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Page 1: The Playbook: Successfully Integrated Through-Partner Marketing

successfully integratedthrough-partner marketing

January 2013

Page 2: The Playbook: Successfully Integrated Through-Partner Marketing


Through-Partner Marketing: How to Make it Work! ......................................................... 2

We Don’t Like To Be Controlled ...................................................................................... 3

Through-Partner Marketing. Help ‘em Out! ..................................................................... 3

Let’s Get into “Marketing Plays” ...................................................................................... 5

Get your Action Plan Together ........................................................................................ 5

How to Get Partners to Do the Stuff You Want Them To. ............................................... 6

Get Social! ....................................................................................................................... 8

Shhh. The Art of Listening. .............................................................................................. 9

Rewards, Incentives, Motivation .................................................................................... 10

The Big Boys ................................................................................................................. 19

ROI Measurement ......................................................................................................... 20

Meet the A-Team Authors and Contributors .................................................................. 21

Page 3: The Playbook: Successfully Integrated Through-Partner Marketing

Through-Partner Marketing: How to Make it Work!

Successful channel programs require a whole lot of patience, data, mutual

understanding, common mechanics and creativity. Channel program

management is to marketing what coaching is to sports; a game won through

the actions of others.

Since the beginning, Vendors have longed for channel partners to engage in

lead generation activities – vendors know that a lack of marketing effort

results in poor results and that’s just unacceptable. This eBook will share

overall strategies as well as the how-to to get your partners involved in

acquiring lead s and closing deals.

Vendors and partners often struggle to decide who should drive marketing. Even terms like “partner led” or “vendor led” marketing can spark vigorous discussion and misunderstanding. We often see heated debates on LinkedIn and Twitter about what partners need versus what partners expect. While some things remain hazy, it’s clear there is a growing emphasis on marketing through partners in 2013.

At hawkeye Channel we see the potential for a tremendous lift for vendors in the area of MDF programs. Many of our clients invest heavily in MDF and therefore have an interest in seeing how this trend impacts their programs – and so do we.

Understanding whether or not to incent partners to encourage through-partner marketing, or what tools they need to succeed, is the question at hand. How on earth can I influence partner behavior and get them to do what I want them to do?!? Well… let’s get a little philosophical for a moment.

If a company wants to have “motivated” partners, the way to do that is by providing autonomy, mastery and purpose (AMP). Motivation is how I feel toward something. Motivation is my opinion – my desire. Motivation is the internal yardstick I use to decide if I want to keep doing something. If I don’t feel it – I stop doing it. If it makes me feel good – I keep doing it. There are certainly best practices to motivating partners, ways to make them feel good about working with you, it is ultimately up to you to know what those motivators are and have a pulse on the heart of your partners businesses.

Motivation is not the same as offering an incentive. Incentives are external awards contingent upon an outcome. Incentive programs, in and of themselves, do NOT provide motivation. Alright, let’s not get too emotional about this. Let’s chat, shall we?

Page 4: The Playbook: Successfully Integrated Through-Partner Marketing

We Don’t Like To Be Controlled No one wants to feel like they are being controlled. Given the option between free

will and control we choose freedom every time. Any theory that tells us that we

are 100% in control of our destiny is attractive. Who wouldn’t want that?

Incentives can be thought of as a form of control. But we have free will (or so we think) and the idea that an incentive program takes away our ability to do what we like and are good at is not too appealing to most people.

When correctly applied, incentive programs can work in harmony with the free will approach. But it’s just not as easy as lobbing an objective at the team and promising a free trip when they achieve it.

Incentive programs must be a smaller piece of your influence strategy than autonomy, mastery and purpose if you want to have motivated and engaged partners. Incentive programs can become dangerous tools when they overshadow the true internal motivational needs of the partner. What truly motivates partners? They definitely like it when you help them build their businesses with the right tools and resources. You must be clear about the kinds of partners that should be on-boarded into your program –what they need and what is most important to them. Partner profiling is a good start for that… but that’s a major subject for another eBook.

Through-Partner Marketing. Help ‘em Out! Ok let’s get down to the Through-Partner marketing basics first. It’s more than

just throwing assets on a partner portal and assuming your partners know how

to use them.

Your partner portal should be clearly defined. The first screen partners look at needs to tell the story:

what it’s about, how they should use it, what results they can expect, and then clearly defined rules of

engagement and a clear plan of how to use the assets in the portal. Again, don’t make it rocket science.

