How to Enable Marketing Partners

This is the 14th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

As we map out the B2B demand generation strategy, we’ll find that leads can come from a variety of sources that are 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, we may be able supplement our efforts by leveraging partners. These could be companies that offer complementary services (i.e. we sell to the same persona) or that have an established integration with our product. Let’s break down the benefits for us and the partner:

Access to new contacts

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

Keeping partners happy and encouraging lead flow

Engaging with partners often comes down to relationships. The more opportunities we 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 our product during their sales process and send leads our way.

Gaining additional content topics

Partners often focus on a niche that relates to our product but is not competitive. Therefore, the topics they write about often relate to our shared target personas. By leveraging their content topics in our own calendar (or just sharing their content along with ours), we build more diversity into our 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 our products and make the webinar educational. Consider acting as the host and making the webinar an interactive conversation where we ask the partner questions and we both educate attendees.

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

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 6.11.39 AM

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, our 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 us both. This is a great way to build brand unity and repeatedly establish the relationship between us and our partner externally.

Collateral

Depending on how our partner promotes our 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.

This post is part of a 50 article series on startup marketing

Greg Skloot is a technology entrepreneur and marketer. He is currently VP Growth at Netpulse, the #1 provider of mobile apps for health clubs and a $40M VC backed software company in San Francisco. At Netpulse, he leads marketing, sales operations and strategic growth. Previously, Greg was CEO and Co-Founder of Attend.com, where he built the initial product, raised $3M and hired a team of 30. Contact Greg at skloot.org/contact.



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