Properly engaging and enabling a go-to-ecosystem approach will hinge on how well your partner team, and brand, can capture and action current and prospective client attention.
The best way to capture and action that attention is through three mechanisms:
- Understanding perceived value (Why engage)
- Driving active engagement (How to engage)
- Being everywhere (Where to engage)
Why do buyers engage?
Perceived value relates to the ‘why’. Why is the audience even engaging in the first place? 🧐
The why is best understood from quality, boots-on-the-ground market research.
Think client interviews and even interviews with prospective clients. This is not only a job for the product team, but for your sales people, your marketers, your engineers, etc. (yes, engineers should be client-facing).
Buyers are exhausted from ads, email targeting, cold calls, and more. We are bombarded with a significant percentage more of these traditional marketing routes that simply miss the mark on delivering actual value to the end user. Meaning the market is more resistant than ever to traditional marketing tactics.
Modern audiences show up to even begin to engage with the 10,000 foot path to your company if and only if they can see an end goal that benefits THEM, not the business (and they can tell when it’s clearly a marketing tactic to get you to opt-in or buy).
In comes the partner team; the arbiters of value
The partnership team is the one that will orchestrate the activities, the organizations, and the initial motion for positioning your brand in front of your audience.
Without a partnership organization, sales teams will fail to properly network because of the top down pressures on quota, marketing teams will fail to properly include others in the engagements.
Neither of those teams know how to collaborate effectively between a 1-to-many activity to a 1-to-1 relationship because these teams are disjointed and function to serve their own purpose, goals, and quotas.
Partnerships are the puzzle piece to deliver maximum value without there being a 1-company focus. Client end-value is a MUST for partnership engagements, or else it all falls apart.
How will buyers engage?
Active engagement relates to the HOW to engage. What is the audience prompted to do as a next step? 🧐
The benefit to focusing on this is two-fold:
- Understanding how to maintain attention from your partners is critical with their competing priorities
- Value delivered to the end-client but not actioned simply isn’t effective from a business perspective.
Perceived value is fully realized when information is properly actioned. So, for a business to fully capitalize on that attention, there must be an operationalization of making the path forward ridiculously clear.
The movers and shakers are here, and it's your partner team 💃
Partner teams already deal with competing priorities themselves, while also managing their partners’ competing priorities. The best partner teams will deliver extreme clarity towards action for their partners, as well as in the engagements they run with partners. Thus, bringing action and an end result to clients.
In fact, this clarity on value and actioning such value for clients is necessary for a successful partner engagement. Without it, it's two businesses patting themselves on the back and gathering some email subscribers that are now lost. Fully operationalizing this completes the loop of the engagement with your brand, the partner, and the end client.
The canal opens, information is flooded, and the momentum doesn’t stop because the audience can actually use the information to ride the wave. Thus, they fully benefit from the expressed value… which in turn ultimately saturates you and your partner as the catalyst for their success. 💦
Prospective clients are more likely to think of your brand when they have a problem, increasing the chance they make a purchase. 💦💦💦
Where will buyers engage?
Being everywhere is a necessity. Combining the above two, once properly operationalized, and then casting the net as wide as possible will help to align with that 10,000 foot path.
So, where do they engage? 🧐
Think communities, podcasts, content creators, etc. They have been popping off! 📈
Twitter Spaces launched in November of 2020, giving people a space to congregate remotely. Clubhouse (luckily) launched in April of 2020. Slack has been more popular than ever (thanks SalesForce). RevGenius began in May of 2020.
This isn’t by happenstance. The creators of all these projects picked up on a trend pretty dang quickly and actioned it.
We are even further into the age of information at our fingertips. Not only that, but there are 100s upon 100s of new businesses - software + service alike - dedicated to making every watering hole your buyers attend even more easy to setup and engage with.
Super connectors, UNITE! 🦸🏻
Partner teams are the “super connectors” they have ins everywhere and they know people in places you’d never expect (the good ones, at least).
Being everywhere requires partnerships - or else you’re just throwing sponsorship dollars at a group that will half-ass the work to get you exposure, where buyers will know the intent is to get ROI dollars back from them. Bleh 🤢.
Instead, combining value and actioning that value, partner teams will be able to use their connector superpowers to link your node to the other nodes in the network. Then they'll send signals (not bat signals, unless that's your thing) that shine so powerfully bright through that value.
The kicker for this is that all of this is a forcing function for partnership teams. Partner people NEED to be creative in their approach - they engage with multiple different types of businesses with different goals. Constantly. They also NEED to be effective persuaders - they are convincing an entire business to align with your business’s goals.
Combine that with a value-oriented mindset, and you have an unstoppable spreading force that influences at scale, exponentially. Because the value is just too damn great at that point.