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To-partner marketing

Posted by Christine Mulcahy on November 15, 2018 9:00:00 AM PST
Christine Mulcahy

In a crowded partner channel, it is imperative that you remain top-of-mind to the partners that are selling your joint solution. You’ve already done the hard work of articulating your joint value proposition and negotiating the terms of your partner relationship. Now, it’s time to excite your partner’s sellers about your shared solution.

Marketing to your partner sellers includes making them aware of your solution in their portfolio, enabling them with the tools and resources to effectively sell your solution, and incentivizing them to add your messaging to their solution to drive more sales. Consider answering the question “What’s in it for me?” for your partner sellers.


Identify your partner’s sales goals

In the same way that you must deeply understand your target customer segments, you must also intimately understand the intrinsic motivations of your partner sellers. Sellers are motivated by compensation and rewards—such as vacations, bonuses, and unique experiences. And, to earn such rewards, they often have quotas and sales goals they must achieve on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.

So, to effectively market to your partner’s sellers, you must understand their individual needs and market your offering as a solution to their pains. This is exactly like marketing to customers, but with a significantly different message. Now, your message is about helping them reach their sales quotas faster, adding more value to their customer solutions to establish a long-term relationship with customers, enabling a subscription-based sales model to diversify their product portfolio, or increasing the services revenue they are able to attach to your product.

Sellers are not motivated by money alone. They may also have goals designed around business development initiatives—they may need to grow into new markets, emerging industries, or within a particular customer segment. Learn what your partner’s business goals are for the year and craft your To-Partner Marketing messages around their business goals.

Simplify your to-partner value proposition

Much like defining your to-customer value proposition, you must be very clear and concise in your to-partner messaging. Simply put, your to-partner value proposition should read as follows:

Exceed [insert your partner’s KPI] metrics in [insert your partner’s target industry] with [insert your partner’s target customer segment] customers by adding [insert your solution name] to your [insert partner’s product or service offering] sales.

In one short sentence, you’ve made your solution relevant to the partner seller’s goals of achieving their key performance indicators, reaching their target industries and customers, and driving more sales of their baseline offering. Using this as your foundational message, you can customize the rest of your communications to your partners—include the details of a sales contest, share use cases describing how other customers have benefited from the joint solution, and share quotes from leading sellers about how the combined solution has helped them increase revenue and achieve sales goals.

Gain the attention of partner sellers

Of course, gaining the attention of busy sellers who are actively focused on closing sales with customers is challenging. Few sellers are going to read a 100-page training manual, and not many are going to go searching for additional products to add to their portfolios when they’ve already established a successful rhythm of business with their clients and baseline product or service offerings. So, your challenge is to get in front of them as often as possible with clear, concise, step-by-step messaging to help them improve their sales efforts.

Here are a few ways you can communicate your solution to your partner’s sellers:

  • 1:1 meetings with partner sellers—Keep meetings short, focused, and on point, leaving with key action items for all partner parties.
  • Partner events—Attend your partner’s events, invite them to join you at yours, and target shared customers to approach together.
  • Awareness emails—Again, sellers are busy, so short, targeted, actionable emails are most likely to resonate and drive the activities you want to achieve through your partner channel.
  • Partner advisory meetings—Invite your partners to help you shape your customer engagement strategy as a great way to gain mindshare and work together to streamline a shared sales model.

Here are some industry-leading tools for communicating with your partner’s sellers:

  • Selling guides with partner incentives included.
  • Sales scripts with buyer persona guidance.
  • Demo videos and guidance about how to share your solution with customers.
  • Short (30-second) training videos that help sellers understand your solution story.
  • Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) documents and recommended answers.
  • Webinars to share solution updates or opportunities at scale.
  • Case studies of customers who have benefited from the joint solution.
  • Proof points developed by industry analysts about how the shared solution can help customers achieve desired benefits.

Remember, in the world of digital media, marketing is an always-on communications requirement. You must have fresh, relevant, actionable content available to customers and partners 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And excited sellers don’t hurt either!

Topics: Consulting, Channel Marketing