Jessica Fewless, Vice President, ABM Strategy and Field Marketing at Demandbase joins me, Jen Spencer to discuss partner matchmaking, the role of partner marketing, enabling partners by focusing on their customers, and more on this episode of The Allbound Podcast
One of the things that we see is that a lot of organizations that say, “Yeah, I wanna build this channel of partners.” But they ultimately under resource that channel and skimp on the resources that need to be put into the human capital to grow a partner program.
I agree and I think the other thing too is, I looked at the role of partner marketing as a bit of a Venn diagram, and I think that the two circles are the work that you do in service as the channel sales team, the work you do in service as the marketing team, and then that center section is the joint marketing you do with the partners. Because it shouldn’t be just about joint marketing. So on the pure channel side of things there’s new partner recruitment, there’s onboarding, there’s nurturing of those partners and those sorts of things to help the channel sales team to be successful, and actually helping those partners influence sales for your company.
So that’s solely dedicated as a channel team and then on the marketing side, there’s the somewhat mundane but necessary part of the partner marketing role, which is connecting partners with the events team for sponsorships and working together with partners, or co-sponsoring a field marketing event or those sorts of things. But also, connecting with the right partners for potential thought leadership opportunities and those sorts of things that elevate both your organizations in the eyes of your potential customers.
And then in that center section is the true joint partner marketing. I think what most people think of when they think of partner marketing and why it’s really important if you don’t have the other two parts of the role, I feel like that’s part in the middle is what, like you said, gets under resourced and kind of missed.
When you think about some of the strategies that you’ve implemented to help ensure your team is creating the content that’s going to keep those partners engaged, and foster long-term relationships with them; do you have any guidance actively engaging partners?
I think everybody thinks “Okay I’m going to build a partner portal and then I’m going to put all these things out there about our product so that our partner knows about our products, so that they can go sell our products.” And in today’s world, I would just call that table stakes like, yes you have to do that stuff but that’s the bare minimum. You really want is to be enabling your partners with is content that’s going to help them be more successful with their clients. And hopefully, that’s the benefit of your organization as well. So, yes we have webinars, and we have data sheets and all that fun stuff about what’s going on with our product, but on the flip side of that, we definitely want to help educate them on account based marketing because that’s going to help them rise above their competitors in many cases. A lot of the agencies and consulting partners aren’t talking about ABM yet and so if an agency can come in and say, “Oh, account based marketing? Yeah, we’re all over that.” That’ll make them look good and that’s going to help them in business which then, in turn, will ingratiate them to us..
Looking back the last few years, you personally really dedicated yourself to building and executing an ABM strategy. Can you tell a little bit of what you’ve done and specifically why it’s been important for like channel partner success?
Talking about ABM at a really high level it’s understanding the accounts that you want to sell to and then going out and finding them and selling to them, right? That’s kind of the pipe dream or the promise, so to speak, of ABM. And it’s not a dream. It’s, in fact, a whole methodology around that. But when we talk about it, we actually talk about it having three key audiences. One, prospects, so selling to new potential customers. Two, your existing customers; you know even more about them than you do about your prospects, so you should be able to sell it to them even better. 80% of the work goes into getting a customer, 20% is in keeping and up-selling them. And then the third audience is your partners, because if you’re talking to your partners in the exact same way that you’re talking to your customers and your prospects they’re going to tune you out. They don’t really care what the shiny new widget is. What they care about is what you’re doing from a strategy perspective, or how that shiny, new widget is going to help them be more successful. So, if you just sent them to a web page that said, “Hey, look, we have this new thing.” They’ll go, “Interesting.” If you send them an email, and you personalize your website to say, “We have a shiny new thing and it’s going to help you and here’s why.” Now that helps, one, attract new partners, but to also engage the ones that you already have.
To learn more about partner matchmaking, the role of partner marketing, enabling partners by focusing on their customers, and more, tune in to episode 29 of The Allbound Podcast.