Our newsletter includes actionable strategies on how to execute partnerships effectively.
First, here's why your agency should partner with as many tech companies as you have in your client services and internal stack (at least):
Before you begin to engage in GTM strategy with tech partners, your agency must first say "Yes" to these q's:
What do we mean by "Partnerships"?
Now, before you go the partnership route over the pure user route:
**If Partnerships with tech, co-marketing, co-selling… as a strategy has not been something your team has had time for, or maybe it’s not something you’ve been able to gain value from. Please book a call with us to discuss our managed service where we:
One - Begin all your partnerships discussions with a Memorandum
Partnerships can fail to generate anything for either party simply because expectations weren’t set and a plan was never created.
Two - Start with a co-marketing campaign to build synergy and create an audience
Too many partnerships are started with the ask of “What can you do for me?” When a true partnership should start with the question of “What can we do for each other?”
Three - Prior to any larger co-marketing campaigns, map accounts
Account mapping is the first step to co-selling. It’s where you both load your customers and prospects (or sync CRM) to a secure third party software like Sharework to see if there is overlap, and view the size of the audiences on both sides (potential exposure).
Both parties have the view of the overlap and watch that as you run your co-marketing of the content to each others’ audiences. Success can be determined by the value of the new leads that came from the partner, and tracked using this software/process.
Four - Set alerts in Sales Navigator when your tech partner hires a new CS or salesperson
CS are often those who refer to agency partners the most, followed by Salespeople. They can only support the user/prospect so much. The rest comes from service providers they know do great work with their solution.
1. Save the accounts (partner company names)
2. Set an alert for new hires under the title of CS / sales / BD and/or Partnerships.
3. Send that person a link to your agency profile document (links, services, client persona, goals…)
Here’s an article on setting these alerts >>
Five - Stage out the partnership in task list Gantt format
We run client services in our project management solutions, why not do the same with our partnerships? Tech partnerships progress in the same flow. Put them all into a PM tool, or use ours, and run them. This will ensure you are progressing and committing to grow revenue.
Vetting backlog >> Tinkering >> Demo >> Co-Marketing >> Partner Memorandum >> PRM Onboarding >> Product Training >> Co-Selling >> Trusted Partner
Six - Create a course that includes multiple tech partners
Courses can be great lead-gen for agencies. Further, they can be enormous for technology who simply can’t teach their users what to do after the tool is setup up (that’s your job). Aligning with a few tech partners on a curriculum that would increase retention for their solution, as well as bring you both new prospects, is a great way to partner.
Seven - Track the right partnerships-influenced KPIs
Pipeline velocity is the first to monitor. That is, how much faster are clients moving through the pipeline now that you have the co-marketing, co-selling and increased support from your new partner… And, another great KPI, is overall engagement on partner-led events. These are events that partners invite you to, or events you put on together. Monitor the RSVPs and show rate (not including clients of yours who show). These two are great partner success indicators.
Eight - Lean on partners for assets and copy
We’ve heard from several agencies that they’d love to market their affiliation and work to get more clients onto services that include the technology partner. But, they don’t have the internal resources to allocate towards designing assets and coming up with copy… These are all things your tech partner should be providing you. My best tech clients have un-branded resource folders their partners can grab, add their logo, and start using in their services pitch.
Nine - For collaborative events - require you host the landing page
This is a strategy for those agencies who are in sales mode. When partners ask you to lead a webinar or other virtual event, where you are going to be leaned on to present, ask to host the landing page on your site or your events platform. It won’t always fly, or make sense, but in the right circumstances, it will mean much higher returns because you gain:
Ten - Finally, consider productizing services and white labeling for other agencies
Productizing is when you take the standardized services you know are rinse / repeat, putting a price tag on them, then listing them on the pricing page. This is a bigger strategy, sales, and ops shift, but agencies like our friend Richard at Six & Flow, Penguin Strategies, Flow Candy (eCommerce) have adopted with huge success. When your productize your services, there is a tool (or two) that are embedded in those services you may require clients to have or get. This brings opportunity to get referrals from the sales and CS people at said tech partner(s).
The next step to that is selling the productized service to other agencies. Then, you truly become a huge resource for your tech partners to help their new agencies sell more.
Here’s a great example from our client Flow Candy: https://flowcandy.com/pricing/
Example: A very large (100+ employees) ABM agency we work with was very much software-agnostic for much of their growth, but learned they should not plan to grow by hiring more staff with each new enterprise client, and instead are now formalize their services around key partnerships so they can rely on those partners for marketing, co-selling and the support their clients need in order to maintain profits.
Example: Consider the typical PPC agency - they do not have their clients ears for design, but it's in their purview and clients' best interest to increase conversions.
So why not offer to set up a comprehensive voice and chat system, even manage it, to ensure no traffic is wasted? You can do this using products like Smith.ai who will even allow your agency to white label their tech.
Example: A perfect example of this is in web/app development - why stop at developing the site when your client is going to need that site to have:
On-page and sitemap SEO, ADA / GDPR compliance, Chat, Forms automation, CRM integration, IP analysis...
Example: We're working with 3 agencies now to create marketing courses for their clients, prospects, and even other agencies. We strategically work with 3-5 tech vendors on half of the curriculum so we know they will send their users. The agency charges for this course, and sell services to the students, so it's a lead and revenue-generator.