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Understanding And Addressing Partners’ Marketing Strengths And Weaknesses

Countless research studies have honed in on the gap between vendors’ expectations of sales and marketing success, and partners’ overall capabilities to meet and exceed these expectations.

To ensure successful channel marketing initiatives, organizations must “look at what partners have and what else they’re going to need to be successful,” said Heather K. Margolis, Founder and President of Channel Maven Consulting, during a recent webinar. “By assessing where they stand, it will help you provide them with what they need more efficiently.”

Titled: Assessing Partners Online Marketing Capabilities, the webinar is part of the Partner Facing Webinar Series from Channel Maven. During the presentation, Margolis discussed how vendors can better engage partners, and teach these organizations how to better communicate with customers, as well as prospective end-users.

Before vendors and manufacturers can effectively guide partners to channel marketing and sales success, companies must assess and determine where partners are starting. This includes a thorough analysis of email and telesales analytics, net new versus resell statistics, web site performance and SEO, online marketing materials, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and IT review sites.

“Most partners haven’t gone outside of their circle to build their business,” Margolis explained. “As a result, revenue is going to remain pretty flat.”

By helping partners better understand marketing tools and strategies, vendors and manufacturers can help develop a solid foundation for improved engagement and in turn, a boost in sales.

Margolis offered the following guideline to help map out partners’ marketing, listening and engagement strategies:

  • Listen: Determine overall presence by tracking activity, mentions and conversations via Google, Twitter and Google Alerts. Margolis spotlights these strategies as “the foundation” for partner engagement, allowing organizations to see their overall exposure and presence in the market.

  • Participate: Top social networking platforms include Twitter, LinkedIn and HootSuite.

    “Some partners may have a Twitter account and are actively participating,” Margolis explained. “See how they communicate and see if they’re too salesy or promotional; that’s the top thing you want to take into account.”

  • Generate Buzz: Release press releases on new content and events via the web.

  • Create Content: Blog to help address buyer pain points and develop more content, including interactive collateral via YouTube and Flickr.

    “As partners create more content,” Margolis advised, “determine whether they are truly adding value to buyers in a professional manner.”

  • Community Building and Social Networking: In this phase, organizations can hone in on LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites, to connect and build conversations with contacts.

During the webinar, Margolis revealed that 91% of B2B IT/Telecom decision makers use social media before they make a purchase decision. As a result, vendors and manufacturers should “want to ensure your partners are online to get found when prospects are searching,” Margolis explained. “Social media is not something that exists outside of traditional marketing tools; it’s simply another tool within companies’ arsenals.

Optimizing Online Presence
Due to buyers’ growing focus on searching for potential solutions via the web, it is more vital than ever for organizations to be seen and heard via Google, Bing and other search engines.

As a result, it is imperative for vendors and manufactures to search online for your partner companies to see their company name rank and if any other organizations have the same name. Additionally, companies should search the names of executives from partner companies and determine if their overall presence, including via social sites, is up to par.

Offering a set of to dos and best practices to boost conversations and engagement via social media, Margolis walked through the top social media sites, which include LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

LinkedIn
- Are partner profiles complete?
– Do they have a company page?
– Have they joined any groups?
– Are they posting to their Network Status Update?

Twitter
- Is the Twitter handle short enough to retweet and easy to remember?
– Does the description have a concise explanation of the company/executive?
– Is the icon easy to see?
– Did they feature an external link to a company page or LinkedIn profile?

Facebook and Google+
- Do partners have a page?
– If so, who are they trying to attract?
– Are profile descriptions pertinent to visitors?

Click here to access an on-demand version of the webinar titled: Assessing Partners Online Marketing Capabilities.

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About Alicia Fiorletta

Alicia Fiorletta is Senior Editor for Channel Marketer Report. Working closely with industry analysts and experts, Alicia reports on the latest news, technologies, case studies and trends coming to forefront in the channel marketing world. With a focus on emerging marketing strategies, including social, mobile and content for demand, Alicia hones in on new ways for organizations to market to and through their partner networks. Through her work with G3 Communications, Alicia also acts as Associate Editor for Retail TouchPoints, a digital publishing network focused on the customer-facing area of the retail industry.

View all posts by Alicia Fiorletta →

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