Mastering the Art of Partner Marketing in B2B

Ly Nguyen

17/4/2023 Marketing

Collaboration is the cornerstone of success in today's fast-paced business world. 

By partnering with other companies, businesses can leverage each other's strengths and resources to reach new heights, achieve their goals, and elevate their customer experience.

But to truly reap the benefits of partner marketing in B2B, one must master the art of strategic collaboration.

In this article, we delve into the tactics that can help businesses navigate the complex landscape of B2B partner marketing and succeed in the competitive world of commerce.

Before We Begin, What is B2B Partner Marketing?

Partner marketing is a critical component of B2B (business-to-business) partnerships. 

B2B partnerships typically involve collaboration between two or more companies with complementary products or services, with the goal of jointly promoting and selling their offerings to a common customer base, often supported by B2B sales incentives.

Partner marketing is the strategic and tactical approach used to promote and sell these joint offerings to the target market.

In a B2B partnership, partner marketing is usually part of a larger partnership strategy, which typically includes other key elements such as product development, joint sales, and customer support. Partner marketing helps to build and maintain the partnership's brand image and messaging, and to reach and engage the target customer segments effectively.

Now, let’s dive into some tactics and strategies B2B partner marketers can use to drive demand.

6 Tactics to Drive Your Partner Marketing Program Forward.

Whether you’re building a new partner program or already have an established program in place, it's essential to regularly evaluate and refine your partner marketing strategies and tactics, including engagement with partner communities, to ensure their ongoing effectiveness and success.

Here are some key considerations for mastering the art of partner marketing in B2B:

1. Defining Your Partner Marketing Goals.

The first step in creating a successful partner marketing program is to clearly define your goals. By identifying your objectives and determining how to measure success, you can ensure that your partner marketing initiatives align with your business goals and deliver desired results.

Some common business objectives for partner marketing efforts can include;

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Expanding your reach to new customer segments
  • Boosting sales and revenue in certain markets
  • And improving customer engagement

For example: A technology company that is launching a new product may have a goal of increasing brand awareness among enterprise customers through a partnership with a consulting firm that serves this target market.

To effectively measure the success of your partner marketing efforts, it is essential to set clear and measurable metrics. Examples of metrics to track include, but are not limited to:

  • Number of leads generated
  • Conversion rate
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Brand awareness
  • Revenue generated from partner marketing initiatives
  • Product integrations activated

In addition to setting metrics for success, it's also important to determine the desired outcomes for each partner marketing initiative.

For example: A desired outcome for a partner marketing initiative might be to generate a specific number of leads or to increase brand awareness among a specific customer segment by a certain percentage.

Defining your partner marketing goals is a critical step in creating a successful partner marketing program. By identifying your objectives, setting measurable metrics, and determining desired outcomes, you can ensure that your partner marketing initiatives deliver the results you are looking for and help you reach your business goals.

2. Identifying Your Ideal Campaign Target Audience.

Many partner marketing programs underperform because they fail to clearly identify their intended audience.

Therefore, they end up working with the wrong partners, attracting the wrong audience, and driving poor business results.

You must clearly identify your intended audience and the action you’d like them to take.

Example scenario:

Let’s say you have a new enterprise software solution that you want to promote through partner marketing. Your target audience might be C-level executives at mid-sized businesses in the finance or healthcare industries. Your action goal for this audience might be to have them request a demo of your software solution.

To reach this target audience effectively, you'll need to work with partners that have a similar target audience and that can reach this audience through their marketing channels.

For example, you might partner with a consulting firm that specializes in working with mid-sized businesses in the finance and healthcare industries. By leveraging their expertise, network, and marketing channels, you can reach your target audience and drive the desired action (in this case, a demo request).

Identifying the right b2b partners for your partner marketing campaign

One way to easily identify if you and your partner have aligned audiences for the campaign is to run account mapping with their CRM. This allows you to identify any overlaps in customer base, prospects, and audience match – giving you more confidence in the campaign outcome.

3. Creating a Compelling Partner Marketing Offer.

Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience and desired action, it's time to create a compelling partner marketing offer that will engage and motivate your target audience. 

A compelling offer can make all the difference in whether your partner marketing campaign is successful or not. 

In the example below, Shipbob, a global ecommerce fulfillment network, partnered with Google Ads to integrate a “Fast & Free” shipping label on their Google Shopping ads.

This offer was compelling to both their existing customers and prospects, because it would help to increase their CTR and ROI on Google Ads spend, therefore, growing their businesses!

