Throughout this series we have discussed ramping up for partnerships, learning to build process around identifying partners, defining your own offering and what you expect out of a partnership. Let’s take the final step; keeping the relationship going, measuring successes and addressing concerns.
A good practice for planning a partner program is to start with the initial launch campaign and then initiate quarterly programs; but not before you review the launch program results.
These quarterly meetings keep the partnership in motion and allow you to progress through your goals. It also gives you an opportunity to continually explore new programs and leverage each other’s expertise in marketing to the designated use case. Use these meetings to review performance metrics and evaluate programs from a partner perspective and a campaign performance perspective.
Your internal conversations have most likely included key performance indicators, if not, take a step back and outline metrics that you can use for identifying successes and revealing issues. Always have internal conversations before the quarterly meetings to review and tweak to gain improvements.
Your campaign metrics for partners won’t be all that different than product campaigns. The following list is just a sample of what you might consider when defining metrics for partner campaigns:
- Are you marketing to a new target use case? If so, consider the partner as your ‘referral’ to this audience. It may make a difference in acceptance with the audience.
- Which company has the lead product and the add-on product? If you are the lead product, consider the add-on product to be value add to your customers and you should market it that way and you will see a spike in sales for both new and existing customers. If you are the add-on product, you’ll want to leverage bundling, sharing customer lists and other joint marketing activities
- Are both companies doing referrals? How is this being managed and tracked?
I have run across a few issues over the years. Some of them are easily corrected; others can lead to big changes in your partnership.
- Reporting constraints are not always thought through in initial discussions. If possible build out report requirements ahead of time and review the ability to report by both parties. If not, who can handle reporting?
- Resource limitations –limited inventory, not enough marketing resources, inability to segment customer database, no marketing funds; all represent a challenge in conducting programs
- Poor execution skills – inability to keep on time with project initiatives, changing strategy or tactics prior to program start. Create a project plan with all of the stake holders and have regular team meetings when campaigns are underway
- Not making the numbers? Have an internal meeting with everyone that can provide feedback and get to the heart of the matter. It may be a lack of commitment from either party or a variety of other issues. Be prepared to have a frank conversation with your partner when it’s time to redefine the relationship. My motto for partnerships: “there is no failure. Only feedback.” – Robert Allen.