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12 Pieces of Content your Partners Secretly Need
June 4, 2014
I recently finished a project with a client where the focus was to empower partners with every piece of content we could think of so they can focus on selling the product to the end-customer. I was so pleased to take on the project - having been a reseller in a past life, it was refreshing to see a vendor actually focus on building materials to make the parter's life easier.
I've worked at a number of tech companies, each with a "partner program" (I use quotes because that term has vastly different scopes at each company). If your goal is to truly make it easy for partners to adopt your product and begin seeing it as a part of their portfolio of products or services, you need to work very hard to demonstrate your end of the partnership by providing a large number of tools for them to use throughout their business.
The theme here is definitely overkill. In a perfect world, you want to provide enough materials to allow the parter's sales and marketing folks to read through your stuff and start selling. It's possible (seriously). To make the point, I'll list out the types of assets I created and, therefore, you should create, as well as some I think may need to still be created to help the partner.
Keep in mind, this is parter-specific content (so more than just a bunch of case studies you already have, etc.) that can be reused to train your own sales staff (if your company has a direct sales team in addition to a channel sales model).
Home Page / Product Page content - Don't make the partner copy your website; give them something unique (which also prevents being hit with duplicated content from an SEO perspective). Something short for the homw page promoting the product and then a set of product page content, flexible enough to fit a variety of page content structures.
Banner Ads - These can be used both on the partner's site as well as in evternal advertising they want to execute. There are a number of standard banner sizes - while there are quite a few, it will help to allow the partner to have any size they need ready to go.
Blog Posts - Just like you have a ton of blog content, your partners needs some as well that promotes your product. And they just started learning about your product so it's highly unlikely they will have anyone on staff anytime soon that will have the expertise to promote your stuff. So write them a few posts so prospects and customers alike will be exposed to your product leveraging the credibility of the partner.
Email content - Just like the partner has no time to write blog posts, make it easy for them and write the first couple of emails. Assume they need 3-4 emails introducing your product and a few on problems it solves.
Market Positioning - You've been drinking the company Kool-Aid for years and "get it". The partner reps that will be charged with selling your stuff were pitching something completely different last week. Give them some backgound on the the market, who else is in it, the persona of the buyer, how you differentiate yourself, etc. You want to empower them by giving them an understanding of the market they're about to walk into.
Sales FAQs - This is targeted at the reps themselves. Sort of a "What exactly am I going to be asked to sell and why" kind of document. It serves as a high level introduction into your product, the problem(s) it solves and why customers care.
Sales Pitch - this is your 15, 30 and 60 second pitches, catered for each buyer persona.
Buyer Talking Points - Give them a set of topics and questions to walk the customer through the problem, your solution, some features and credibility builders so when they ask for the PO, they'll get it.
Buyer FAQs - Arm reps with the questions you've experienced from customers so they can quickly and articulately respond. An "Uhhh, I'm not sure." does wonders to kill a potential sale.
Battlecard - This is a two-sided, sum up everything else into a single doc kind of asset. It's for when the rep is on the phone and they don't have time to sort through all the other docs I've listed in this article. Give them some quick hits on what they are selling, customer benefits, customer persona, abbreviated pitches, and come credibility builders (awards, customers, etc.) all on two sides of a single page.
Customer Facing Powerpoint - Assume your partners are going to visit their customers and pitch your product. So give them a simple powerpoint to use. And don't just make the slides with bullets; fill the slide notes with the point of each slide, some talking points, even questions to ask the customer.
Customer Follow-up Email(s) - After a rep converses with a prospect, provide them with the email that covers the high-level details a customer will take with them: who you are (that is, your company, not the partner), what you do (that is, your product they are pitching), and what's in it for the customer.
There are probably alot more assets that can be provided to partners, but this dozen will serve as a launch point for your partner program. Partners want to see you investing in them so they, in turn, are motivated to invest time that will benefit you. Building these assets is a great first step in building a long term and, hopefully, lucrative relationship.