Posted By: Mike Moore, Averetek /
Many tech companies establish alliance partnerships with complementary products, but they fail to monetize these alliances to their full potential because they focus on joint activities rather than the bigger opportunity – activating their joint channel.
Alliance partnerships often begin with a press release and some never make it any further, in terms of executing joint sales and marketing activities. A great deal of energy is typically invested in developing a marketing plan and defining rules of engagement for selling together. This is a noble pursuit, but one that is fraught with risk as each company is focused on driving its own business, not a joint solution.
The most successful alliance partnerships develop and execute coordinated plans for sales and marketing that involve their direct sales and marketing teams as well as their channel. Channel partners spend everyday integrating solutions from various vendors to meet the needs of their customers. Involving channel partners in your alliance partnerships is the most overlooked opportunity in alliance marketing.
As an example, HP and Microsoft developed a program called the HP Microsoft Frontline Partnership that ran for many years to support channel partners who sold, deployed, and serviced HP hardware and Microsoft software. Partners benefited from the program through jointly developed marketing campaigns that integrated the value propositions of HP and Microsoft. This “Better Together” messaging saved channel partners time that would have been spent taking campaign materials from both companies and integrating the messaging to develop demand generation materials that spoke to the needs of customers.
Opportunities for this kind of integrated alliance marketing are everywhere as more and more companies embrace the concepts of marketplaces and ecosystems.
- Marketing automation provider HubSpot has integrated more than three hundred applications with their platform to deliver on the needs of customers. The HubSpot Connect marketplace lets customers and their agency partners discover solutions to customers using messaging that addresses their “better together” story. HubSpot can take this effort to the next level by offering packaged marketing content that partners can use to generate awareness and interest with their prospects and customers.
- The collaboration platform Slack has cultivated an extensive ecosystem that offers hundreds of Slack add-ons through their Slack App Directory. Each one of these apps is ripe for a “Works with Slack” campaign that partners can use to help customers get more value from products they already own, or to add a new solution that complements a product they already use.
Developing the messaging around the alliance campaigns can take some imagination, creativity, and restraint. Often alliance partners want to explain all of the reasons they're great in the joint content but focus should be put on keeping the message simple and only telling the summary points of why the two vendors and their joint-solution help customers. There are some simple steps you can follow. The keys to success for adding through-partner marketing your alliance partnership are:
- Developing integrated content – how does the joint solution help customers?
- Identifying the channel partners who work with both alliance partners
- Creating a short or long-term program to activate the channel partners with training, sales and marketing content, incentives, and program support.
As you embark on planning for the rest of the year, consider how your alliance partnerships can help re-energize your through-partner marketing programs and how you can deliver the full potential of your important alliance partnerships. And if you need help, we’re happy to help brainstorm ideas.