And literally it should be as easy as 1. Click here, 2. Click here, 3. Click here, you’re done.

The portal must contain the integrated marketing mix your partners need to be successful. A sample


Data sheets for selling

Emails for customer communications

Scripts for follow-up

Follow-up emails

Landing pages to capture new leads

Create and deliver these materials with your branding but include instructions showing partners how

they can co-brand the pieces. Don’t assume they know how to create marketing messages for you. They

don’t have time to do that. So, if I’m a partner, I should be able to go to your portal, know what

campaigns are available, upload my logo, and Voila! My logo is on a landing page. My logo is on a data

Page 5: The Playbook: Successfully Integrated Through-Partner Marketing

sheet. My logo and contact information are in an email. I just have to download them. Then I get

instructions to execute my email campaign to my customers with a call to action that leads them to the

landing page you developed for me. And when my customers or prospects come in, they get whatever

information that brought them to this landing page, and I know they followed through the call to action

because I get an email indicating what the customer or prospect downloaded.

The landing page HAS to be able to capture visitor information and it doesn’t have to be much – first

name, last name, email, company, phone number. If you make the list too long, you’re going to

discourage the customer before they even fill out their first name. I know this all sounds like a lot, but

it’s not. It’s really easy once you’ve crafted your own messaging for your company. You repurpose that

content for your partners and customize it to your partner profiling. Boom! You’re done.

For Through- Partner marketing, we see 5 key trends/best practices to provide a

holistic, partner marketing solution – assisted by Vendors.

1. Marketing Automation (MA) – There is a detailed, fairly recent whitepaper by Forrester, “Technology for Engagement Channel” that delves into the growing popularity of marketing automation in detail and describes the different areas in MA through the channel lens.

2. Pre-packaged, integrated marketing plays – these are more than MA. For one, they integrate a number of elements into a cohesive campaign (not just a single direct marketing piece or e-marketing piece automated) and include non-automated, new media plays like Social Media, SEO optimization, etc. These pre-packaged plays are either run internally or by agencies that have adapted to working on many, small campaigns specifically for partners. hawkeye Channel has a marketplace of these vendors (channelCampaigns) we connect to MDF.

3. Concierge services –Offer the partners access to marketing experts who can assist with everything from campaign decisions to marketing plans

4. Channel Account Manager (as a marketer) – Train and compensate the field to become as involved in marketing plans as they are in business planning

5. Training – Train your partners how to be better at marketing and they will generate better results

Automated marketing tools provide the sophistication to make marketing through partners easier than ever before for your channel. You will be able to:

Gain greater market reach, especially the small, mid-market segments

Maximize your marketing investment

Facilitate the one-to-many approach with online tools

Close the loop

Make the portal improvements and tools help partners

Provide partners with great marketing content

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Let’s Get into “Marketing Plays” So, why marketing plays?

Master agency drives execution and maintains efficiencies

Breadth and depth of choice that includes integrated campaigns and new media

Vendors can pre-approve campaigns

Closed-loop campaigns help both vendors and partners adjust marketing activities to maximize return on investment

Partners get the support they need to understand and select the best marketing campaigns for their business and customers

Best in class Through-Partner Marketing leverages pre-packaged marketing campaigns. These can be

managed by a Master Agency if you don’t have the resources internally. By having an agency that

specialize in more innovative packages like social marketing, eBooks and ghost blogging, for example,

you can help move partners into new areas of marketing.

“New” Media – Social Media campaigns, SEO/SEM, ghost blogging

“Traditional” Media – direct mail, email, collateral

Integrated campaigns – include call center agent follow-up for partners to close more business

In addition, marketplaces like and eBay are an “experience” with which almost all users are

familiar. If you build your marketplace the right way, with the experience partners are comfortable with,

it will achieve greatness! Marketplaces provide the following advantages for the user:

Choice – materials and options that align with their business plan

Comparison – based on past performance, supplier and activity ratings

Aggregation – single order across multiple suppliers

Ease of use – one shopping experience

Get your Action Plan Together Expect to see even more emphasis on marketing through partners in 2013. Investing in Through-Partner

Marketing will help you:

Audit existing marketing resources for partners

Assess what can be automated and what can be pre-packaged

Provide partners marketing advice based on market segments, geo, vertical – could be from field

or centralized via a concierge service

Offer full-service, closed-loop, pre-packaged campaigns from multiple vendors and for multiple


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Harness the full capability of Through-Partner Marketing to increase

productivity and profitability for you and your partners.

