Partner Advisory Councils (PAC) are held for one critical reason, listening to the partner community.  But what are the components of a PAC that ensures the goal is accomplished? What are the foundational elements that ensure success? What must be done differently in a virtual world to ensure a meaningful dialogue is held? Listening to partners is one thing, understanding them requires a defined approach.  AchieveUnite draws on deep experience, best practices, and successful outcomes to ensure your next partner advisory council does not turn into another webinar.

Tenet One: Less is More. Internal process and old habits often die hard. When it’s time to prepare for an advisory council, many organizations drive forth the requirement to prepare a lengthy deck for presentation. Programmatic changes are being rolled out, product roadmaps are being updated, or partner facing tools are moving to a new platform. All incredibly relevant information for the partner community. Is a PAC the right forum to deep dive into the nuanced details of the change? Less is more. The advisory council is all about listening, not presenting. Put simply, it is not a webinar.

Tenet Two: Drive the Conversation. Channel leadership kicks off an advisory council discussion with one key point: You are there to listen. Open the dialogue and take the slides down. Gallery mode is critical here. Cameras are on, and the spotlight is on the audience. Often, silence sets in, as human nature requires in person, nonverbal ques to establish comfort and be the first one to speak, breaking the ice. These cues hardly exist in a virtual world. In person, this social que is kicked off with eye contact, with the presenter subtly, yet purposefully cuing the person or people they know will chime in.  This point, while on the surface may seem like minutia, is critical to success. It’s more than just kicking off the dialogue; it’s setting the tone for the meeting, establishing a comfort zone for the audience, and paving the path to a successful listening session. What is the best way to manage this in a virtual environment? Solving for this is easy – tee up a partner or two before the meeting to be a “strong voice” and ask they help foster the dialog, ultimately driving the conversation if silence sets in.

Tenet Three: Preparation is Key. You partners are integral to your success, and even the best channel strategy and programs have room for improvement. After all, business models are rapidly evolving, with both OEMs and partners shifting to support a new era in IT. Coming to the table armed with where partners are both operationally and strategically ensures your talking points and thought processes are best equipped to manage dialogue, avoid pit falls, and be prepared to answer difficult questions. AchieveUnite has a methodical approach to pre advisory council interviews, ensuring there are no surprises, and successful outcomes. Employing a third party further holds a hidden benefit – as an arbitrator, a third party elicits partners true concerns, as intrapersonal relationships no longer influence responses to questions addressing root issues.

Tenet Four: Make it Fun and Memorable. In today’s world, another Zoom meeting on the calendar excites no one. This demands your PAC be as memorable, engaging, and interesting as possible. AchieveUnite has a penchant for public speaking, driving audience engagement, and injecting fun into meetings. This ensures your partners are engaged, invested, and look forward to your next event.

Tenet Five: Follow Up. Advisory councils must drive strategic imperatives and become an integral part of your channel evolution strategy. Too often, it’s found that PAC’s are held with partners requesting change, with no tangible outcome, weeks, months or even years down the road. Trust is gained in drops and lost in buckets. PAC’s drive trust, lack of follow up and change loses it. An advisory council must be a step along a journey, not a singular event with the end defined as the meetings conclusion. Advisory councils are part of an overall channel strategy to drive success.

To learn more about how AchieveUnite can help you design and build a strong Partner Advisory Council, click here.