Creating demand with your partner

Nothing kills a partnership faster than lack of demand for your product.  As a result, one of the most important things you can do for and with a partner is to generate leads.

Not to get wrapped up in process, but you and your partner should have a marketing plan.  At the least, that plan should set a goal for expected number of leads, create a schedule, determine how leads will be generated, and decide who will do what to make it happen.  Of course, creating demand assumes collateral, people, tools, etc. are in place. To that end, below is an outline of points to be considered in enabling demand creation. Most of the actions suggested involve nothing more than a time commitment; any seminars you decide to hold or email lists you may rent will add expense.

The Basics

  1. Contacts
    1. You and your Partner will each assign an account manager who will work with both companies’ sales, marketing and professional services to maximize revenue
  2. Internal Announcement
    1. You and your Partner will draft announcement e-mails describing the Partnership to your respective sales forces and internal company audiences.  You both will be presenting the benefits of the partnership to your sales forces as part of training them to sell and work together.
  3. External Announcement
    1. You and your Partner will draft announcement e-mails describing the partnership to your respective customers.
  4. Corporate Website
    1. You and your Partner will add your logos to each others’ web sites
    2. Press releases about the partnership will be added to each others’ websites
  5. Partner Website
    1. You will create a Partner web site allowing each Partner password protected access to sales and marketing information (customer presentations, collateral, pricing, RFP responses, etc.).
  6. Press Releases
    1. You and your Partner will issue a joint press release announcing the Partnership 
    2. You and your Partner will coordinate joint press releases as needed on an on-going basis
  7. Collateral/Sales Toolkit
    1. You will provide product collateral, success stories/use cases, reference accounts, customer presentation slides (with scripts including what questions to ask a prospect).  You may also provide RFP responses, ROI tool, white papers.  You and Partner may decide to jointly brand or private label the materials but, at the very least, take advantage of joint customers to create success stories illustrating the benefits of the partnership.
  8. Training and Demos
    1. You will provide sales and pre-sales technical training and will make demos accessible to Partner.
    2. You will provide demo support to Partner.
  9. Pipeline review
    1. You and your Partner will hold regular pipeline meetings to review opportunities and determine sales strategy.
    2. You and your Partner will hold quarterly meetings concerning sales activities, working relationship, cross-sell opportunities, pricing, marketing needs, product updates, market trends, publicity, analyst reports, etc.
  10. Industry analyst coordination
    1. You and your Partner may decide to jointly coordinate briefings to industry analysts or conduct a joint analyst roadshow

Lead Generation

  1. Campaigns – targeted to specific audiences, lead generation campaigns will be crafted with each Partner with the intention of generating joint leads from both companies’ customer and prospect bases.  Options include:
    1. Webcast:  You can record a Webcast with your Partner.  This can be posted on each others’ websites, included in newsletters, blogged, tweeted. 
    2. E-mail blasts:  You can send joint e-mails with your Partner that are customized to specific audiences.  You and your Partner can send to your respective email lists. 
    3. Newsletter/Blog Highlight:  In addition to announcing Partners, you can provide coverage of Partner-related customer wins, whitepapers, speaking engagements, etc.
    4. Speaking engagements and seminars: You and your Partner can obtain speaking engagements at relevant venues or hold joint seminars.
    5. Joint content: You and your Partner may decide to generate joint content to kickstart customer discussions/engagements. 
  2. Targeted selling
    1. You and your Partner will create a list of targeted accounts to pursue together
    2. You and your Partner will introduce members of your respective sales forces to each other in order to facilitate joint sales calls.  Be sure to leverage joint customers to help break the ice and showcase the benefits of the partnership.

With the framework in place, you can now craft marketing plans with each of your partners that assign goals, timelines, events, and responsibilities. To the extent a budget is required, it is common to split costs 50/50.

Next: Partner Implementations.

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