A marketing system’s capability boosts partner productivity and profitability.

The more a partner is invested in the early stages of the customer technology

adoption life cycle, the more likely that partner is going to nurture their leads

into revenue. But the reality is that marketing is not the forte of most channel

companies. Clearly, partners’ marketing efforts could benefit from an infusion

of marketing skills and resources. But lacking such from partners, channel

marketers can begin to fill that gap with automation. The result is more

effective marketing on the part of channel partners, which will lower their cost

of sales, thus improving their profitability.

How to Get Partners to Do the Stuff You Want Them To.

Partner engagement is a catch-all phrase widely bantered about in almost every channel discussion,

often with little thought as to what it truly means – or the effort required to achieve it. The fact remains

that partner engagement, or getting partners to do stuff that you want them to, is critical to your

success in the channel.

Let’s start with uh…. SOCIAL MEDIA! Marketing experts have described 2011 as the year social media

came of age, but more importantly so have business people from all sectors, especially small to mid-size

businesses, who said they consult social media posts and user-generated content to make key decisions.

There is no shortage of statistics to support this so we won’t cover that ground here. What we’re

starting to see in the channel are vendors – big and small moving beyond standalone pilot projects and

embedding social media into their channel to engage with partners and help them grow their


It’s positive to see that even in these times when budgets and headcount are being reduced, social

media is recognized as an area for investment, with 95% of companies planning to invest more in these


You might be thinking to yourself. Well, that’s great and all but HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET MY

PARTNERS ENGAGED IN SOCIAL MEDIA? We’re going to share another deep secret with you.. shhhhh.

Don’t tell everyone. YOU have to help THEM!

Page 8: The Playbook: Successfully Integrated Through-Partner Marketing

Partners don’t have the time or the energy to build a social marketing plan or integrate one into their

own plan. So, let’s look at the basics. Do your partners currently market to their customers? Yes? Great!

You’ve got headway. No? You’ll have to help them do it.

You don’t want to get hung up on the idea of getting a partner’s customer/prospect database. They

wouldn’t give it to you anyway. What they need are tools and templates.

Integrate social media into your campaigns to get the highest lift for your

partners’ marketing efforts.

1. Start with your message. What do you want their customers and prospects to know?

2. Create an email that speaks to the message and why your partners’ customers should care? What is your call to action?

3. Create a landing page your partners can customize with their logo and contact information. It should be a simple landing page to get more information. Capture the prospects name, company, phone number and email. After the customer/prospect has filled it out use a button to get to the next step. Button: [Get Information Now]

4. The web/lead form you used on the landing page needs to immediately notify the partner via email, they have a lead. The form information goes to them. You provide content in the automated email to tell them how they should follow-up. With a call? What words should they use? In an email? Provide a template in the follow-up email. Whatever it is, make it easy.

5. Get them socially engaged. Most partners are already engaged but are not sure how to use social media for marketing their business. The chart below (under social media) should be shared with them

6. Working with incentives? Create an integrated Incentive Program Launch Communications Schedule to integrate into the other elements of your campaign.

Create easy email templates they can grab with content they can copy and paste for their emails. If they

don’t have a real database and use a spreadsheet then teach them how to mail merge so they don’t

have to email one person at a time. That’ll kill any motivation.

If YOU don’t have the time to show them, just cut and paste this into your

campaign details:


Page 9: The Playbook: Successfully Integrated Through-Partner Marketing

Get Social!

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Shhh. The Art of Listening. Implementing social media into your channel program won’t guarantee you a

5-star program but what it can do is make you a better vendor by allowing you

to listen, react and build faster and more efficiently than ever before.

It can ensure your partner program is continually evolving and can give you a competitive edge.

In 2013, there will start to be a more holistic approach to managing activities, beginning with listening or

monitoring. At present, a lot of social media effort revolves around vendor-sponsored initiatives such as

LinkedIn, blogs and Facebook. Companies are now beginning to step outside of their preferred social

environments to discover the social channels their partners and customers are using. These new lines of

communication give them more unbiased information they can use along with other sources to glean

real insight.

Vendors can use the insights to drive channel strategy, programs and tactics. Until recently, we have not

seen social media play such an integral role but we’re starting to see this change.