Types of partner marketing campaigns

  • Joint Webinars: Partner with another partner to host a webinar on a topic that’s relevant to your target audience.
  • Co-branded Content: Create content (e.g., eBooks, whitepapers, infographics) with your partner that promotes both of your brands.
  • Joint Promotions: Run joint promotions with your partner to drive sales or leads for both companies.

When creating your partner marketing campaign, it’s essential to align it with your overall marketing goals. To download a partner marketing webinar template, check the link at the bottom of this article.

Provide market development funds (when applicable)

Market Development Funds (MDF) are financial incentives offered by a company to its partners to help them promote and sell its products or services. MDF can be used to support a wide range of partner marketing activities, including joint promotions, co-branded content creation, and more. When appropriate, providing MDF can be a valuable tool in motivating and supporting your partners in executing effective partner marketing campaigns.

4. Scaling and Automating Partner Marketing Efforts.

Once you have a well-designed partner marketing campaign in place, it's time to focus on scaling and automating your efforts to maximize their impact and reach. 

Here are some key steps to help you do this effectively:

Leveraging technology to streamline processes

The use of technology can streamline many aspects of partner marketing, from lead tracking to partner communications. By leveraging technology solutions, such as partner relationship management (PRM) software, you can automate many manual processes, minimize errors, and increase efficiency.

Take for instance, with Kademi’s co-branded collateral feature, you can easily scale up your partner marketing efforts seamlessly across hundreds of partners across the globe!

Identifying and implementing automation opportunities

Look for areas within your partner marketing program where you can implement automation to reduce manual effort, minimize errors, and increase efficiency. For example, you could automate the process of distributing new marketing materials to your partners or use a PRM system to track the results of your partner marketing campaigns in real-time.

Creating a scalability plan for future growth

As your partner marketing program grows, it's important to have a scalability plan in place to support future growth. This includes having the right technology solutions in place, developing processes to onboard and manage new partners effectively, and having a clear understanding of the resources required to support your partner marketing program as it grows.

5. Measuring and Optimizing Partner Marketing ROI.

Measuring and optimizing the return on investment (ROI) of your partner marketing efforts is a critical aspect of any successful program. Here's how you can do it:

Setting up tracking and measurement systems

To measure the ROI of your partner marketing campaigns, you need to have a tracking and measurement system in place. This could be as simple as setting up tracking links for your partner campaigns or using a more sophisticated PRM system with built-in analytics capabilities. The key is to have a system that provides the data you need to make informed decisions about your program.

Analyzing data to identify areas for improvement

Once you have tracking and measurement systems in place, the next step is to analyze the data to identify areas for improvement. This includes looking at metrics such as lead generation, partner contributions, application installs, MRR, and customer acquisition costs. 

By analyzing this data, you can gain valuable insights into what's working well and what's not, and make data-driven decisions about how to optimize your partner marketing program.

Implementing data-driven optimizations to improve ROI

Finally, based on the data you've collected, implement optimizations to improve the ROI of your partner marketing campaigns. This could include making changes to your partner marketing offer, adjusting your targeting and segmentation strategies, or finding ways to streamline processes and reduce costs. The key is to make data-driven decisions that have a positive impact on your program's ROI.

6. Overcoming Common Challenges in B2B Partner Marketing.

B2B partner marketing is not without its challenges.

Some common roadblocks in B2B partner marketing include a lack of partner buy-in, misaligned incentives, and difficulty in tracking and measuring the impact of partner marketing efforts. 

To overcome these roadblocks, it's important to clearly communicate the value of your partner marketing program to your partners and align incentives so that everyone is working towards the same goals.

Once you've identified the roadblocks to your partner marketing program, it's time to implement solutions to overcome them. This could include providing partner training, creating clear guidelines and expectations for partners, and investing in technology that streamlines processes and makes it easier to track the impact of your partner marketing campaigns.

Wrapping it all up

Mastering the art of partner marketing in B2B requires a strategic approach that aligns with your business goals, leverages technology and automation, and measures and optimizes your efforts for the best possible ROI.

Throughout this article, we've covered the key strategies and tactics for building a successful B2B partner marketing program, including:

  • Defining your partner marketing goals
  • Building a strong partner ecosystem
  • Creating a compelling partner marketing offer
  • Scaling and automating partner marketing efforts
  • Measuring and optimizing partner marketing ROI
  • Overcoming common challenges in B2B partner marketing.

So, what's next?

The first step is to assess your current partner marketing program and determine where you need to make improvements. From there, you can start implementing the strategies and tactics outlined in this article, and continue to measure and optimize your efforts for the best possible results. With a focus on building strong partnerships, creating compelling marketing offers, and leveraging technology and automation, you'll be on your way to mastering the art of B2B partner marketing.


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