How to Enable Marketing Partners

This is article #14 out of 50 in The Startup Marketing Playbook.

As you map out the B2B demand generation strategy, you’ll find that leads can come from a variety of sources driven from inbound marketing campaigns. These sources might include:

  • Direct web traffic
  • Email marketing
  • Organic searches
  • Paid (Adwords, display ads)
  • Social media

Generating leads through these sources requires a lot of work. Depending on the industry, you may be able supplement your efforts by leveraging partners. These could be companies that offer complementary services (i.e. you sell to the same persona) or that have an established integration with your product. Let’s break down the benefits for you and the partner:

Access to new contacts

The #1 benefit for engaging with partners is the opportunity to build your database of contacts, ideally that match your target persona, who can then be converted to leads by nurturing. Partners have likely built up their own list using slightly different tactics than you have. By working together, both of you can grow your contact lists and get new leads that you might not have attracted otherwise.

Keeping partners happy and encouraging lead flow

Engaging with partners often comes down to relationships. The more opportunities you give partners to be a part of the marketing process, the more invested they become in the relationship and thus the more likely they are to talk about your product during their sales process and send leads your way.

Gaining additional content topics

Partners often focus on a niche that relates to your product but is not competitive. Therefore, the topics they write about often relate to your shared target personas. By leveraging their content topics in your own calendar (or just sharing their content along with yours), you build more diversity into your content library.

Consider these tactics to engage partners:

Webinars

A great way to get started with partner marketing is by co-hosting webinars. The best approach is to identify a topic that relates to both of your products and make the webinar educational. Consider acting as the host and making the webinar an interactive conversation where you ask the partner questions and both of you educate attendees.

It’s important to maintain control of the registration and technical logistics (i.e. you build the landing page in your marketing automation system). Expect that both you and the partner will send email blasts, promote on social media and drive traffic to the webinar registration page. Anyone that registers and meets your target criteria becomes a lead since you capture their contact information. Here is an example:

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My team did this webinar with a partner that makes entertainment technology for gyms. Their product integrates with our mobile app.

Co-branded content

Often, partners may have valuable data, market insights or case studies that can be used to produce a co-branded piece of content, such as an ebook. Similar to the webinar, your partner will be incentivized to share that content and build a bigger list of leads.

Social media

Create social media templates and encourage the partner to share relevant content or messaging that would benefit you both. This is a great way to build brand unity and repeatedly establish the relationship between you and your partner.

Collateral

Depending on how your partner promotes your product (i.e. do they join your sales reps for demos?), be sure to create relevant, co-branded collateral along with top-of-funnel content that arms the partner’s sales reps with the information they need to sell.



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