A word of caution here: It’s important to remember that what’s talked about online needs to be

considered in the wider context of the business. Sentiment can vary from day-to-day, from user-to-user,

from country-to-country. So only after assessing user comments in relation to your specific business can

you embark on adjustments to your programs.

As social media matures and experience increases within the channel, we are seeing a set of best

practices emerge.

Firstly, you need to make sure you have internal resources that are qualified to talk about your products

and services, understand thoroughly how to engage in social conversations, and participate in real-

time/near time. As social media becomes a part of everyone’s daily life, users are increasingly more

demanding and critical than they were 12 months ago. So ignoring time-critical discussions can create

more damage to your brand than you might imagine. Good news though, it’s no longer the sole

responsibility of marketing to participate.

The management of social media initiatives has become decentralised with more people from

departments other than marketing and from outside of the channel acting as key decision makers. This

may fill some with trepidation but the demands of social media require an enthusiastic group of

professionals with specific expertise (and don’t forget personality) but you must provide them with

training. It’s important that whoever is communicating to your partners does so in a professional but

personal tone that doesn’t feel like it’s been written by Legal Corporate Communications. Make it

conversational and fun!

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Next, think of the content and tools you already have at your disposal and come up with creative ways

to integrate that content into the platforms in which you participate. That will make you an invaluable

contributor to the group and raise both your company’s profile and your personal profile at the same


A final but important point about relevancy – if your tweets or posts focus only on a single market, think

about creating local or regional groups for other markets. A reseller in France won’t be interested in a

Lunch and Learn event in San Francisco. Equally, if you are using social media and combining it with

direct and indirect customer content, you might want to think again. There is no set framework for you

to follow – simply let yourself be guided by you audience. A useful exercise would be a mini gap analysis

to see how well the content in your top 5 platforms suits your regional partners.

For this new way of doing business with channel partners to be successful, you will need C-level

ownership to evangelize and share the vision, align business units, define policy, implement processes

and provide training/resources.

Rewards, Incentives, Motivation

Let’s get into incentives, rewards and motivation. This is really important.

Incentive programs need to be customized according to your partners, and even more so, to their

particular profiles. When was the last time you profiled your partner program? If you have yet to run a

full profiling exercise, it’s definitely time for you to get on it. Here’s a sneak peek at a partner profiling

scorecard we currently use for our clients. Just a peek though.

Page 12: The Playbook: Successfully Integrated Through-Partner Marketing

But I digress –back to incentives.

Incentive programs

It’s important to remember that you’re building an incentive program to

generate revenue. Partners like incentive programs because they do something

for them. They get something out of them.

In order for programs to be effective, all the factors that affect partner behavior have to be recognized.

That includes: motivation, skills, recognition, as well as partners understanding the goals and you being

able to measure the progress.

Many companies implement incentive programs to counter past failures and achieve specific revenue

targets moving forward. But they rarely dedicate the effort and attention necessary to achieve success.

So, if you go there, you must have all your t’s crossed and your i’s dotted and make sure your program is

custom to your partners. We can’t stress that enough.

Many companies make the mistake of implementing an incentive program that worked for one

company or set of partners without thinking about how it needs to be altered for their situation. Just

because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Get that thought out of your

head! You can’t copy someone else’s incentive programs without thinking in detail about how each

program is going to fit your target partner. Building an awesome partner incentive program requires

clearly defined rules, appropriate rewards, the right communication strategies and a way to clearly

measure success. At the end of the day, it has to tie into your integrated marketing efforts.

Creating an incentive program represents a substantial investment (CHA-CHING!). Receiving significant

return on your investment requires full participation from your partners. Programs need to offer

participants a variety of products and services, again based on their unique interests and diverse needs,

to encourage behavior. Successful programs carefully develop their reward methods to keep

participants eager to approach a new goal or a new win so they can achieve that reward. Another thing

to consider is that the objectives need to be tied into your organization’s strategic goals and be really

straight forward. Don’t make your partners think too hard about how they are going to get their

incentive or reward. Easy, easy, easy!

The goals need to be challenging, yet achievable. If they look like they are too hard to reach, then they

probably are – you shouldn’t set your partners up for failure. Don’t forget you also need to motivate

your partners, recognize their performance, help them persuade their customers to make purchases and

even reinforce the marketing message.

