Regardless of your quality over quantity approach, Partner Marketing is on trend…period. If you’re unsure how to fully leverage these partners and which one(s) you need, you’ll soon be lagging behinds your peers.

Maybe you have a marketing partner that you’re testing the waters with or maybe you’ve decided to play the field and swipe right to see what other options are out there. Regardless of your quality over quantity approach, Partner Marketing is on trend…period.

 

If you’re unsure how to fully leverage these partners and which one(s) you need, you’ll soon be lagging behinds your peers.

 

Read on for the 5 steps that’ll improve your partner marketing capability (and relationships):

 

  1. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know

     

  2. More matches, less swipes

     

  3. Data, Data, Data…and oh yes, Data

     

  4. The Reward: Chicken Dinner!

     

  5. Put your money where your mouth is

     

Download the Channel Partner Scorecard to objectively assess your marketing partners, customizing the tool to see how they score against your unique IPP.

 


It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

 

Know what form(s) of partners you have and what your partner objectives are. If you’re working to improve Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), marketing partners focused on loyalty than say, distribution, are much more aligned to meet your goals rather than simply expand your reach. There are over a dozen forms of marketing partnerships and they continues to evolve; to name a few: Affiliation, Content, Distribution, Licensing, Loyalty, Sponsorship, etc.

 

When you find partners or potential partners with common goals that offer the right partnership form(s), collaborate with them, share resources with them, embrace the possible. The philosophy behind partner marketing is benefiting from each other’s value propositions while brand sharing.  Partner marketing is not about executing perfectly, but about the strength of your partnership brands and potential.

 

Better Matches, Less Swipes

 

It’s a waste of time and effort to swipe right, staying open to whatever matches come your way. If you take the time to formally define and document what you’re looking for in a partner via an Ideal Partner Profile (IPP), you’ll have a set of criteria to filter all potential invitations and/or self-led pursuits through to round out your collection of partners. Criteria may include company growth rate, revenue, offering robustness, media channels, sales capabilities, etc.

 

Building your IPP is a game-changer that bridges the gap from okay brand or okay marketing revenue contribution to great. It gives you higher efficacy and consistency, while amplifying your earning potential (and giving your finger a break).

 

Data, Data, Data…and Oh Yes, Data

 

A client recently asked me “Should we get rid of our marketing partners and simply do it all in house?” What was interesting about this is that roughly 50% of all their leads and ultimately Marketing sourced revenue was from partners. Their follow-up question was “If we keep them, what if we just keep the top 6 revenue generators?”

 

Have either of these questions crossed your mind? Before answering them, you must first understand (or collect) the relevant data. As Nobel Prize winner Ronald Coase said, ‘Torture the data, and it will confess to anything.’ If you’re using a partner relationship management tool, well done! If not, you can download the Channel Partner Scorecard to objectively assess your marketing partners, customizing the tool to see how they score against your unique IPP.

 

 

Current marketing partner revenue is only a piece of the pie – understanding revenue potential, future growth, etc. provides a robust look at the various criteria partners may have to offer. Too often there’s a tendency to view partnerships through the lens of past sales. While this provides value, this weight shouldn’t be as great as other key indicators.

 

Select criteria to get you started:

 

  • Wallet Share
  • Current Partner Growth
  • Future Partner Growth
  • Potential Profit
  • Service Offerings
  • Relationship Dynamics

     

The Reward: Chicken Dinner!

 

You’ve objectively graded each of your partners to see how they compare. To keep the right partners happy, the most productive marketing channels should cover partners with the most potential. Marketing victory is met with a “chicken dinner”. (Note: In Las Vegas, they say a three-piece chicken dinner cost $1.79, while a standard bet was $2 – win a bet and you had enough for a chicken dinner).

 

Beyond aligning productive partners with channel potential, there are three other steps you can take to leverage your score card results:

 

  1. Double-down – These are the partners that fall into the “chicken dinner” category. Be creative, figure out ways to improve this profitable relationship beyond channel alignment. These are the partners who will help build your company’s future – keep them happy.

     

  2. Hard hand – There’s a chance the partners will not improve in their performance, but don’t give up just yet in fear of a bust. Trying re-engaging with them, one way to do this is through a Mutual Scorecard Process – leverage your partner scorecard and encourage them to similarly grade you. This process reveals ways you may both improve.

     

  3. 86 ‘em – Based on your newly minted IPP and unbiased scorecard, some partners will emerge who don’t align with your strategic goals. For help on removing partners, check out the article When to Retire a Channel Partner.

     

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

 

The fifth piece of the capability puzzle is budget allocation. Ensure you map your marketing budget and partnership budget allocation with your revenue growth strategy. Partner marketing budget should allow for partner events, courting, campaigns, investments, etc.  If partner marketing accounts for 50% of marketing sourced sales, its budget allocation should reflect that.

 

Download the Channel Partner Scorecard to objectively assess your marketing partners, customizing the tool to see how they score against your unique IPP.

 


 

Additional Resources

 

Schedule a working session at SBI’s Studio. 

 

Located in Dallas, TX, our facility offers state-of-the-art meeting rooms, lounge, full-service bar, and a studio used to tape our TV shows. SBI provides the location and facilitators, all at a compelling price point.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ginger Smith

Leverages classical training in innovation to transform marketing, sales, and product pain points into growth opportunities that help clients meet their number.

Ginger is a strategic transformation leader with over 10 years experience. She has an innate nature to seamlessly connect high-level strategy with essential low-level details for successful returns on investments.  With expansive international and domestic experience – living and working in NA, APAC, and EMEA – she has proven success transforming government, nonprofits and Fortune 100s across industries. Her demonstrated skill sets in data analysis, sales, product launches, personas, marketing strategy, change management, and program management are supplemented by her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and PMP. Ginger is a data-driven leader who motivates clients with compassion and autonomy.

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