Across the channel, we all know that partner marketing is the lifeblood for generating leads. For those of us in marketing roles, we dedicate every day to upselling and cross-selling. We invest in our website because we know our SEO results depend upon it. We launch email campaign after email campaign, faithfully post across social, and incessantly blog. Yet, it never seems like we’re doing enough. Sadly, we aren’t the only ones who feel that way. According to a 2015 Autopilot survey, 65% of marketing professionals feel their department could do a better job at communicating with customers.
This makes us wonder: If we can’t work harder, can we work smarter?
Fortunately, there are several noteworthy ideas on the horizon that can improve both the quality and quantity of your sales pipeline. These concepts began as a wish to provide our partners with the best content and the best user experience possible. And, they started to take shape after we conducted interviews and really talked with partners--to better understand their needs and how they were experiencing our marketing platform. While our partners were happy with our rich content, we realized that there were avenues that we could improve upon. In the end, we know that these resources will enable our partners to be effective in their demand generation activities as well as be successful in generating revenue.
Here are the four new ways partners can work smarter, not harder:
1. Thoroughly explore new partner-ready campaigns and our improved user experience.
Whether you’re a start-up’s marketing team of two or an enterprises’ full-service group, we encourage all partners to work smarter by tapping into robust partner-ready campaigns, like the ones we just launched. Long gone are the days of one-time email blasts. Now, you can become educated on a selected campaign and product benefits via a playbook and leverage landing pages to collect lead information. You can create awareness with online banners and provide sales staff with cheat sheets to help follow up with prospects. To continue moving things to a more intuitive and streamlined process, we have also dramatically improved our user experience. We have simplified the campaign structure and navigation on the VMware Partner Demand Center--ultimately creating a single destination for all of your campaign needs. Partners can choose the campaign language, select the most relevant messaging, easily view and access customizable campaign assets, and even leverage the preferred execution model.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of a multi-touch campaign.
Our newest multi-touch renewal campaign is the perfect example of working smarter, not harder. We have brought best practices from our corporate marketing team to the partner level. For example, as customers are ending their contract, we suggest that partners take this opportunity to educate and give options on moving to the next level. You know your customers intimately enough to know which upsell or cross-sell to suggest, like products with predictive analytics and performance management capabilities or high performance, scale-out storage. Regardless of the path you choose, there are tried-and-true approaches to executing the most effective renewal campaign. At 90 days prior to renewal, we suggest sending an email with an infographic. At 60 days, send another email with a white paper. At 30 days prior, send one last email offering an assessment or hands-on lab. Finally, at 10 days to renewal, call the customer directly. This is your time to create significant revenue opportunities.
3. Let marketing automation do the heavy lifting for you.
It might surprise you to learn that marketers using automation software generate 2X the number of leads and are 2X as effective, according to the AutoPilot survey. So, what are you waiting for? For our renewal campaign, it’s as simple as uploading your customer list (with contract expiration date) and letting the system handle it from there. Each day, our marketing automation platform will analyze the list and automatically send customers an email. Our partners have found that this easy-to-use platform, along with our step-by-step guide, gives them a truly seamless campaign. Let technology do your work for you.
4. Watch your Web traffic take flight with our online advertising pilot program.
We’ve had many partners tell us that they’d like to test the waters with online advertising and the analytics and heightened visibility that come with it. To facilitate these needs, we created an integrated search engine marketing approach that utilizes Google AdWords Search and Google AdWords Retargeting services. Available as a pilot offering for the Software-Defined Data Center: Cloud Management campaign, this turnkey approach to driving awareness and generating leads is very easy for partners to implement. Once partners sign up, they work together with our SEM experts to outline goals, discuss budget, and determine who, where and what they want to target with the campaign. From that point, you can sit back and watch Google capture your customers’ attention.
Lucia Filanti is Director Campaign Marketing, Global Partner Marketing, at VMware. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of The VAR Guy's annual platinum sponsorship.