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Incentive Best Practices As we’ve mentioned, incentives are an important part of Through-Partner

Marketing. You often need to provide a carrot for your partners and their sales

teams to effectively market your products and services. And with more than

$55 billion projected to be spent on incentives this year, it’s important your

program succeeds. With this in mind, here are some best practices for you to

follow when constructing (or modifying) your program. You’re welcome!

1.) Know your audience – Whether you offer company-level rebates or rewards for individuals,

knowing what incentives will resonate with your audience is vital. People won’t work harder or

change their behavior for rewards they don’t want to earn. Would you? Spend time getting to

know your partners and sales teams so you can provide items that compel action.

2.) Target your incentives – Now that you know what your partners want, you must target your

incentives toward specific groups. Start with the sales teams and companies that show the most

potential for positive growth. Then tailor your incentive options to fit each one of those groups.

You wouldn’t expect everyone to like the same type of ice cream, so why would you think they

all want the same rewards? Highly targeted rewards drive the most positive action, so try it out.

3.) Communicate effectively –Partners won’t strive to earn rewards if they don’t know they’re

available. Ensure your partners are aware of opportunities: consistent communication and

frequent updates should be a part of your incentive program (and overall channel strategy).

Also, make sure they know how to track their behavior and sales so they can receive the

rewards/rebates they deserve.

4.) Outline clear, simple rules and processes – A survey of channel partners revealed many choose

not to participate in vendor-led programs due to complicated rules and time consuming

processes. Making it as easy as possible for your partners will encourage them to take part in

your incentive program. Also, once you decide on rules and processes, stick to them. Changing

them often will only confuse and frustrate participants so put thought into them the first time.

5.) Market your incentives program – Think of your incentives program like a product or service you

are trying to sell. Create a robust marketing plan around the program so you can build interest

and excitement, while encouraging partners to participate. Treat it like any other product launch

by employing an integrated marketing approach and crafting a value proposition that clearly

explains how partners can benefit from participating in your incentives program.

6.) Record, analyse and adjust – While you shouldn’t often make changes to your program rules and

processes, this doesn’t hold true for other aspects of your channel programs. If you aren’t

seeing the results you expected, it’s vital that you make the necessary adjustments to maximize

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participation. The first step to fine tuning your incentive program is to track program data.

Record everything – the more information can get, the better view you have program

performance. Spend time with your data – don’t simply look at it, but put for the effort to fully

understand the story behind the numbers. This will position you to make smart alterations to

optimize performance. Adjustments are key to success. It’s similar to the old adage “There is no

great writing, only great rewriting.”

7.) Decide on sales goals before program launch – You want to reach your goals, right? Well then,

when you define them you need to make sure they’re realistic. Make sales goals that will drive

your overall business objectives. For example, know the number of deals you need partners to

close and then craft your incentives to strategically meet those objectives. Working backward

often produces better results because it forces you to create a process to reach the goals you’ve

set forth.

8.) Consolidate your incentive programs – Consolidating programs provides many benefits,

including easier management across programs and makes it simpler to deploy incentives on a

global basis. A single rewards and reporting engine makes it easier for both vendors and

partners to use multiple programs to track their performance and make sweeping adjustments

to encourage partner behavior and drive success. Vendors gain a centralized data repository for

a single “source of truth” about incentive program activity and reduced administration. Partners

experience faster access to multiple programs, centralized reporting of their activities across

multiple programs, greater ease of use and lower administrative burden.

9.) Use a universal points-based system for all your incentives – Deploying a single incentives

currency (we advocate points) can greatly simplify the function of your incentive programs. A

single points-based currency gives partners the ability to combine points across multiple

programs. This helps drive loyalty because partners are able to aggregate their points from

multiple programs and get bigger prizes. For vendors, a single rewards structure makes it

significantly easier to manage their rewards programs.

10.) Make the switch to pre-sales enablement – The ongoing transformation to a recurring revenue

model has forced vendors to change the way they think about compensating partners.

Rewarding partners for closing deals is no longer enough – and rewarding partners equally

through the sales cycle may not be enough if a vendor has a broad portfolio of services. Having a

recurring revenue model means shifting focus from deal registration to (qualified) lead

generation and registration – pre-sales enablement. An EMEA-focused survey we conducted

over the summer confirmed the shift to pre-sales enablement and Forrester has seen evidence

of this globally as well.

