Howdy Partners #27: Engaging Internally with Marketing - How to Help Them Do More With Less and Win Together

Will and Tom discuss how to partner up with your marketing team to drive results.

How should you approach marketing? What questions should you ask about their upcoming programs? How do you help them do more with less and build a more efficient organization?

Will recently attended the B2B Marketing Exchange in Phoenix, AZ. He came back with insights into what many marketing leaders are currently working on and worried about.

Will and Tom unpack these insights and give tactical instructions for fostering incredibly productive relationships between partnerships and marketing.

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Full Transcript:

Tom Burgess  0:03
Howdy partners, welcome back. Well, how are you doing? You've been galavanting across the world recently.

Will Taylor  0:12
Yes, I was in Phoenix, Arizona for the b2b marketing exchange credit, some content, I interviewed some people, you know, CMOs VPs of marketing, and it provided a lot of great insight into, you know, what they're thinking about for 2023. So, that was a highlight for sure.

Tom Burgess  0:32
So, what, what is the event? I mean, what was the event? Who did you talk to you? What was the impact?

Will Taylor  0:39
Yeah, so the b2b marketing exchange, it was the first year that I've ever been in that it was ever on my radar. But the reason that we wanted to go is because they do a really good job at setting the content tracks for the different leaders that are there. And it is a lot of leaders as well, which I think is one of the main draws of the event is, you know, the really good content, the really tactical. And then also, it's focused on, you know, executives in the marketing roles. And so the b2b MX had like, basically a lot of what you've probably been hearing about, but really in depth and capturing the stories from the people who are doing it well. And then, of course, the the tactical of how to do it well yourself as well. And related to partnerships, they had a channel track specifically for talking about, you know, how you can do marketing with partners. And we heard from Maria Chen from Forrester, we heard from Asher, Matthew, and Kelly, and James, from partnership leaders, HubSpot, and three, six insights. And so there are a lot of great insights into not only the channel world and the ecosystem world, but then again, the things that are working with marketers, and I'll tie that ribbon with. It was related to partnerships, even though everyone wasn't necessarily saying, this is, you know, working with our partners, you know, they're talking about the social selling, and the the marketing on socials and the work with influencers. It was definitely a hot topic for talking about the partnering mindset in the world of marketing.

Tom Burgess  2:25
That's really cool. So there's some big names there, for sure. Well, you and I were kind of chatting before this. But I think just with the state of SAS in general. How does that impact, you know, like your, your understanding your knowledge and coming back from that event? What does that do from an impact standpoint? What were some of the takeaways that you got out of that?

Will Taylor  2:52
Yeah, one of the main takeaways for me was, every single person I spoke to, they were trying to do more with less. And not only that, but there were some companies that who were sponsoring that were already doing this more with less. And so a really good example was, I'm not going to remember all of them just because there are so many other companies involved in this after party, but chili Piper mutiny partnership bleeders. And then I think like two or three other companies sponsored an event together that was posed, you know, the daily conference stuff, it was in the evening. And so the main overall sentiment was, we are being tasked to do more with less as a lot of companies are. And we still have our KPIs to hit to, of course, you know, a piece of the board and, you know, shareholders and all that. So how do we do that? And I think it's, you know, not even a coincidence that I, you know, I was there asking about partnerships, and interviewing people about it. And of course, they were themselves talking about partnerships being that function for doing that more with less. And a really good summary conversation that I had was with Alana from SQL, she's the CEO. And she has a community called the game changers, community, and I believe it's also a podcast, but she spoke to multiple multiple CMOS, and she said the top two priorities, were creating more content, more valuable content. And this doing more with less, those are the two strategic imperatives for the C suite in marketing on on teams in the SAS space.

Tom Burgess  4:35
When you come back from an event like that, and you're hearing, you know, just like everyone talks about your system, what does that mean from a content standpoint? Like what? How does that how does that How is it relevant to partnerships, how is it relevant to what you do and how is it relevant to our listeners?

