While we are in economically challenging times that impacts each business in a variety of ways, it is time to turn to a marketing channel not used nearly as much as it should be: partner marketing. With the right partners, you can skyrocket your growth and bypass the slow sales stage you may be experiencing. Working with people who have an audience with parallel needs can prove to be beneficial for both parties.
In this webinar you will learn the fundamentals of creating a successful B2B partner marketing program, including key considerations when selecting a partner, the importance of developing a comprehensive partner strategy, and best practices for measuring and optimizing partner performance.
Join Courtney Kehl, CEO & Founder of Expert Marketing Advisors, and their valued partner, Rajiv Parikh, CEO from Position 2, to understand partner marketing and how it is a valuable channel. They break down how to choose a partner and how to utilize each other so it is a win-win situation.
They share partnering tips including:
All righty. Well, we’re excited to kick this off the Power of Partner Marketing and Tactics for Channel Pipeline. We’re co-hosting here position, Position Squared. And so very excited for folks to start joining us. We’re gonna give it just a couple more minutes as people are dialing in.
But we see the, the little ticker going up here. And got Rajiv Parikh joining us. Hi Corby. Yeah just having a good time kind of chatting through partner marketing and it seems to be a hot topic, especially over the last month or two. We’ve been hearing it come up throughout various conversations.
It’s been, it’s been amazing to see how people are really focusing in on it, especially during this time. So it’s gonna be super fun to talk about that as well as Courtney’s chickens. So apparently got chickens, you got pets, you got all, all kinds of stuff. So, I know Zoom doesn’t optimize for two images, but you never know, a cat might show up.
Oh and, and here, here he is, literally as yours.
There you go. We have cat videos, we’ve got all, we’ve got partner marketing and we’ve got cat videos. What more could you ever want?
I tell ya. I tell ya. Yeah. So we as we were coming up with what should we talk about this month for our webinar it, it seemed a bit obvious to talk about partner marketing and, and just channel as a whole.
Really, because I think it’s a, it’s a topic that’s hitting the table because folks are looking at their pipelines, they’re looking at their sales numbers, and as they’re you know, really pushing for extra revenue it, it does seem to be an obvious area for people to kind of make up for that missed that missed pipeline.
So with that, let’s dive in. Rajiv, tell us a little bit about yourself and Position Squared as I’m tongue tied there. Apologies.
Yeah, all good. Yeah. So my comp position squared, we’ve been around for 17 years. It comes outta my background as a, as an engineer and as a marketer. One of the things I learned, I’ve worked for some pretty big companies way back when, companies like AT&T and T N C R Sun.
Eventually I went to the internet age with Alta Vista and then did a bunch of startups. Everything from medical devices to AI to eventually position squared. And the reason I did this one is because I was really excited by what you could do with back then, Google in that. The same experiment, same experiments that as a marketer that would take me and my team.
Months and years with millions of dollars I could replicate much faster in weeks and weeks and months with far less capital. So I love the testing power of that, and that’s why I started the company. I got us a little bit of seed capital acquired a couple companies that knew what they’re doing. They taught me what to do, and we’ve built up there.
We’ve got amazing team, about 200 people. We really span the buyer’s journey based on what clients have asked us to do. Everything from creative content. To advertising of all types as well as the marketing infrastructure, like your website, marketing automation, conversational AI. And we’ve even built a platform that enables companies to understand how they’re driving their touches with prospects.
Really trying to understand source to close and present it in a simple BI interface that they can get up and running in less than a day. So and we’ve, you know like Courtney, we’ve had some fantastic clients that we work with. Many of them were early stage companies that eventually grew and were acquired.
And so our highlight ones are like Lenovo, American Express, Google Mandate, but many of them today are still coming from venture firms. So we are very fortunate the partners have have delivered. So and I know Courtney, you have a very similar experience. You have a lot of folks who have come to you based on referrals over the years and partnerships, so it’s really great to partner with you on this.
Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. And actually, so you know, bringing Rajiv and his company to the table here, we started partnering, I wanna say, just a little over two months ago, and it’s been really great in that regard. One other area that you cover is 3D design, which rounds out a lot of the requests that we get as well for, for, from our.