11.) Consumer-like experience – Partner incentive programs need to mimic a consumer experience

in ease of use, look-and-feel, and have anytime, anywhere access to information. Partners want

to engage with vendors as easily as they can engage with a retailer online (think…

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12.) Business transformation assistance – Offer incentives in forms that help partners transform their

business and offer customized, scalable cloud solutions like assistance with a Cloud services

business plan, marketing knowledge, marketing tools, training and assistance on new cloud and

services solutions.

13.) Provide incentives across the partner life-cycle and throughout the sales cycle – Incentives need

to support more than deals won and quarterly revenue goals. This is especially important given

the speed at which transformation is happening – incentivizing things like marketing and lead

generation activities, education, training, and certification will help motivate partners to evolve

their business.

14.) Target rewards to the point of impact – Incentives should be targeted to the “point of impact”

by recognizing and rewarding the individual sales reps and sales engineers at the partner level –

this means that it remains important to segment and personalize incentives at every level.

15.) Remember tiers 2 and 3 – Tier 1 partners often run off with the lion’s share of many incentive

programs, but they are also just as often “box pushers” and are already running at

capacity. Growth is available within lower tiers. Also, the partners who will be most successful 5

years from now – the ones that can keep a vendor’s program vibrant – are most likely not the

partners that are most successful today. They are smaller, more agile and more adaptive to the

rapid change. So, make sure to balance incentives between currently successful partners and

identify traits that you will need for future strategies and support partners with those qualities

in the lower tiers.

There are so many types of incentive programs. We’re going to dive into the

weeks into a process of one to share the real-life activity it takes to make it


Gift Cards/Certificates

Another great way to get partners involved is by offering gift cards and

certificates. It sounds simple, but it works like a charm.

An interesting tactic some vendors are using is including MDF funds with incentive programs,

encouraging partners to use MDF funds to reach their customers. An example might be to provide gift

cards to partners when they actively engage in an MDF program that you created. Maybe they receive

points depending on the activities they participate in to attract their customers. Again, you have to

make sure it’s easy, it can’t be rocket science and it must support their ability to effectively

communicate an integrated marketing campaign to their customers.

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If that means you have to provide step-by-step instructions, even down to how to execute a mail merge

then you have to do it.

Below, is a great giveaway based on best practices with gift card certificate incentives. It’s an example of

a sample program launch communication schedule we used with a mammoth client. Would you like this

for free? Ok, you twisted my arm. (To the next page please)

To receive the actual Visio format to customize your own program, email us at:

[email protected]

Subject Line: Visio: through-partner Incentives please

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To receive the actual Visio format to customize your own program, email us at:

[email protected]

Subject Line: Visio: through-partner Incentives please

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Build an Online Partner Marketplace If you thought finding and onboarding partners was tough in 2011 and 2012,

get ready for some heated competition in 2013.

Continued channel transformation will see vendors competing for the partners that are equipped to

thrive in the New Channel. While less prepared partners fail to keep up with changes in the industry,

the partners that survive will be in high demand from vendors.

With limitations on time and resources, partners will be forced to decide which vendor programs to

participate in and which ones to decline. Vendors will have to make their programs as attractive as

possible because partner recruitment and loyalty will be top priorities and have a direct impact on


In fact, a recent partner survey conducted by Forrester found that 65% of partners list marketing

enablement as the number one thing they want from vendors. Partners often have difficulty promoting

their brands and generating leads –they lack the time, knowledge and capital to run effective marketing

campaigns. Vendors can erase these problems by offering promotional allowance programs that give

partners access to an entire storefront of pre-made marketing plays: email templates, events in a box,

whitepapers, website copy, etc… With access to easily branded, simple to implement marketing

materials partners can easily launch integrated marketing campaigns that reach their prospects. After

all, gaining the attention of prospects will boost the number of deal and increased revenue.

Tips for a successful Marketplace

This seems like a simple idea but execution can become complex and time

consuming. Here are a few tidbits to keep in mind when creating an online

partner marketplace.

Offer the right materials – Talk to your partners so you know which marketing materials will

help them the most. Would they benefit from infographics, direct mail or PowerPoint

presentations, etc…? An online marketplace doesn’t do any good if the resources offered aren’t

what partners want. Promote utilization by packing your storefront with high quality pieces that

can be easily manipulated by partners for their marketing campaigns.