Will Taylor  4:53
Yeah, so I think the one of the main things here is like, more and more of these are Their leaders are starting to think about partnerships as their main focus. And the way that you can leverage this momentum is by leaning in, and not only helping them because they're going to try and figure this out. But showing them the way and leading the interaction in that regard. And so one of the main things that I was asking these CMOs and VPs of marketing is, you know, what's the challenge that you have in working with partners today. And one of those main things was, well, it's hard to, you know, set clear, clear expectations, it's hard to, you know, delegate work appropriately, because there's this diffusion of responsibility. And, you know, they can still run a program, but you know, the follow up might not be as good. And so as a partner professional, what I would say you should do is, when your marketing team is talking about the programs that they're working on, for this quarter, or the next two quarters, or the rest of the year, you should, again, lead and ask them, What partners are you including, and then of course, always come with suggestions of, you know, you're working on this. So here's a partner that could fit or you know, an influencer, that could fit that you could partner with. So ask them and guide them on who they can partner with. But then when it comes down to running those projects, really make sure that there's a clear process, and there's clear communication. And again, taking lead on this, I think, is really important. So as a partner manager, or as a partner leader, when you are running these programs in your company, alongside with partners, have something like a template for, hey, here's what our webinar process looks like, you know, even if you spend 20 minutes with your, you know, events person on your marketing team, just to get a debrief, because, again, you don't need to recreate the wheel, get a debrief, hey, what's the process? What do we need in place? And when do we need it in place by and who normally manages it, if you ask those three questions, you can get a really good template of, hey, here's how we work. And then when you go to your partner to say, hey, we want to include you in these programs, it's super clear what they need to do, and when they need to do it by and the rules of engagement essentially. So for anyone listening, you know, marketers are starting to think about this a lot more. And we should capitalize on this as partner professionals. And the best way to do that is to take lead, and set this structure around the process so that, you know, the marketer can do the marketing. And we can do the partnering so that they don't have to try and figure it out. Just like we don't have to figure out how to do marketing.

Tom Burgess  7:39
Yeah. And this, this is nothing new. Right? This these are, this is an ideal that we have been talking about, I would say in bits and chunks on on every episode. So just from a relevancy standpoint, when we're talking about enablement, when we're talking about hiring, when we're talking about activating your partners, like there is no there's no activity from a partner professional standpoint, that that can't utilize efficiencies. And well, you and I, this has been our this has been our game plan. From when we were enabling partners that video, this has been our game plan as we started this podcast. And it I'll tell you like one of the things that I'm really working on right now is, you know, around the activation strategies and and just taking the the the knowledge and expertise that I've had a previous roles whether, you know, agency side, SAS side partnerships, there's always there, there's always efficiencies gained by knowing that everything I say most of the things that you do have a multiplier effect. So for instance, if I'm, if I'm building a product enablement track for my partners, I know that this is going to scale in levels, you know, v1, most likely will be you know, ensuring that I have full knowledge and expertise to run product enablement sessions with my partners. With that, there are one to two offshoots, you know, can I utilize a solutions consultant or an engineer? Or can I use an ad that's really, really powerful when they do product demos? Absolutely. But then thinking down the field, I am most likely going to request or start to think about how can I turn product enablement into something that is self learning or self guided so much more async. And now what I'm doing is building and you're gaining, excuse me, you're gaining and efficiency, which allows you to scale and optimize as you go because now I look at my you know, the hours that I have my day, the hours I have my week, and instead of me saying okay, I need to enable five partners on the product and that's going to take me two hours each so there's 10 hours my week. Now I have a buffer now I have now I have insulation that I can lean on. And the same goes for pretty much every activity that you can think about your you are building to scale and building those efficiencies that are so necessary. You don't need to be in marketing, you actually don't even need to be in partnerships to understand this. But every activity that you do, always think about how can I, how can I do this activity without being there to do that activity? For lack of better term?

