Expert Insights: 3 Essential Elements of Partner Go-to-Market Success

Fiona O'Connor

Senior Content Marketing Manager

PMV blog imageFaced with rapidly expanding partner ecosystems, it’s now more important than ever that partner marketing organizations establish go-to-market (GTM) strategies that enable them to scale successful partnerships quickly and easily.

To better understand how partner marketing organizations are achieving GTM success, Michael Latchford, VP of Strategic Alliances and Partner Marketing Services, recently sat down with three senior Partner Marketing executives – Aimee Catalano (Google Cloud), Brooke Cunningham (Splunk) and Claudia Lee (Nutanix). Here are some key takeaways from their discussion.

Clear messaging is the glue of any successful partnership

Among all three executives, the critical nature of clarity and alignment to a successful partnership came up time and time again. This union of and collaborative way of working between partners is manifested in their messaging, which, in turn, informs the tone and manner of the rest of their joint GTM activities.

Before messaging is even developed, it’s important that partners adequately define their differentiated contributions to the solution. They need to all have a clear understanding of what’s special to their joint offering, as well as what isn’t. This work then helps teams create messaging that will capture audiences’ attention, clearly calling out how their partnership rises above their competitors’.

“[We want to be] clear and honest between the two sides about where we want to partner together and where we may not partner together. By making sure that’s established, we can provide guidance downstream to all our stakeholders, and ensure messaging aligns and execution aligns to that,” says Claudia Lee of Nutanix.

Aligning around and creating stand out messaging isn’t easy. Our panelists suggest that the best examples leverage data to quantify value. Getting there requires talking to experts from other parts of your business to capture important specifics. And it’s essential that partners work together to be certain and clear about what differentiates this particular joint effort from others they may participate in.

A content “starter pack” streamlines asset development

Building out a core package of essential GTM content is a helpful discipline that focuses a team on the must-haves. This approach helps streamline preparations. When still in the planning phase, the experts noted that it’s important to consider both internal and external content sources alike.

“In thinking about internal and external content, wherever possible we try to ‘lift and leverage,’” says Splunk’s Brooke Cunningham. “So, if we produce something that’s customer-facing, very frequently the sellers or partner development teams are able to leverage some of those tools as we’re briefing them and enabling them.”

The panelists identified several essential elements within their own GTM content plans including sales positioning and call scripts, a solution brief (a customer-facing piece that outlines the value and differentiators of the solution), as well as customer success stories. They noted too that the pivot to digital has dramatically impacted how they think about and approach content, particularly when considering content formats. To combat audiences’ digital fatigue, “snackable” content – bite-sized assets, often informed from larger assets – has become a common component in audience engagement tactics.

Your partner platform is your home base, but you can’t stop there

With your content in hand, you still need to make certain that people will see it.

Aimee Catalano of Google Cloud says, “I think the three challenges [with distribution] are: discoverability: where are all the different content repositories; relevance and personalization: internal teams are inundated with content so if it isn’t relevant, it will be ignored; and finally creating consistency and structure: so people know where to look for which type of information.”

Creating a standard distribution plan – one that teams consistently follow – is key in addressing these challenges. This includes implementing a clear partner platform concept – a central location to store finished content for all users. Teams that can build out a platform that works for distributing content while also supporting execution and measurement have an easier path to continuous improvement as they go.

Even with a partner platform at the center, additional channels should be leveraged to draw partners into taking full advantage of it. Panelists highlighted the success of their social channels, particularly when leveraging their own employee’s social advocacy, as a way to amplify both a specific partnership and their partnering programs as a whole.

For more insights from partner marketing experts, watch TechTarget’s Partner Marketing Visionaries webinar series. To learn more about products and services to support your partner marketing efforts, contact Michael Latchford.

Channel and Alliance Partnerships, Go-to-Market planning, go-to-market strategies, partner marketing, partner marketing ecosystems

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