We're all about celebrating wins at Zapier. We have team celebration budgets that we've used for things like learning to make dumplings or doing a virtual escape room. Our content team has a "win bot" (rotating GIF included) that reminds them every week in Slack to shout out what's going well. And we seriously overuse the high five emoji.
But it's one thing to celebrate internal wins: as a marketer, you also need to think about celebrating wins with your partners.
Whether it's launching a new co-marketing campaign, reaching a certain milestone, or simply thanking someone for being on your webinar panel, you want to be sure you're showing your appreciation for and engagement with your partners.
Here are some ideas to reward a partner's hard work and help develop the relationship even more.
1. Give the partner a perk
At Zapier, we have a full-on "perks menu"—things that we can offer our partners, contingent on a variety of factors. Depending on the type of partnership, your perks could be anything from a dedicated post on your blog to a shout-out on social or in your email newsletter.
If there's no marketing or product benefit you can offer them, here's my rule: default to swag.
To celebrate big milestones in the past at Zapier, we've gifted partners t-shirts, stickers, or (best of all) thick, neon orange socks. You can even consider branded onesies for any partners who are expecting a little one or have a very cooperative small dog.
If you really want to go for it, you could send swag customized for your partners. One of our favorite examples of this is the custom LEGO logos that my colleagues Tim and Reid design and put together.
If you're sending swag, just be sure to contextualize it. You don't want those socks showing up on their doorstep without any warning. Here's an example email you might send:
A big thanks to you and the rest of the [partner name] team for your partnership! We're so thrilled about [what you did together] 🎉
As a token of appreciation, we're sending you a [your company name] swag item of your choice, which you can order directly to your home or office. [link to order]
We're energized to continue our partnership going forward, and we'll be in touch about further opportunities—please do the same on your end!
You'll of course want to adapt this—and you'll likely need a template for each type of partnership you have—but over time, you'll have a whole slew of canned responses to send based on the situation.
P.S. I seriously recommend sock swag.
2. Have your CEO send an email
If you're celebrating a big milestone or dealing with a strategic partner, it's worth getting your leadership team involved. A personal email from your CEO or another executive, sent to a high-level exec at the partner's company, speaks wonders to the partner about how valuable the relationship is to you.
Of course, your CEO is busy—plus, they likely don't have all the context. But you can't send the same email to everyone; you need a truly personalized email for each partner in order to show your authentic appreciation. Having said that, you can still automate the process. Here's how to do it:
1. Create a form with the following fields:
To email (comma separated list)
Cc email (comma separated list)
Bcc email (comma separated list)
2. Use Zapier to create a workflow that automatically (a) creates an email draft in your CEO's inbox based on the form response and (b) sends a notification to the CEO that there's a draft ready for their review.
Here are Zap templates for creating a draft in Gmail based on a Google Forms response and notifying your CEO in Slack when someone submits the form. If you want, you can combine them into one Zap or automate the process using different apps.
Create draft emails inGmail for new Google Forms responses
Send Slack messages for new Google Forms responses
Zapier is a no-code automation tool that lets you connect your apps into automated workflows, so that every person and every business can move forward at growth speed. Learn more about how it works.
3. Whenever you want your CEO to send an email to a partner, fill out the form, and it will appear as a draft in their inbox. If you've added a notification step, they'll also get pinged in whatever app you chose to use.
4. The CEO just has to review the email to be sure they're comfortable with it and click send.
Here's an example email you might send:
Subject: Thank you, from [your company name]!
Hope you're well!
I've been so happy to follow along with the collaboration between [partner name] and [your company name]. I was particularly excited about [specific example]. [Name of primary contact] has been a wonderful champion of our work together. Kudos for developing a strong team!
Big thanks to you and the entire [partner name] team. Excited for what's next!
3. Host a post-mortem or retro
This might be overkill for smaller partnerships, but if you just completed a major project with a partner—and especially if you plan to continue working with them—doing a post-mortem is a great way to reflect on wins and to share feedback for what can be improved next time.
Create an informal slide deck that shows what you accomplished and walks through what went well (and not so well), including specific results. And be sure to leave room for next steps: this can be a great way to start generating ideas for the next activity you work on together.
4. Celebrate internally
I know we're talking about external, shared wins, but celebrating those kinds of successes internally can have just as much of an effect on the partnership. Here are some ideas:
Post in a public channel (whether that's your team chat app, an internal blog, or an email), and specifically include a thank-you section for all the internal folks involved.
Ask the partner for a swag exchange. You want socks with their name on them too, obviously.
Present the success at an all-hands or team meeting.
Leverage any team celebration budget for a virtual party.
If your team feels appreciated and understands the value this partnership brought to the company, they'll be incentivized to continue slaying it and proactively figure out ways to make partnerships successful. It might even spur folks to share their positive experiences on LinkedIn or Twitter, which is yet another win for the partner.
At Zapier, our partners are a huge part of what makes us successful. If that's the case on your end, too, you want to be sure you're celebrating your shared wins just as much as you'd celebrate any internal wins. Best-case scenario, it helps grow the relationship and foster new ones; worst-case scenario, more people have socks with your company logo on them. You can't lose.