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How to do sales-boosting partner marketing

Why Partner Marketing?

Getting sales partners excited about your own product is one thing. Attracting them with promising marketing campaigns is the supreme discipline. But what many manufacturers forget at this point: The sales partner is at best something like a regular customer! And should be courted in the same way. So don't forget to carry out proper partner marketing!


Have you found the sales partner you think is ideal for our product portfolio and our business model? Then it's time to make them an offer they can't refuse.


After a promising partner onboarding, you should start with powerful partner marketing. That means: Your prospective partner should know that you are beating the advertising drum for him.


Basically, it's not about guaranteeing discounts, special conditions and advertising cost subsidies that quickly mean visible monetary benefits. But much more. The prerequisites for proper partner marketing are two: 


  1. a good product

  2. good marketing campaigns



The right product for the right partner

The distributor must be convinced that exactly your product can significantly increase his sales.


And this will only happen if he can answer the following questions positively for himself:

*(communication, response speed, marketing support).

Ask yourself not what the distributor can do for you, but what you can do for him! (loosely based on U.S. President J. F. Kennedy)



Partner marketing without incidents

Once these questions have been answered in the affirmative, it's a matter of drawing up the actual contract and its modalities. Always treat your future sales partner like a customer, never like a vicarious agent.

Important in successful partner relationship management is:

... that you let your partner in on your marketing strategy right from the start (remember: it's not called partner marketing by chance). And at the same time, know their marketing strategy. Only when you come to a common denominator will the cooperation work.

What are the goals of the reseller or distributor as an entrepreneur?

With which customers would he like to make more sales or margin with which products and services?

Finally, how can you help him achieve these goals?

There will be distributors who want to nurture their existing customers rather than develop new ones. And others who want to expand strongly. These should, of course, be supported differently.


In partner onboarding and partner marketing, it is also important that there is a contact person internally at the manufacturer who is always available to the partner. Likewise, if the sales partner is a larger company, it should also be clear who communicates with the manufacturer.




Sales partnership: Many types of partner marketing

Another reason to "get on board" is, as mentioned above, a solid marketing machine.Successful Partner Relationship Management:


If the sales partner recognizes that you offer him not only a good product, but also support in acquisition, then nothing stands in the way of a "serious relationship".


Because after the honeymoon, the partnership is just beginning. And just like in a marriage, it's daily work. You have to constantly inspire your partner anew for your product. First of all, the partner must develop a deep understanding and enthusiasm for the product and its USPs.


Based on this knowledge and the targeted audience, marketing campaigns can then be built. They are usually divided - depending on partner engagement - into:



With-Partnermarketing:

You organize a joint mailing campaign in which you and your partner act as senders together. Or a joint roadshow. Or a trade fair appearance.


Through-Partnermarketing:

Is often confused with with-partner marketing, but has a crucial difference:You as the manufacturer provide (typically on the partner portal) all the documentation for a marketing campaign: Invitation cards, power point presentation, etc. The partner simply has to add his name. Here, the partner has to be proactive and decide at what point he wants to start the promotion. This approach is particularly suitable for partners who are already well established in the market and have their own marketing department.

For-Partnermarketing:

You set up a campaign where the respective sales partner can only add his name. However, the sender is clearly the manufacturer. This option is particularly popular with smaller, unknown partners. Because they gain more visibility and benefit from the manufacturer's reputation.

But here's the thing: Don't overload your sales partner. On average, distributors spend seven hours a week gathering information before contacting a potential customer. At this stage, you can make his life a lot easier. Provide them with all the data sheets, opportunity calculations, documents.

Less is more. Not all documents are helpful for all sales partners. Automated software is now available that provides sales partners with exactly the information they need on an ad hoc basis to process a specific customer inquiry.

Use automated, software-driven processes when providing documents and sales collateral to the channel partner.



Communication is key!

As in any partnership, the same applies in a sales partnership: stay in touch! Onboarding alone is only the first step.


Regular feedback and congestion-quo rounds are eminently important for correcting errors in good time or initiating changes in strategy. Is the manufacturer's product selling sluggishly? This can have various reasons:


Is the communication with the target group not right?


Are partner marketing activities not targeted enough?


Is there no demand or need for the product?


Is the price too high?


Is the competition too strong?


-> The partner manager and the responsible contact person at the sales partner should quickly find out and correct this.


It is important to talk not only to the partner's marketing department, but also to management, sales and technology. A partner advisory board that meets regularly would be conceivable.

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