Clients and our accounts. But same, same background. You know, we work with folks from all different stages all the way through to sort of those larger folks with, you get, you have Amex and we’ve got MasterCard. So it just kind of matches up and it’s a, a natural relationship. Go FinTech.
Sorry, go ahead. Go FinTech.
There you go. We speak the same language. So it’s a, it’s been a very natural fit for us. With that, let’s dive in. We’ve got sort of, we were gonna touch upon the partner marketing overview, sort of the landscape and how we got here. And then sort of, kind of various steps that you, as you roll out new partnerships and announcing them and, and kind of getting some momentum around that.
And then of course, connecting all of those partner marketing tactics and all of that channel to your pipeline, which is is where it counts. All right, so take it away.
How’d we get here? I think here’s a quick timeline. So everything was going well in 2019. At least we thought so. And then of course the pandemic came and everything dropped for quite a while, and we were all scared and concerned and we didn’t know what was gonna happen.
But very quickly things were covered and. Even though we were stuck at home, we all went digital and we all started, at least the way we market. We started, we went from physical events to a lot of virtual events, a lot of Zoom events. And during that time, the, the whole demand characteristic changed from a lot of services that were in person to people buying lots of products in the home.
And of course, the Fed and the, the government put a lot of stimulus into the system. So we saw this rapid, rapid rise in demand across the board for. Tons of products as well as for many of the solutions, the digital solutions that fuel Silicon Valley and fuel the technology market. So we saw this massive rise.
This, the stock market went up spectacularly. People were buying all kinds of cryptocurrencies thinking that, that this would go on linearly forever. And of course it doesn’t. So, Basically 2022 was more of a re reckoning. So we had the rise, the reshuffle, the reckoning 2022 was more of that reckoning where demands, demand characteristics went back to normal.
People started going back to in in-person services the stock market. You know, eventually the Fed started cutting back with interest rate rises because inflation came. So, so the market shifted back and we saw this especially in Silicon Valley with venture capital fundings, with, with acquisitions, and with layoffs, with Meta and Google and all these folks talking about optimizing their system for this new environment.
And so that really lends the basis for partner marketing during these times of spectacular growth. If you, if you’re a company fueled with capital, you can just go direct because it’s a straightforward formula of going out and. Reaching out to folks who may be buying and then try to convert them. But then when you realize that, that that fuel may not be there, you start to look at, Hey, how can we start to work together with other firms and, and in our ecosystem and outside of our ecosystem to build a solution together so that while it’s not as perfect as that, that’s a general trend that we’re seeing today.
Right, absolutely. That actually lends to, to the temperature and the, the conversations that we’re hearing today, but also kind of brings us full, full circle back to, you know, your story specifically and maybe we can touch upon that in the power of our networks.
We’ve always been involved in various partnerships.
Right. We started with Google, eventually we worked with Facebook and they were great companies to help in the beginning at least bring, bring work together with us to build solutions for clients. And many of the times they brought clients to us and they’ve worked with us on various events. Over time, as they got bigger, they became more like Switzerland.
They became more neutral. They’d still be helpful, but they weren’t sending leads over. Right. But then, Over time, you end up getting all these other technology partners. Now for us, the pandemic was really this amazing time where we were all stuck at home. You know, we, we had to still run our companies and like-minded people started getting together.
So in my world a lot of my venture capital friends and private equity friends, as well as entrepreneurs, we couldn’t go out as much. So we started hanging out together. So this, the story is I got a bunch of friends up in In San Mateo and Hillsborough, they started getting together. We started doing these weekly walks, or a bunch of us, because we couldn’t hang out inside.
We, we went outside and walked those walks eventually led to saying, well, we did this walk. Let’s hang out for some drinks. Drinks led to dinners. This group of three or four or five eventually turned into 10 to 20 to 70, and now every week we have, we’re hosting all these events all over the place, but what’s great about it is, The very same people that were part of this little mini network started connecting each other to opportunities and more as friends, as opposed to like a pure networking initiative.
