» Partner Marketing Group TherapyThis ITAC Marketing Roundtable was hosted at the MaRS Centre, Toronto, Ontario. The discussion was moderated by Bob Becker, Principal, SMA. What’s a partner marketing relationship all about? How do vendors, partners and distributors work things out as a win for all?
What We Learned
- For distributors, partners and vendors, it’s all about lead generation: all parties are focused on accelerating the sales process
- Social media tools are critical in leveraging lead generation efforts and for enabling business alignment
- Bringing marketing dollars and a time commitment to the table make for a harmonious relationship
What motivates partners/value added resellers to stay involved in distributor/vendor relationships?
- Vendor regular communication help us better understand how and where to get information
- Gain a strong understanding of vendors’ strategic direction and align with it
- Keep messaging simple
Vendors look to partners as an entry point to a customer opportunity
- Vendors want to work more closely with partners whose goals are aligned with theirs
- Assess the value that social media promotion will bring to the vendor/partner relationship; enable more social media to align our businesses
- Vendors want to help! Simply asking a vendor to be introduced to the prospect can do wonders in developing a partnership
- As a distributor, it’s important to be sensitive to your partners’ marketing dollar
What are you looking for in a partner/distributor/vendor relationship?
- We’ll partner with those vendors invested in marketing to fill our sales funnel
- Vendors should have realistic expectations when it comes to marketing
- Quality versus quantity: credible leads are the key
- Partners needs to take their share of responsibility for the business plan
- Number of leads is irrelevant; quality is the true metric
- Embrace a combination of traditional marketing tactics (e.g., face-to-face events) with social media tactics
- Engage the sales force to support the business plan
How do you get leads to be followed up at the partner, vendor and distributor levels?
- There needs to be “skin in the game” to achieve success – not just marketing dollars but time commitment, too
- It takes as many as 5-7 touches to convert a qualified lead to revenue
- Highly defined marketing messages are vital
- With clear, aligned goals, nurturing becomes become easier and revenue will follow
- When a pipeline contains a high number of leads resulting in a low number of closes, something isn’t working
What is your opinion on how ROI tracking is viewed?
- The disconnect between marketing and sales make tracking ROI a challenge
- Better tracking to connect vendor/partner activities may ameliorate the relationship
- Quarter-end is not necessarily an effective time measurement – leads can come alive at any time
- Avoid weighing the “pig” – how many times/angles can you weigh a pig?
- Tying leads to a campaign is golden
- Performance measurement drives behavior
- Michael Gavarkovs, Managing Director, Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions (ECS) Canada
- John J. Blair, President, Blair Technology Solutions Inc. and BTS Technology Resources
- Ray Phillips, VP, Latin America, OpenText
- Michael Shulman, Manager, Canada Hardware and Technology Channel Sales – VAD, Oracle Canada
- Nick Foster, SVP Business Development, Softchoice