The missing marketing link – Partner and field marketing? ​


It is not uncommon to find eight field marketers working across Europe, Middle East and Africa and then one partner marketer for the same region. How can that one partner marketer work with their field marketing peers to scale partner activities? How do they shift from partners being seen as a “pot of marketing funds” to joint strategic engagements? At our First Friday meet-up, we explored this topic and identified four steps that our community members had used to optimise this important link. For the longer version – check out the members area. LINK
Thanks to Alli Reed, Pooja Golechha , Lily Lazarevski, Ruth Oakey, Mike Wrench, Elke Behrend, Rob Reynolds, Julie Long, and Barnaby Wood for your contributions to creating this insight.
1) Start by sense checking perception.
Check-in with your partner & direct sales and field marketing to find out how much they understand about partner marketing. Do this with a simple survey. Find out do they just see partner marketing as a pot of funds or do they understand the partner’s strategic value. Do they see them that are hard to work with?
2) A partner first approach / avoiding vendor arrogance.
Culture: The members noted that this needs to come top-down within an organisation. Smoothing the way for partner marketing to work with their field counterparts.
Not all partners are the same: There is also the need to recognise that Global Systems Integrators V Resellers V Vendors all have a “different rhythm”, a different way of selling, marketing, and building business.
Do they know who we are? There can be vendor arrogance – where sales assume the partner will know about them, and their product and see it as important.
Right partner for the right region: Some countries are partner-led from a sales perspective because the region is not big enough to justify a dedicated field salesperson. By taking a partner-first approach you can proactively determine which are the right partners for each region versus just having any old partner at a field event.
3) Educating field marketing
Educate on the basics: Create educational modules for field marketing from the basics up e.g. the difference between market to, through, and with. Lacking this knowledge can stop field working with partners.
Show your strategy: Create content to help the field marketing understand your partner strategy.
Roles & responsibilities: Be clear about who does what. Having separate swim lanes – field marketing V channel marketing V channel account manager.
4) ABM interlock
Partners as an afterthought: Quite often partners are brought into ABM late and it is a missed opportunity.  
Be clear who determines the partner strategy for an account: Which partners should you engage on an account and who owns that strategy – the account owner or field marketing?
Partners have a lot of intelligence on accounts that can be tapped into.
As ecosystems grow and become more complex the need for partner and field marketing to interlock grows. We hope these four steps provide some inspiration for how you can optimise this relationship in your organisation.  

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