And that it just sort of struck me to go even deeper with the partnerships that we had. And so over time, We’ve decided to really build on this community. So our company has all these go-to-market events that we just look for, go-to-market, great, go-to-market leaders. We bring them together and we just want them to connect to each other and help each other, and that’s.
To a number of technology partnerships that and venture venture partnerships where we’re all working together si in a similar ecosystem. And of course, we’re very fortunate to have Courtney who has our own great ecosystem come and join in as part of that, where we’re all working together to help help our clients and help each other.
Yeah, no, that’s a great story. I mean, in, in Position Squared goes back, you know, certainly well before the pandemic, but just kind of bringing it top of mind. The pandemic was definitely an point and point for all of us where we were in our situation, leaning in together. So we were founded with our network and for, we were able to say yes to everything because we had all these other arms and other folks that were able to sort of round out our services.
But certainly when we got hit with the pandemic we were able to lean in together. And just kind of like, I always call it inhaling and exhaling together and bringing it forward to today. We’re able to kind of keep our finger on the pulse of what’s happening based on just hearing things through other people as well.
So we kind of have that extra advantage point by talking with our network. And, and to your point as well, with your, your, your network of dinners and, and walking the neighborhood and such, you, you’ve got your ear to the, to the, to the ground. Yeah.
I figure right. You learn a lot, you make a lot of friends.
Frankly, I feel like these are my friends for life. Yeah. It’s just a, it’s just one of those spectacular things where your friends alter are people you can work with. It’s fantastic.
Yeah. And you definitely can kind of tell when the tide is changing before the tide actually changes, just as a result of, you know, having those valuable conversations and such.
Yeah. So just kind of a good point here. You know, the, the value of partner marketing sort of as a necessary tactic. What with us, we, we, we work across everything from launching folks outta stealth mode to product launches, and we always inevitably get the question you know, how do we exponentially grow?
Or how do we put extra gasoline on this? And it undoubtedly the answer is, look at your partner program. If you don’t already have a partner program in place, it’s it’s a great opportunity to just put some extra arms on things and get some extra eyeballs. And hence when is the right time.
Yeah, and I think there’s no time like the present. I think a best time is before you need it, and that’s always easy to say, but I, I feel like if I take my pandemic story, it’s. The friendships were being made first, and then out of those friendships you could see natural opportunities because those friends were helping, helping you go.
I’ll give you one, I’ll give you one example. For example, I, I’ve known the folks at Conversica, they do conversational AI. We’ve known in the, we’re in the B2B marketing space in addition to B2C and demand base, right? We have good relationships with their folks. They there’s a common with a bunch of them, they have.
Similar venture capital friends together we’re like, wow, we could really help folks scale by putting together a whole solution. And forced the force to quote reflects that, that by working together with people who are in common areas, you can, you can definitely mature and, and scale to a level that you never thought of before because you’re sharing opportunities and you’re enabling one to, to lead to the other.
Mm-hmm. Yeah, no, undoubtedly. It’s also very easy to build your confidence and get answers to things that quickly when you’ve if, if a problem comes to the table you’re gonna have that confidence to solve it rather quickly with base network, of course.
Yep. Yeah. Maybe to even pick on your point, Courtney, like you have your network of folks, right?
I have my network of folks, and then say we work with this company, like this company that does conversational AI, so we’re getting their. Thousand customers input. Right. If we’re working with another one, like a demand base, they have their a thousand customers, and from that we can create common linkages together.
Right. And insights that we never would’ve had about where the market is going and how to build solutions that help everybody.
Right, right. Your viewpoint is not as narrow. Yep. So with that also is kinda leaning me into, as you find the right partners and as you want to roll out and build some momentum with it.
Just sort of similar to doing a product launch or similar to launching your own company. We also kind of put some tactics around you know, when you roll out a partner announcement. So this is a bit of an eye chart. But it’s, we’ll leave it as a leap behind and also feel free to reach out.
But there’s a number of different steps that you can kind of put some extra momentum to it. So we kind of put that together. And it doesn’t matter if it’s, you know, the first week of the month or if you just kind of. Rolling into it with an actual co-branded material. And you’re doing an email, you’re doing a webinar together with sort of the value add.
