Partner Marketing – a relationship between two companies in the pursuit of mutually-beneficial sales – is often planned as an afterthought when two companies start working together on technical collaboration. Technical teams create process to facilitate the exchange of product info and build out an infrastructure tuned to that. When a product or solution is ready for market, the Marketing and Sales teams often find that the tech-centric partner program lacks many of the core tools needed to effectively win the deal.
Late to the party
We hear your pain – marketing can sometimes be a late-comer to the creation of partner programs. But when your corporate marketing team finally intercepts the channel marketing team (from your business partner), the deal magic happens. And good news – partner marketing is on the rise, with one-third of high growth firms rating its impact as “significant.”
The secret recipe
Traditionally, a conversation with your channel or business partner might go something like this, “Here’s a lead for you – take care of it, best of of luck.” Too often, the channel partner spends too much time routing and chasing the lead, gives up after one or two tries, and ultimately squanders the chance to close a deal. Meanwhile, you lack visibility on the whereabouts of that lead. Yikes. How to deal? Full-loop lead management.
In full-loop lead management, you (corporate marketing) nurture the leads before handing off to the channel partner, along with engagement data. This hand-off is facilitated by a CRM/PRM-like platform that acts much like a retargeting strategy; tracking the lead between partners. From there, the lead is tracked and optimized, at the partner-level – but updates to the lead and pipeline are shared with the original source of the lead…you! All marketing teams can support each other in a customized portal, where up-to-date content is accessed, including performance metrics.
All about the end user
Remember – a customer just wants a straightforward solution. If they can avoid the dance of engaging with your company first (as an influencer in the sales process), followed by the channel partner interaction (where they ultimately make the purchase), they’ll find greater satisfaction. The end result is faster and higher-quality sales.
Three Ideas for You:
- Does your partner network view leads, provided by your company, as a major benefit?
- Do you have visibility into what happens to those leads?
- How often do you assess what’s working well, and what’s not, in your relationships with partners?