Everyone has heard of ABM (Account-Based Marketing), but not many know that applying ABM to partner activation, from recruiting/business development to partner engagement, can yield amazing results.
Partner Activation and engagement is a critical Go-To-Ecosystem topic, and one of the biggest challenges companies face when trying to create EPS (efficient, predictable, scalable) partner program results. Even with the best program, value proposition, and business case – if partners aren’t motivated, they won’t activate and engage.
Here at Digital Bridge Partners, we’ve been really fortunate to partner with Ampfactor in developing a shared GoToEco Engine offering. A core component of that offering is leveraging ABM to increase awareness and motivate partners to engage.
It’s my pleasure to have Blake Williams, CEO of Ampfactor with me in conversation to dig into what makes ABM for Partner Activation special.
Account-based marketing defined
Allan: Let’s kick it off Blake, how would you define account-based marketing generally and specifically as it applies to partner activation?
Blake: ABM is really just “strategic and efficient B2B marketing.” In terms of partner activation, ABM allows you to tell a joint solution Better Together Story to hyper-specific or purified audiences, including overlapping accounts shared by partner integration, sales, and customer success teams. It enables partners to communicate directly with the people who will see the most value in what they’ve created.
Partner recruitment and activation
Allan: How does ABM apply to partner recruitment & business development? There’s a conventional belief, held by most partner leaders, that once you’ve identified your IPP, it’s time to start doing outbound and begin driving awareness, interest & adoption. How should partner leaders rethink this in the context of ABM for partner activation?
Blake: Ideally you want to work with your product team, who in theory are capturing the voice of the customer, to create a message that highlights a market opportunity for a potential partner. This requires you to identify whitespace in your platform roadmap that a partner can help you get to faster. You then would want to invite the partner to come to see if there’s really “gold in them hills” and test demand. This is 100% a strategic ABM play because the use case may only apply to a single or one of 3-4 potential partners that are suitable to GoToEco with.
Approaching partners with an idea, a white space, an early estimation of the revenue opportunity, and rolling out the red carpet and asking them to build a shared business case should be done eloquently. Examples include a video, a specific event, and an infographic posing the question “what if I engaged?”
Then, when it's time to start doing outbound it's important to create unique plays that go beyond email. This might include a dimensional video mailer to the entire c-suite. You might end up spending up to $10k getting an entire media bill of materials together for only 3-4 partners. But if there’s a high probability of getting eight figures on the other end of just one of those partnerships, you’ve nailed the business outcome you needed for pennies.
Allan: How does ABM apply to large partner engagement and motivation? I’ve been amazed at what Ampfactor has been able to do to drive partners to engage. One of my favorite examples is changing the hearts and minds of account executives and customer success folks at big accounts like Salesforce or Adobe. There’s some real magic there. Most partner leaders believe that you can’t really motivate those big partners to help drive co-sales. Can you share your experiences in applying ABM here?
Blake: Absolutely. It’s easy to assume leviathan type partners and their CS and AE teams aren’t going to lift a finger to help you drive revenue. But any time we market, our goal is ALWAYS to win the hearts and minds of people who have their own needs and challenges to solve. Our job is to talk about their problems in the context of a solution, in a way that’s compelling and easy to understand.
ABM campaigns that focus on how we help AE’s take home bigger commission checks, or help CS folks drive insane NPS or other metrics, will get noticed. These folks want to crush it professionally. And anyone who has run a P&L will tell you that people will do more of what you incentivize if you can position in terms of maximizing their own individual utility, or simply in terms of take-home pay.
Another, highly recommended approach, is to find out what the partner attach rate is for deals like yours. If it's 50% or higher, kick off an ABM campaign to drive business development with implementation partners or engineering partners and drive activation and engagement that way. The SF logo is worthless if you can’t, and don’t, deploy incentives and strategy against it and learn how to capitalize and convert it to value.
Allan: Great conversation, thank you Blake. Readers, DM either of us if you’d like to hear more about how our GoToEco Engine has delivered EPS Partner Activation and Revenue Growth.