But ultimately you’re really just kind of bringing some some value together as a whole for the two companies. And it, it just really puts a lot of it on a silver platter for the other, the other company to see that you’re you’re putting effort toward. The relationship as a whole.
Yep, I really like what your team put together here cuz it, it, it lays out in a day by day manner.
Obviously you may not actually do it this way, but it’s a good template for saying you could literally have this great rolling funder process where you go from demonstrating the value to driving actual leads together.
It’s really fantastic.
Yeah, it’s one of those things where you know, sometimes with the larger logos or the larger companies, if you’re partnering with them, you, you certainly don’t know if you’re gonna have a whole lot of attention if you’re the smaller fish. But if you put as much as you can together, whether it’s the copy, whether it’s the social post, the social creative, whether it’s you know, the, the title and abstract for a webinar, if you put as much as you can on the, on it’s sort of a, a whole consolidated Partner rollout hopefully on the other end it becomes that much easier for them to lean in with you.
So just one of those things to kind of keep in mind. I always kind of say if you give love give as much love as possible, eventually the other partner turns around and also gives love back. Absolutely. Great. Let’s tie that all together to actual channel and pipeline. Cuz at the end of the day you know, we’re all kind of, you have to think about the business as the asset.
Okay. Yeah, so I think when I think about measuring the impact of this, so let’s, let’s take the example that we’ve, I, I kind of outlined earlier before. So take a, you could take a technology company or multiple in a media company or technology and media company and a service provider. And you’ve put ’em together and there should be specific measurables that all of you care about.
So for the, for you as a services firm, you’re looking for more revenue, right? And you’re trying to reduce the friction. That, and, and a refr, the friction as the reason the two technology companies care about you is that you are helping them reduce friction to customer adoption. As well as in terms of using their product, cuz all of them care about net retention.
They’re trying to reduce churn, they’re trying to increase their land and expand. And by having a great partner that may be operating their software or their SaaS solution as a service, they’re getting, they’re getting concentrated insights. From that single provider and the client wins because now their team can focus on what they’re great at while leveraging your, the service provider’s talents as well as the software provider’s talents.
So really, you’re, you’re increasing revenue together. You are increasing retention, you’re reducing churn, you’re generating leads for each other because now you’re leveraging the multiple partners in the network. And that can extend, that can can be more than that one service provider. There’ll be many because when you’re doing marketing, there’s so many things you could be doing.
Right? So like you could be utilizing Courtney’s team in terms of how they’re. You know, there are many of the playbooks that they’ve put together, right? Or even in directing things from like a director of marketing or VP of marketing point of view. And there can be very service providers all coming together.
So the way I like to measure it is, did we drive revenue? Did we drive pipeline together? Did we reduce friction? Are the whole greater than the sum of the parts? And frankly, it’s okay every year for you to go back and say, Did this generating value because it will take time and it will take energy to make that happen.
It is not as fast with partnerships to initially get started and as, as it is to go direct and get customers. But if you, if you dedicate resources to it, it will work. And well, if it’s mutual dedication of resources, it will work.
Yeah, no, that’s a really great point. I, I kind of think about partner relationships as the long tail put that effort in and, you know, it does come back around and it’s, it is extremely valuable.
At the end of the day. It’s kinda like SEO for those marketers out there. But it is know there’s everything from the referral. Income, which is, you know, it’s great. It becomes kind of passive income to, you know, the tech alliances where you are working sort of as a service provider or you know, an integration partner to, there’s all different types of partnerships.
White label closed, white label, open, white label. And it really when you start putting it all together, it it is definitely really worthwhile in the end. Great. I do feel like we, I’m just gonna go back one sec cuz I do feel like we went right past one. Oh did we cover the going from good to great.
Yeah, we did this one. I think we skipped, but basically good tips. Okay. We just did this thing about how do you go from good to great? Right. We’re filling gaps for each other. So Courtney mentioned, well, hey, I may have a hardware partner and I need I have a hardware client and I need to visualize it with 3d.
