The mechanics of working with a partner, be they a re-seller, a technology partner, service partner, or consultancy, will obviously differ from one company to the next – depending on what they’re trying to achieve, and what services they bring to the table. That said, there are five key areas that when focused on help bring clarity to any on-going engagement:
Focus area #1: People
Partnering is ultimately a people-led activity, especially when you’re trying to stand out from rival vendors. But more than this, every successful co-marketing campaign is built on an understanding of the individuals involved. Getting the people dimension right therefore begins by asking two key questions:
Does your partner have access to the necessary skills and knowledge needed to produce and execute the required campaign activities (this should stretch to cover writers, designers, web developers, analysts, inside sales etc.)?
Do they have a firm handle on who the target buyers are, and why these people should choose their services and your products in tandem? Understanding the ‘who’ is essential for defining needs and responses throughout a campaign
Focus area #2: Technology
The vast majority of partner campaigns will obviously involve the use of digital technologies. In particular they require (at various stages) a content management system, marketing automation, CRM, and analytics. Or put another way: the ability to make content easily available, to send it out to relevant contacts, to manage the follow-up, and assess the results. It’s therefore a no-brainer to spend time before starting a campaign to make sure these are all in place, alongside the processes needed to support their use.
Key recommendation: of all the tech involved, we’d suggest the most critical tool is automation – to help cut timeframes, reduce the ‘burden of delivery’, and ensure relevant prospect engagement.
Focus area #3: Buyer journey
Lead nurturing is central to any joint marketing activity, which brings us to the buyer journey. It’s here that thought turns to the types of conversation your partners are able to inspire – depending upon a prospect’s requirements and level of ‘progress’.
Questions to ask here include:
Does your partner have a process in place for nurturing leads generated as part of the campaign?
What qualification criteria are in place, and how will ‘inappropriate’ leads be filtered out in the quickest way possible?
Is there content in existence that maps to each stage of the buyer’s journey?
Focus area #4: Content
All the budget, resource, and energy you can muster will matter for little if you or your partner is pushing out mediocre content. As we all know, the best chances of success comes with content that’s stand out, intriguing, attention-grabbing, and designed to elicit a reaction. It’s therefore important to ask:
Has the partner customised content for the campaign and target audience, or are they relying on generic, pre-existing, or product-focused assets?
Are they relying on ‘safe’ formats such as ebooks and whitepapers, or are they open to more creative approaches and delivering disruptive assets to drive up engagement?
Focus area #5: Reach
The reach of the campaign, and the marketable universe available, will have an obvious impact on both the scope and success of any marketing campaign. Especially when you’re looking to go after new wins with companies that have (possibly) never heard of you or the partner before – which is why it becomes a numbers game.
Some of your earliest questions should therefore be:
Does the partner have the organic reach (email contact lists, social following etc.) required to meet the campaign objectives?
If not, how what are the plans for expanding the target audience (in a way that’s GDPR compliant) – and what’s it going to cost?
Our quick-fire guide to boosting the returns from your partner marketing activity
Gone are the days when partners fought to establish their credentials with a large vendor. Today, it’s the vendors themselves who are under increasing pressure to ‘wow’ partners whom themselves can have multiple relationships with multiple tech companies. The good news is that we have a few ‘wow’ tricks up our sleeves, and can point to a proud track record of activating and empowering partners.
So what’s your ‘next best move’? Well, by downloading our eBook on you’ll find some useful insights, hints, and tips to get you started... Download Now