In today’s business landscape, companies need to consider not only direct-to-consumer strategies, but also how to collaborate with partners to grow. That requires finding and engaging distributors who connect with target audiences, increasing both awareness and sales. Of course, selecting and on-boarding partners isn’t enough. Companies who successfully leverage partner marketing help their partners to flourish by continually providing new marketing resources, encouraging them through incentive programs, and communicating consistently.
Just like you do with customers, you need to develop a real plan for reaching partners and helping them to generate sales and increase revenue. Consider partners a real and valuable part of your own team, an extension of the staff that is on the same page when it comes to helping your business grow.
That being said, it’s important to remember that although each partner is a critical component of your own strategy, they have their own strategies as well. Your partners have other vendors and distributors they are working with, along with their own business priorities and needs. The only way to stay top-of-mind and ensure your partners are working diligently toward aligned goals is to provide value to them. If you’re not doing that currently, it’s time to give some serious thought to putting together a partner marketing strategy. Read on for five reasons why assisting your partners with relevant content can make all the difference in your results.
You can’t sell something you don’t know about – and that goes for your partners as well. Collaborate closely with partners to position your product the way you want it to be seen, help them understand your unique differentiators.
That simple concept of the child’s game “telephone” explains what can happen when ideas or materials get passed around and begin to take on different characteristics than what was initially intended. Provide a comprehensive brand guide to partners so that they know exactly how to use your logo, fonts, and other collateral. Not only will they find this a helpful resource, but it eliminates the back-and-forth on putting together new partner content and also makes it more likely that any of your brand elements used in their marketing appear as you’d like them to. Also, without a style guide available, partner companies are likely to just “wing it” – and you never know how the results might turn out.
To further ensure consistency in brand messaging, make sure that all partners have easy access to an up-to-date repository of your best marketing materials, as well as the capability to co-brand.
Distributors that you work with don’t have marketing in their DNA. Their focus is on selling products – hopefully, products like yours. They’ll need to be educated on the basics of promoting your product or services. The more you can provide them in the way of a plan or templates, the easier it will be for them to create campaigns that will help both of you stand out. Just as importantly, as we mentioned above, make sure that you’re available for questions and to offer assistance. Do everything you can to make marketing come easy to partners, and you’ll get a lot more of it.
Marketing is always changing and your success depends on your partners being their most effective. How can you help them to be their most impactful? Provide strategies, plans, and tips that you know are working. If an internal campaign is showing great results early on, pass along the information! Be cautious of passing along programs designed by other partners – but anything your own team has created is fair game. Share any key statistics on upgrades, product updates, encouraging web data, popular upsells, etc. – any inside information that can help other businesses better understand what will work for their own promotional efforts.
Nurture the relationships you have with your partners if you want to keep them. Try to be a supportive business resource, give them the proper tools, and generally be pleasant to work with. Doing so consistently will ensure that partners want to keep working with you.
Always remember: you probably need your partners more than they need you. To-partner marketing can ensure an equally beneficial and bountiful relationship that creates success for both companies.