So they may call us in for that and we’ll, we’ll, we’ll collaborate together and we’ll say, oh no, I have some, I have some great client. And then we’ll say, Hey, I have some great clients that could use yours or your team, and we’ll send them back right towards your folks and we’ll build together. We’ll get access to an ecosystem.
So maybe in the sense of the Google and the Facebook ecosystem, they’re teaching us what, what the latest is we’re implementing, that we’re collaborating, we’re sending information back. But really the best is are we driving business for each other? And it’s done in a measurable way. We have qbr, we’re, we’re, we have dedicated resources and we’re growing together.
Yeah. The one piece that I really thought was a great sort of touchpoint was the reassessing your partnerships and, and you know, same with customers. They may, might not always be a good fit. So I just kind of want to call that one out cuz you’re, when we were touching on this earlier in the week I thought that was a, a good, good one for sort of to to note for just myself as well as we’ve got different partnerships.
I’ve got tons of different partner agreements out there and I always say, well, that’s just a piece of paper until the relationship actually starts growing. That’s a, that’s a completely different thing.
I’ve had to make the call kind of, it’s like a, kind of like a real life relationship where you call up someone and say, you know what, it’s.
I love you, but it’s not working. And that usually drives a better conversation and they either try to find a way to make it work or we both part ways, but then you can focus your team’s resources on those partnerships and those relationships that drive scale and growth. Right? You, you have a lot of folks just like I do whenever it’s all about directing their energy towards where.
For our clients, we can drive the optimal benefit. So it’s better for us to drive that energy towards where everyone wins.
Yep, yep. Absolutely. I would say that you wanna call out the good, bad, and ugly and more important, most important part of that is the bad and the a ugly, and get in front of it and see what what can become of it.
That’s great. All righty. Sorry I went backwards there in order to go forwards. But let’s kind of jump over to the q and a side of things. And then of course we put our contact information there. So by all means continue the conversation offline where you know, where to find us that we’re, we’re, you know, very passionate.
Love the talk shop. So with that we do have a question coming over and also a comment here. That Rajeev’s journey is very inspiring and that you’re a role model. So you know, love to dig in on that one some more.
But we’re say that rather Krishna that was very kind of you. I think we worked together way back and I appreciate it.
I know he’s really rocked it in his career, so it’s very sweet comment.
Aw, that’s great. So a question around choosing the right partners and building that partner program is that, you know, do, do you go specifically around MSPs, tech alliances, ISPs, is there a difference across the board over to you?
Yeah. MSPs, ISPs,
Yeah. So the type when you’re building a partner program, is there specific type that you should be focusing on?
Yeah, so I we’ve looked at it. At least for us in, in multiple ways. There are, there are referral, great referral sources. Like the, the venture capital and private equity realm where they have to grow these businesses as part of their initiative.
And we’re coming in to help enable them to offer that professional guidance and set of services for them. And so there’s a direct impact for them because they’re able to help those companies accelerate what they’re doing whatever initiative they have. Then we look at technology firms. So for them, they have particular product or service.
We can utilize that product and service and we can scale with them. There are media providers in our world where we want to channel where our clients are. Driving their message. And so we wanna learn from them and drive and, and drive across them. So there’s those types of relationships. And then there’s great service provider relationships like the one we’re building together, where we’re filling gaps for each other, where we’re seeing.
And, and a lot of times, you know, you’re putting together a great video and you need a someone who could, you need great writers, you need directors, you need folks who could put the whole thing together. You may need a great brand strategist for something so, They’re assembling this team to coordinate this effort for clients.
Kind of like how in Hollywood, they put together films, right? Everyone’s a, there’s a whole bunch of contractors and companies, and you put it together for a single initiative and you, and you nail it together, and you work together so well that you keep going. So it’s these multiple types of relationships that we’re always monitoring.
Yeah. Yeah, no, those are all really good points. I will say for expert market advisor ema, when we were first starting out, I was very hesitant to bring on tech alliances and have those have those partnerships in place because I didn’t want to I wanted to appear agnostic and I didn’t wanna look like I was, you know Pushing folks toward HubSpot or Marketo or anything of that sort.