Will Taylor  10:25
Yes, yep, I love that. And with that in mind, then you can focus on, again, that relationship being managed and doing more of the, hey, here's what was great about what we did, or, Hey, here's why we should be excited about what we're doing. And then you can, of course, focus on that internal marketing side that you'll have to do to drum up engagement of we love partners internally and all of that. So definitely, that delegation pieces is really powerful. And one thing that I think we'll probably get into a bit more is like, when you're doing a program, you should have a selfish interest in making it a success. And so what I mean by that is, you know, you don't have to do all the work, but what you should do is monitor the KPIs that, you know, the marketers care about, and you should ask them directly, if you haven't already, and then manage or rather, track the metrics associated with any of the programs that they do run alongside of partners. And I think that this is really important, because, you know, if we think about any partner marketing activity that we run, you know, we let's just use like a blog post on a webinar, we did a blog post together, and we also ran a webinar, it's like, most partner managers, they might think, okay, we did it, and you know, marketing's happy, the partners happy, and then, you know, that's it. But if you look at the metrics, then you can literally tie back, hey, because we did this with the partner, here's what was a result, you know, normally our webinars get X amount of registrants and the partner marketing activity got Y amount of registrants, you know, the engagement, the show up rate for those, you know, the follow along on the opportunities. And again, you should have a selfish interest not only because, you know, your numbers probably tied to some of these things like the influence in source revenue, but it also helps to show the marketers, what they are being impacted on in using partners. Because, again, when I started off by talking about how, you know, this is a strategic imperative for them, they're doing this out of a survival mechanism. And they're, they're trying to do anything they can to hit their number. And let's say, you know, things go back to normal and the second half half of this year, where, you know, everyone could just spend whatever they want on on ads, because it's easier, it's less thinking for them. If they don't truly understand the value that they're seeing from running these programs, with partners, they aren't going to go back to those old habits, because they're not going to make that direct connection of, I'm a marketer, I'm held accountable for, you know, number of leads generated or traffic to the website. And, you know, I'm doing these things because I need to right now, but I may not implement it as a core part of my role, especially if it's seemingly hard. So to pull aways, there is like, one, make it easy for them. So again, set the process templatized, as much as possible, set clear expectations, do all of that upfront work for them, you don't have to do the marketing, specifically, just the communication piece. And then the after effect, as well communicate the success and really track those metrics and take a look at them. And even tie back, hey, we ran this with this partner. And this is how it impacted your number as a marketer. So like, I'm excited to do it again with you next time, that's going to get them excited and really saturate the partnerships idea in their mind. And again, it's going to be beneficial for you.

Tom Burgess  14:08
Yeah. And it's, it's two things that stood out one. I mean, we, you just mentioned another role that could utilize templatized Ng, and super relevant. One of the coolest, one of the coolest partners that I've seen, do this really well was SalesLoft. They have they still have just this this like deck, this marketing deck. And I think one of the from a partner standpoint there, whether you're at a certain tier certain level, there are co marketing activities that are available for you and the way that they present that is, here's everything that you're responsible for, and it's nothing new. And that does two things. One is by spending the time upfront to build this template. You're now putting a good amount of the responsibility in the partner's hands to complete this CO marketing effort and that, I know that sounds that might sound once again selfish in the sense of like, oh, well, I can, I don't need to write this blog post, I don't need to, you know, help promote this webinar. That's not true. But to, uh, to affirm degree like a partner's buy in means that the responsibility sometimes lays on them. And we can talk about, you know, the idea of actively managed partnerships versus affiliates versus not. And the same goes for that it's like, organizations need to understand that that from a partnership program standpoint, we have a lot of partners. And we're not trying to pick favorites, but we are absolutely going to put our time and effort into the partnerships that are driving value and driving towards their numbers. But back to this, this template, what it allows them to do is scale efficiently and help their partners stay in the guardrails of building out marketing activities. And on top of that, I think, a really big thing or a big idea that that template follows, is consistency, right, like putting up guardrails, because I've seen so many organizations that, you know, like, hey, we'll do whatever cool marketing activity that we want to do and the partner wants to do. But the problem there is that eat like each webinar, whether it's the same topic or not, is going to be custom baked and custom built. And you're spending more hours in, in developing that when you can make it very simple. Like, hey, here are the rules and regulations here, the guidelines, help us help you in pulling this off. And it just reduces a lot of that like, back and forth friction to to get done what you need to get done.

