Once OEMs roll out a partner program, how do they market their products and offerings, and develop relationships accordingly? A clear characterization of partner requirements, and availability of customizable marketing materials and personalized messaging based on target audiences is key, according to market analyst and channel expert Patricia Rush.
In a recent webinar hosted by TreeHouse Interactive, titled “Where To Start When Creating A Partner Program,” Rush spotlighted the need for concise resources for partner information. To create more meaningful partnerships and increase brand awareness, OEMs are encouraged to revamp their web site with channel-specific messaging and contact information. “It’s important for partners to know that you’re channel savvy and that you’re communicating to them separately from general inquiries,” she said.
Easy access to information also applies to current partners, who need the ability to send out requests for marketing materials and MDF funds anywhere and at any time. “You want to make it clear for partners on who they should contact for what,” Rush added. “If a partner is calling in or logging in, or trying to get information, you have to make sure it’s simple for them to figure out where to go. The same thing applies for field sales organizations. You want to make it simple for your channel sales manager to request MDF or a demo program when they’re with a partner or customer.”
In an effort to create more loyal partnerships and increase brand penetration, OEMs are encouraged to develop a list of “how-to’s” regarding channel management, reporting and measurement. It also is vital that a set of metrics is developed to ensure partners report accurate and efficient information.
“Internally, you want to make sure you have metrics in place to report on successes,” Rush said. “It doesn’t necessarily all tie around revenue. There are other metrics that you can use to track through systems and processes.” (Could we maybe find out what these are?)
Similar to developing a set of rules and guidelines for ROI reporting, OEMs must develop a roster of customizable marketing materials, such as templates, ad copy, artwork, logos and images, trade show materials and presentations.
“When you’re building your partner portal and marketing messaging, you have to keep in mind whether there’s a specific vertical market focus, customer segmentation or partner segmentation,” Rush said. “As you create your messaging, whether it’s on your web site, marketing materials or presentations you’re taking into the field, make sure you’re talking to the segment or market that’s appropriate.”
Highlighting the importance of including customized messaging and branding, Rush advised that companies include gateways that allow partners to include their unique value propositions and offerings into marketing materials.
“If you’re working through a partner organization that does marketing on their own, you want them to be able to drop in information about their company, or quickly and accurately communicate product information,” she said.
The webinar also provided top tools sales teams need to further demand and lead generation efforts, including:
With these resources on hand, sales teams can portray company messaging and offerings in a more effective manner. These tools also will create more meaningful leads by accurately addressing industry pain points and company needs.
Click here to access an on-demand version of the webinar from TreeHouse Interactive and learn more sales and marketing tips for optimal partner programs.