Align materials to products – The materials in your marketplace should support specific

products you are trying to emphasize. You see the deals registered and sales pipeline and are

therefore aware of the products partners need help selling. Sometimes partners don’t have the

product expertise to create effective marketing materials, making it doubly important for you to

provide premade resources. With your help, partners will have the support they need to

effectively market your products and increase sales.

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In-house or outsource – Do you want to create the materials in-house or hire an outside agency

to do it? Creating the collateral in-house can be more cost-effective and less time-consuming

because you already know your partners. On the other hand, many vendors lack the time and

resources to create the amount of effective, integrated marketing content necessary to satiate

their entire partner community. This leads most organizations to hire outside channel marketing

agencies to create the materials with their specific market segments in mind. In fact, Forrester

reports that channel marketers currently outsource 40% of channel enablement activities and

36% will increase spend on external services in 2013. The same report revealed that only 11%

plan to decrease outsourced enablement spend leaving 48% that will keep spending the same.

All in all, it looks as though partner enablement is growing in importance.

Ease of doing business – Partner experience is critical in determining whether or not the

marketplace sees continuous use. A consistent, visually appealing UI and logical menu structure

go a long way for partners and ensure they utilize the materials available to them. Partners

often still have to deal with multiple sign-ons and cumbersome interfaces when utilizing vendor

programs. Making your marketplace clear and simple to use will encourage partners to take

advantage of the amazing resources you are providing them with.

Consumer-like experience – In this day and age, everyone is looking for a consumer-like

experience from the online system they use. This desire is no longer exclusive to the online

shopping and other activities we engage in during our free time – we now want the same

experience at work. Easy navigation, point and click controls and visually appealing interfaces

are commonplace on sites like, so why shouldn’t partners be able to “shop” the

storefront of marketing resources the same way? They should be able to but that’s not the case

– The interesting thing is there is a shift taking place where partners are starting to expect this

type of consumer-like experience from channel programs.

The Big Boys

(The Fortune 100) and what they typically offer.

In a recent report, Forrester shared best practices utilized by some of the largest companies in the

industry. Take a look at what they offer.

Access to joint marketing wallets, shared services (telemarketing plays, direct mail execution,

etc.) events section that helps partners execute events and marketing assets and collateral

Comprehensive listing of active campaigns

Customized marketing activities that allow partners to fund activities with vendors outside of

Partner Marketing Central

Tons of digital marketing resources (email content, PowerPoint presentations, infographics,

eBooks, etc.)

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Content syndication that allows them to embed information about the company’s products on

their websites

Promotional and customizable marketing material (logos, press releases, images, etc.)

Some partners can receive expert guidance from consultants for training, technical presales and

delivery support

ROI Measurement As with any type of incentive program, channel programs can often have a self-liquidating aspect in that the full award budget gets used only if the program meets its goals. For instance, your budget might have included $100,000 in award costs, assuming that your dealers hit the goal. If your program is structured properly with an open-ended component based on results, the award costs should go down if the sales fail to live up to expectations. Today’s Web-based incentive programs can provide valuable real-time information not only on sales by dealer or dealer/salesperson, but also on utilization of sales and training materials, presentations, promotional materials, etc.

If you found some of this information a bit overwhelming, we know it can be, we’re here to help. Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you need help with partner profiling, getting a health check of your partner program, building out an incentive program, MDF program or anything related to your channel, call us. We’re the experts. We can help.

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Meet the A-Team Authors and Contributors

Tina Lauzon

Tina is an entrepreneurial results-driven professional with over 20-years’ experience developing marketing, sales and business development strategies for early-stage to Fortune 100 businesses. She actually has more years but doesn’t want to show her age! Tina has created proven methodologies used to help organizations achieve their business objectives through creating and executing innovative programs with cutting edge marketing integration tactics. She is an advocate for the humane society and mentoring young professionals. Follow Tina on Twitter @tinalauzon

Harte Onewein

Harte is a skilled marketing and communications professional with expertise in the technology industry and channel marketing. His approach is built upon creating compelling written content and clear, succinct marketing messages for a variety of marketing vehicles. Having developed and implemented successful integrated marketing campaigns, he knows a thing or two about industry best practices. Away from the office, he enjoys staying in shape, cooking, traveling and spending time with his wife. Follow Harte on Twitter @Harteo

For more information visit us at or email us at [email protected].