We’ve worked with you the Vendors and your Partners on marketing through the channel to drive more demand. We’ve had some great successes but we’ve also been met with some Partners who, whether due to lack of resources or lack of understanding, decide that marketing or social media aren’t worth the time or focus.
When introducing your Partners to Social Media, marketing best practices, and building fully integrated marketing campaigns you may be met with the same resistance. We believe the next step to truly helping these Partners drive demand is Social Selling. While it takes many of the table stakes from marketing and social media, this is more focused on how Partners already engage their customers today. Social selling has become a necessary and effective response to a changing selling environment. Why try to completely shift their mindset when you could make a few small tweaks to drive even more success?
So how can you help your Partners master social selling and drive more demand?
- Update their Online Presence: I know, off the bat this sounds like our social media engagement or marketing spiel. It’s different, bear with me. In this online world, a Partner’s online presence is the first impression a prospect gets today. If Partners don’t have a website where I can tell in 5 seconds what they do or there’s no call to action, the prospect isn’t going to want to do business with them. People do business with other people - not logos. If the executives’ profiles on LinkedIn aren’t impressing their prospects, neither are the executives.
- Map Partners’ Targets: Because people today update LinkedIn pretty regularly it’s the best way to search prospects by title and company. Help Partners figure out all of the connection points they have within a target company and design a communications plan to that target. This may seem like a lot of work but I’d rather build a strategy for 10 target clients and truly engage them and understand their pain points then broad brush target 1000 prospect companies and never really understand them. This may mean sitting down with several team members at the Partner to see if other executives or sales people have connections already within the target.
- Build a Target Strategy: Once Partners identify their target prospects and map their executives, it’s time to build a strategy for engaging. Generally a nurture campaign including emails to each executive identifying pain points by role and providing them with content (eBooks, blog posts, datasheets) that solve those pain points. These are not HTML emails. We’re talking about custom text emails from your Partners’ sales team to the prospect. Of course this also means connecting with the executives on LinkedIn and consistently pushing relevant content on network status updates and long form posts. That way, the Partner can engage not just from multiple platforms, but from different angles within the platform.
- I know a guy: Another way to pique interest, and one point of mapping all the executives at a Partners’ target, is to let each connection/executive know you are talking to others. What better way to get one of them to call you back than to make them think you’re going to get to their colleague first?
- Executing the Target Strategy: You can plan and plan, but eventually you have to put it all into motion. Send the emails, make the connections, respond to them! The biggest mistake once the campaign has started is forgetting or just flat out not nurturing relationships. Yeah it’s great to meet someone, but if you talk to them once and never again, what was the point? People do business with people, but they’ll do more business with a person they trust. Forge relationships and keep them going. It makes things that much easier in the future when you need to find someone - you’ll have a ready-to-repeat client.
Truly helping your Partners drive demand means a perfect combination of marketing and social selling. How can you get started enabling them?