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Dangerous liaisons: why partner marketing needs to go beyond the alliance

Traditionally the strategic focus for the partner marketing function has been on the alliance itself – the joint solutions, joint customer wins, joint press releases, sponsoring each other’s events and so on. It focuses on inter-alliance marketing and predominantly targets the alliance teams.


However, the goal of any successful strategic alliance goes further than these teams. Every alliance’s ambition is to drive and accelerate exponential growth for both organisations and their combined customers. But they do this in collaboration with the commercial/sales teams. In short, they achieve this by going beyond the alliance.


Moving marketing out of the alliance and upwards

Partner marketing demands the creation and communication of a powerful joint value proposition and vision of the alliance. For it truly to succeed, it needs to have all client account teams at its heart. Reaching influencers, key stakeholders and sales teams within the partner’s organisation beyond the alliance team, is key.


Sales teams represent the most significant route to market… Their long-standing relationships with customers, and their position as trusted advisors, means they are an invaluable source of information for a campaign, as well as an essential conduit.


Clearly there are account teams in both sides of the partnership, and there will invariably be account leads whose vision for their customer is different from their counterpart’s. However, this can be overcome by creating an activation strategy that targets the commercial teams (on both sides) to address the hurdles, foster collaboration and nurture new avenues of opportunity.


Connecting teams to drive growth

Creating these powerful connections between the sales teams on both sides of the alliance is an effective way to generate pipeline and revenue. It also unlocks the potential for further joint demand generation and marketing campaigns. The big question is, how can partner marketing do this?

Using customer-centric ABM tactics provides a solid foundation for forging those connections by engaging, activating and enabling stakeholders on both sides of the alliance.

Tips for taking the alliance further

Here are some of the considerations to bear in mind when approaching partner marketing:

  • Don’t wait to engage sales

Get under the skin of what sales teams care about. Sales should never be an afterthought, but rather a crucial part of any alliance marketing strategy.


  • Maintain seller engagement and motivation

The better alliance partners are educated on each other’s capabilities, the better they can advise their joint customers and help them make informed decisions. Empowering sales organisations to empower their customers is essential.

  • It’s up to partner marketing

Treating partners as if they were customers and actively targeting sales teams is invariably not in scope for most field marketing organisations. It is therefore the role of partner marketing to drive to-partner ABM.

  • Create an always-on communication channel

Drive a constant and consistent campaign into the sales teams, communicating the value and vision of the alliance and how this benefits their clients.


Joined up solutions

Binding the capabilities of organisations has always been what makes alliances become a compelling force in the market. Having driven PABM strategies and programs for many of our clients, Hotwire marketing is well versed in the value that sales insights play in taking them to the next level. Despite this, the danger zone is still very much inhabited by many who are yet to see the true light at the end of the tunnel.

Wherever you are in your journey, there’s a chance you could be missing a valuable piece of the puzzle. Whether you’re looking to unveil greater value from your alliance proposition or learn more about nuances in Partner Account Based Marketing, I’d love to hear from you and talk about how to make the move outwards and upwards.