything ourselves — strategy, marketing, sales, support, design… even a little coding!”
The partner team’s first goal was to lay out a roadmap for generating, training, and working with partners. Using amoCRM for partner relationship management was a no-brainer, but they also knew they’d need to heavily automate communication in order to scale.
“We wanted an expansion of the program. We wanted more partners and a bigger network”
In those early days, the communication was all over the place. Interactions were sporadic and spread across multiple channels: Skype group messages, Facebook chats and emails.
“Not only do you lose time when you switch from one channel to another,” she says, “it’s totally demotivating… your gears are constantly spinning, but you’re getting less done.”
Alexandra already knew that she wanted a mainly messenger-based communication strategy. But when you put theory to practice out in the wild, a lot of things can go wrong. The first big lesson Alexandra learned: don’t assume you know where people like to talk.
In the beginning, she relied on Skype for calling and chatting with partners. She quickly realized, though, that this channel had long lost its popularity in the US, where the majority of partners lived. Instead, it turned out that American partners preferred text messaging above all other channels.
“SMS was definitely a blindspot for us — we assumed everyone was chatting on free tools like WhatsApp or Skype instead of text messaging,” she recalls.
Fortunately, amoCRM’s unified inbox includes SMS, so Alexandra decided to try out RingCentral SMS Text Messaging.
RingCentral SMS is an integration that allows you to capture new leads from text messages, chat with them in the lead profile and automate message sending with amoCRM’s Salesbot. Find out more about RingCentral SMS >
Alexandra explains that partner relationship management is just like managing relationships with customers — the ultimate goal is to complete all the steps in order to “win” them.
“They need to be nurtured,” she explains, “Even if potential partners are incredibly interested, life gets in the way, so you need to gently guide them along.”
She saw this clearly in the certification process: many people applied for partnership, but only a fraction were studying for and passing the exam to become official partners. To overcome this, she decided to introduce SMS as a follow-up strategy.
“We were already sending emails, but it wasn’t really working. It was time to try something new”
Alexandra started by identifying and tracking each potential partner’s progress. Based on their progress, she wanted to send personalized messages to congratulate them, encourage them or guide them on what to do next. She broke it down into the following stages in her pipeline:
While planning her pipeline, Alexandra also needed to consider the timing. She knew that some partners would plow through all the stages in a matter of hours, while others would get stuck at particular steps. And although only a fraction of the leads would end up lingering in a stage long enough to be sent the 3rd, 4th or even 5th SMS, she still needed to make those messages count.
Before churning out all the texts, Alexandra needed to set some ground rules, so she came up with the following guidelines for her strategy:
Once all the text messages were written, they were added to the CRM. The visual bot builder made it easy for Alexandra to totally automate her RingCentral SMS follow-ups. She just added messages and selected triggers to launch Salesbot into action, such as: execute Salesbot when a lead has been in this pipeline stage for 7 days.
Although Salesbots are good at automating conversations, human interaction is still necessary because partners have many questions to ask before getting certified.
For this reason, Alexandra subscribed her team to SMS notifications. That way, if a potential partner replied asking for help, someone could jump in and start chatting. From there it was much easier to help partners pass the test by providing answers to any questions that they had.
Even though SMS proves to be one of the most convenient channels of communication, Alexandra couldn’t ignore the fact that some potential partners still preferred emails. After all, one of the driving philosophies of messenger-based sales is to interact how your customers (or in this case, partners) want. For this reason, she also made a follow-up sequence via email:
“Leads move and are being followed up automatically”According to Alexandra, they’ve more than accomplished their goal to expand the partner network: “With a CRM for partner relationship management, the whole certification process has been sped up dramatically and our conversion rate is way higher. Leads are followed up automatically with personalized text messages that just work.”
“With a CRM for partner relationship management, the whole certification process has been sped up dramatically and our conversion rate is way higher."