Marketing Strategies: How VARs Can Work With Vendors
At Astaro we meet with many customers to create specific marketing campaigns. Though our partners sometimes have a strong grasp on marketing plans, more often than not our VARs don’t know where to begin, and need help setting goals and creating a marketing strategy. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Step 1: Ask yourself key questions
Before creating a marketing campaign or developing an overall marketing strategy, VARs should ask themselves some key questions:
- What are our revenue and business goals with this vendor for the year?
- How far have I come in achieving these goals?
- What markets have I been successful in?
- What new markets would I like to break into?
- How much can I invest and do I need from our vendors?
- Do I have a good list of contacts to market to, or do I need to find new prospects?
The answers to those questions will be the basis for your marketing plan and help you create realistic, focused goals.
Step 2: Take an honest look at the answers
Next take an honest look at the answers and be sure to ask follow up questions. If you aren’t on track to reaching your goals for the year, why is that? What do you need to be more successful? If there are new markets you’d like to break into, how can your vendor help you (training, target lists etc.)? This information will make it easier to…
Step 3: Create an entire plan – not just a campaign
Each VAR is going to have a slightly different plan, so there isn’t a template all companies can use because all their needs are inherently different. However each plan should contain the following:
- A goal statement – what you wish to achieve with plan
- Messaging for each target market as well as an individualized goal for each
- Resources (such as training) needed to become successful in each market.
- Activities your company would like to undertake – such as campaigns. For example, what the calls to action will be, and how you will reach your audiences.
- Your strategy for reaching new audiences, and what you will do for lead generation in each market.
This brings us to the often-overlooked final step in any successful marketing plan…
Step 3: Make it measurable
When building your plan be sure to build in tools for routinely evaluating the success of not only each individual campaign, but the plan as a whole. You must determine beforehand what the metrics of success will be and the methods you will use to obtain this information. If implemented correctly, you should be able to accurately measure the degree of success to which you are reaching your target audience,, the number of sales you are making, and (Third Example?) Figuring this out before hand will save VARs many unnecessary headaches down the road. Finally…
Step 4: Reassess and move forward
Once your plan is in place and you’ve begun its execution, don’t forget to reexamine the plan periodically with the vendor to determine what features can be improved. If entering a new market is more difficult than you expected, you may need to revise your plan by breaking your goal down into smaller, more manageable chunks, or perhaps reevaluate your goal entirely.
Don’t be afraid to admit that your goal wasn’t as realistic as you initially thought. This is perfectly fine, so long as you are willing to be flexible and proactive in reallocating your efforts. By using a measurable plan as a guide for success, VARs will see their efforts become more efficient and effective, benefiting their business as a whole.