I didn’t wanna have, you know, the kickback behind the scenes. But then actually when I started going down that road and, you know, bringing on those relationships I actually just opened up the whole flood gates and. And partnered with everybody across the board you know, from HubSpot to Marketo, to ZoomInfo to Sftc, and so on and so forth.
And as a result, it gave us the visibility to know their roadmap and what was coming around the corner. It also gave us the visibility to know, from a sales point of view, what each of the accounts had in regards to what they were utilizing, what they were under, utilizing what could be Better from our point of view as well for ensuring that they were more successful.
So it actually was a, a, a much better approach for us from a business point of view as well. That’s right.
I think you, ,by signing up with, by seeing it as a practice and by working with multiples of them, you can get your folks certified on those platforms, right? Right. Mm-hmm. So their programs, and really, you’re still trying to do the best for the client, right?
Right. And. Everyone, and there’s a benefit to it. And there’s nothing wrong with a referral fee. Yeah. If, if it’s in everyone’s best interest,
A hundred percent, you’re actually getting a, a better negotiating power as well.
That’s right. I think a lot of times we can drive, we can buy through that the client gets a better deal.
Right? A hundred percent. Absolutely. And then, so we’ve got another question. What are your thoughts on leveraging a partnership management program, a platform, so similar to like C R M S, fdc, you know, there’s the pm partner man management platforms, and I forget what the acronym is for them. There’s an acronym for everything.
But they, there’s one called out here, partner stack.com. We’ve worked with other ones, Pronto and some other ones that are, are, are failing to come to mind right now to be really useful.
Has it helped you with, with managing the relationship? I know there’s things like this where if, if in the supply chains phase, if various manufacturers are offering rebates, this helps you tie all that together.
And to optimize the way that your revenues and, and optimize the, because people have so many different ways of promoting products. So by having these kind of platforms, you can tie it together. Mm-hmm. Yeah. I think up Partner Stack, it seems to have a similar basis for how you manage multiple partners. So it seems like it could be helpful.
Yeah. Yeah. I have seen folks that try to build a, like a partner portal you know, organically in their own sort of way. And it, you know, I, I would recommend that actually using, utilizing something of this level is probably the smarter way to, to go rather than trying to, trying to build it. Yeah. And it’s both ways.
Like we built for It’s part of the evaluation, like for this large manufacturers of forklifts for their dealer channel. We ended up building a partner portal from them. So we leveraged, and I can’t remember which industry tool that we manage, we leveraged, but that plus an e-learning system and then combined it together with their CRM system.
So that, and then we drove the marketing, we’re driving the marketing campaign. So as we drive the marketing campaigns, we wanna make sure those leads go to the, go to the dealers. Lead dealers that are certified and educated, and then we wanna make sure that dealers actually respond. So there’s a whole system you’ve built up for some of these things that you wanna wanna ensure that that wins because there’s other competitors.
And that company doesn’t wanna just give someone a lead that’s not gonna jump on it right away, right? They’d give it, rather give it to another dealer. So these systems can really help. Enable all sides to work together. Same thing. We for a large computer company we, we also worked with them and they’re, they have multiple tiers in the way they work, and so that’s it.
So building that system together where the, the leads are, there’s a decision made. Does it go direct? Does it go through a partner? Does it go through a var? These systems enable that to happen faster.
Yeah. And, and tying it all. I mean, ultimately it’s all, you know, tied into that revenue piece. Which, you know, that’s the, that’s where the proof is in the pudding and that’s, that’s why we’re all here at the, the business.
Great. Well, thanks so much. I don’t see any more questions coming through, but if if folks think of one later on, obviously you know where to find us. We appreciate everybody spending some time with us. And and we’ll be sure to get the recording out to the, to those of those of us that have been able to join us.
And again, you know where to find us. Thanks so much Rajiv for participating and co-hosting here. I love the partnership and it’s really valuable for us as well.
Thanks, Courtney. Look forward to us having fun at the next event.
Yes, yes, absolutely. We’re neighbors. We’re just down the street from you.
Down the street.
See you all. All right, thanks everyone.
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