Partners may, in some corners, be considered as simply an alternate channel of distribution. But the reality is that they are on the front line, representing your company, products, and services on a daily basis.
What many overlook is the value that these partners add to the process. In the Content Marketing Solutions (CMS) industry, for example, partners are not only selling your product, but also integrating it with marketing automation, CRM, and other technologies in the marketing stack. They are visionary business people who not only understand the technology, but also the specific business environments in which it is being used.
That puts partners in a unique position. They have insights into how your technology is being used and how it’s being applied in various vertical markets. It’s key, therefore to tap into this expertise and include a strong partner component in your PR program. Just a few ideas for you to think about:
Attend partner meetings – The best way to know what your partner channel is up to is by attending meetings. Opportunities can present themselves simply because you’re there, on site. At one partner event, I was invited to participate in a live podcast simply because I was in the right place at the right time. The goal is to maximize these opportunities.
Interview partners at every opportunity – You may be surprised how much product knowledge and market expertise that your partners bring to the table. Capture that expertise on video and use it for PR and social media purposes. Or perhaps as the basis of a magazine article. Shooting HD video these days is as simple as traveling with your smart phone or tablet.
Invite partners to support you at live events– including trade shows, conferences, and seminars. They complement the knowledge and capabilities of your direct sales force.
Involve partners in your webcasting program – The market has an endless appetite for great content, and partners can provide you with some of it. Ask them about the marketplace, what business problems they are helping companies to solve, and about particular success stories.
Engage partners in your PR program – Partners often go broader and deeper than your direct sales force. And they are experts at making connections between various marketing stack technologies. If you have an idea for an article, think about how to involve a partner or two.
Share partner accomplishments through social media channels – Your company may only have 10 or 20 direct sales reps, but it likely has dozens of solution partners. So you should never be at a loss for material to share through LinkedIn and Twitter.
Introduce partners to editors and analysts – There is a healthy curiosity about partners. Who are they? What are they like? What value do they add to your company? Always have a few key partners in mind to bring up in conversations with editors and analysts and you may find them desiring to talk these partners directly at some point.
Jim Panagas is heavily experienced with the partner channel and can show you how to turn this into a “win win” situation – drawing on partners to help author articles, participate in video interviews, and fill speaking opportunities,. Partners can help build your company’s credentials and thought leadership, while at the same time generate significant interest in your company’s products and services.