Economists, CEOs, VCs, and entire companies are preparing for an impending economic downturn. War, inflation, stock market losses and crypto problems are clear indicators of trouble. The uncertain environment makes companies nervous. As we have seen with past economic troubles, companies that focus on fundamentals and sustainable growth during uncertain times become outliers and unicorns during good times. Paypal, Microsoft, Apple, AirBnB and Netflix are just a few examples.
Taking a deeper look into these companies, we see that most of them relied on their channel partners and relationships to help them stay afloat and thrive during times of trouble. It’s not a secret but, today more than ever, companies need to focus on making their partnerships a competitive advantage. During the last economic downturn, most companies’ channel partners were only resellers and VARs. Today, there are many more flavors of partnerships: managed service providers, technology, ecosystem and alliance partners. The bottom line is you need to make sure these partners are driving additional revenue for your company, otherwise they are just satisfying a vanity metric. However, succeeding at this task won’t be easy to do.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 key steps to help you make all types of partnerships a competitive advantage and a way to drive additional revenue during an economic downturn.
- Digitally Transform Your Partnerships: The very unfortunate reality is that many companies are going to be reducing staff. To prepare for this, make sure you have the digital infrastructure in place to generate more partnerships, manage them efficiently, and track their effectiveness with fewer resources. PRMs are a great start, but access to data and insights breaks down after a partner has logged in and downloaded a piece of content. You must think beyond that. How would you get access to their marketing efforts? How would you see the effectiveness of content? What would conversation rates look like? How can you enable partners to close deals for you? You need to know the exact attribution models for everything you are doing for your partners. Make sure your platform can handle the different types of your partnerships: technology, resellers, ecosystems, alliances and more. There are very few platforms that can help with attribution models for every flavor of partnership.
- Make Data Driven Decisions: Just like in direct sales models. You need to have data to make decisions. Understand which partners are actively marketing for you, what their pipeline looks like, see what content is working or not. Feed the partners that are driving the pipeline and make sure they have the necessary sales tools to help close business. Your partner is an extension of your own sales team. They are the force multiplier, so make sure they have everything at their disposal to close business. Understand which partners are not keeping up. Use your data to find out who they are and how to help them succeed. You don’t want to have partners with stagnant business. That will only hurt your cause.
- Open Communications: Partners are just as scared as you or more because they have a business that can go under quickly. Have a straightforward conversation with them about the situation. Make this a regular check in. Help them understand that you are in it together. The way to face the storm ahead is by working together and getting sales and revenue going. That is the best way partners and companies will survive adding to the bottom line.
- Do the Work Yourself: Making things easier is going to help your effort go a long way. Be the partner’s CMO and VP of Sales. This will build trust. Helping partners with lead generation, pipeline development, sales enablement and continued support is critical. That sounds like a lot of work for a company that might be reducing staff too. The good news is that technology can help. Use great technology to help partners with each stage. Channel Marketing Automation platforms are a good step. But most of them just create more work. xAmplify is one of the few that make things simpler and easier. It can not only help you but help your partners. It was designed from the ground up to make things dead simple for you and your partners. That is why we get results!
- More Data: After you’ve completed the steps above, use the obtained data to grow your partner business. Similar to looking at viral coefficients, you want to see what is driving the business: types of partners, content, time, date, campaign types, etc. You’ll be able to be more driven by results and solutions. Also, don’t forget to show the data to your CRO, CEO and CMO. They will see how the partner team is driving sales and the business.
The uncertainty ahead is causing lots of turmoil. By focusing on partnerships, your company can turn the economic downturn into the unicorn opportunity for your company. To learn more about how to digitally transform your channel business, contact us at xAmplify.