If you have ever worked in technology you know that partnerships and a co-marketing program are core to the success of your business. With well over 100,000 technology companies in the United States offering countless B2B products and software, many technologies compliment each other very well and can often be sold together.
These partnerships open new doors for marketers to drive leads and grow revenue together. Just four months ago I started at Salesfusion, becoming Sugar Market, and right off the bat I was given two projects, seven events and building a co-marketing program. Three months and seven events later, I can officially say we made it through event season! Phew. Onto the more exciting part of my job: Co-marketing. Over the last month I have embarked on the quest of building a partner co-marketing program. Here is what I have learned so far:
Starting out it was important for me to ground myself on what the intentions and direction would be for this program so I gave myself a few guidelines.
- Every business is different. There are no two businesses alike and their marketing departments surely don’t operate the same.
- You can’t boil the ocean. And, you wouldn’t try out for a major league baseball team if it was your first time playing the game. Start small, get a few wins and go from there.
- I am only one person. We can’t be everything to everyone, set expectations.
- Keep it scalable. Think long term; make the program something that can expand as the company grows.
From there, the structure was entirely built around past experiences with a few key partners that had proven they could scale their business with some marketing support from us. We decided on offering “co-marketing packages” that are essentially out-of-the-box campaigns owned by our partners but supported by us. We quickly realized that we would also need a strategic plan in place to be sure we didn’t overcommit to these packages. We were tasked with answering: How many programs can we support today and how many should we plan for as we scale our business? That leads me to phase two and the following lessons:
- Understand what you are capable of
- Build a calendar
- Make sure sales has a stake in the success of partner marketing
- Set clear expectations of what you will bring to the table and what your partner will bring to the table. (I mentioned this before but setting expectations at every turn of a program is key.)
Now it’s back to the drawing board with an even more exclusive program including a detailed marketing calendar, limited quarterly tactics and more personalized support. As for the structure of a co-marketing program it’s coming along great but I anticipate there is still a lot of things left to learn once we start executing in January.