Will Taylor  16:42
Oh, yeah, that that just gave me the thought of, as well as like simplifying, like, when you simplify makes it easy for you to then replicate not only for that specific project, like if you're simplifying the webinar process, not only is it easier for you to execute on that process thereafter. But then if you simplify enough into having the structure for the template itself a template for the template, almost, you can then put that into the other programs. And so what I'm thinking you could include in that is, again, like, who is responsible? Like, what role is responsible for taking action? What is the general lead up, or the time that it takes to, you know, reach execution date, you know, for a webinar, maybe it's at least a month and lead up? And then you know, promotion starts at least two weeks and lead up and so on and so forth? So who is responsible for what, when are these responsibilities needed to be done by? And then what are the metrics that are primarily impacted? I think those three things would be a really good way to simplify. Tom, what do you think about what else could be boiled down into, you know, something that goes across every program that we could simplify? Are those three sufficient?

Tom Burgess  18:06
No, I think those are good. But there's one other thing that I'd like to call out from a efficiencies gained and simplification process, which is both can be looked at internal in terms of like, your internal tech stack, but also externally, is communications. I think where a lot of partner organizations don't know they can pick up efficiencies is is based on the automations and you know, PRM to CRM integrations, like those those to me, once again, in the spirit of building consistencies. Like if you have a very strong communication channel, and this is great, it ties in the marketing piece to like, there's absolutely like the the external facing how do I communicate efficiently and properly, with impact to our partners about product updates, program updates, new releases, etc? That's one thing but way more importantly, this is this is my operational brain coming in here is how are you communications set up to go out from your PRM? How do we ensure that partners they submit a lead they know like, okay, when, when is like the part when is the company going to follow up? Or what's the process look like? And there, there are so many ways that you can help increase the efficiencies through communications. So that's the only thing I would add.

Will Taylor  19:31
Yeah, great. Great. Call it on those communications. And so getting into the tactical, rounding out the episode here, step one, if you haven't already talked to your marketing team, you know, figure out what their programs are for q1, q2 and beyond. And then make a suggestion of how partners can play a role. And of course, ask them how they want to include partners. Also learn about their KPIs and what existing processes They already have baked and in place. So if they already have a webinar process, grab that from them. And then use that as the relationship management fuel to make things super easy for your partners. So that's step one, talk to them, learn what they already have going and learn about their KPIs. Step to build a bare bones MVP process that your partners can clearly understand, alright, you know, when we engage with X company, as our partner, here's what we can expect for running a webinar or doing any partner marketing activity, and really set those rules of engagement. And from there, of course, that will all be informed by the processes and the conversation that you have with your marketing team. And then step three would be, of course to execute. So build those programs, start executing on those partner marketing activities. And step four, like I mentioned, look at those KPIs. See how it's actually impacting the business and you know, what the marketers care about. And step five, make noise about that, when you know that impact, then start making noise. If you follow those five steps, honestly, I think you'd be able to hit most of what you need and partner marketing to really, you know, clearly state what needs to be done who's doing it when understanding how it's impacting the the KPIs, clearly communicating with your partner, and then using that as fodder for those success stories internally as well. Tom, anything I missed before

Tom Burgess  21:30
the natus six point which is it's kind of like walking through the grocery store and just picking up every coupon that you can grab, whether you're gonna use it or not. Marketing Marketing team is closest to everything public facing website, like content, etc. And they're the like, from a Polish standpoint, everything that they are launching, releasing, like putting out there, raise your hand to see if you can get your hands on it so your partners can see it too. I say that in the sense like yes, of course your partners will see customer emails or partner emails. They'll see product releases like on your website, like all the public facing stuff, but they're in the in the light of like, the dual edged sword like if I'm doing product enablement, can I turn it into something else? That is like scaling up like 2x 5x Same goes for so just like if they're like Hey, does anyone want this like we're releasing, you know, State of the Union report in 2023? Yes, raise your hand like how can I help partner fie it and be the first to like want the materials

Will Taylor  22:34
partnered FIDE love it. Thank you everyone for listening and start executing on those partner marketing campaigns as marketers they want it. So we'll tune in to next episode.

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