THROUGH-PARTNER MARKETING IN THE NEW CLOUD ERA

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1 THROUGH-PARTNER MARKETING IN THE NEW CLOUD ERA

2 Although it varies greatly with product complexity and market maturity, today s buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they reach out to the vendor. - Lori Wizdo, Forrester 1 The marketing technology landscape today presents suppliers and their partners with around one thousand options 2 many of which entrench complexity. Their emergence is in rapid response to the perceived opportunity of automating the presentation of content to consumers who are online, mobile, social, and self-educated. The challenge for suppliers and their partners is to insert their messages into this mix so that they reach and connect with these customers. Some studies show up to 90% of the buyer s journey is complete before a prospect even contacts a salesperson. Through-Partner Marketing in the New Cloud Era 2

3 On average, 8 information assets are downloaded during the purchase process. The average IT decision-maker needs to consume 5 pieces of content before they are ready to speak with a sales representative. But 82% find it challenging to locate high-quality, trusted information on major IT purchases. As pointed out in a recent Forrester Wave report, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. 3 In an earlier report, Forrester outlined how great marketing content fuels the demand generation engine, boosts brand visibility, and attracts buyers interested in the problems your company can solve. 4 This is a real phenomenon. Just to cement these comments, based on 1,138 respondents, the 2013 IDG Customer Engagement survey 5 highlighted how lead nurturing is key to the sales process. 1 Buyer Behavior Helps B2B Marketers Guide The Buyer s Journey The Forrester Wave : Lead-To-Revenue Management Platform Vendors, Q Due Diligence Required: These Vendors Are Great At Marketing January 21, Nurture Thought Leadership To Nurture Your Brand Make Thought Leadership The Tip Of The Content Marketing Spear April 4, IDG Customer Engagement Survey, September 2013 Through-Partner Marketing in the New Cloud Era 3

4 CHALLENGE INTO OPPORTUNITY The fact that customers are self-educated is an opportunity for partner sales teams, if they re suitably prepared and armed with an easy to use demand generation platform that helps position their thought leadership as part of an automated lead nurture flow with simplicity. At a recent SiriusDecisions content summit it was not surprising to hear that sales people yes, sales people, are seeking a simple way to send thought leadership content to their installed base. Their aim is to position themselves as thought leaders AND give them validated reasons to call their clients and discuss topical business issues. What suppliers and their partners sales teams need is clear and confident digital strategy, supported by powerful marketing software they can operate simply. It s about getting the marketing solution out of their way and helping partners get on with generating leads, converting them into opportunities, and closing sales. Quickly and more easily. And that time is precious to customers too. The leads they generate require fast action. The Lead Response Management Study 6 calls on organizations to reap the rewards of a 21x increase in lead qualification when sales teams respond to leads in the first hour. Mobile, self-educated buyers are actively seeking assistance in their buying decisions. While their final decision may take time, they are more likely to reward those who can provide them with the desired information sooner rather than later. Let s remember, suppliers partners, whether agents, brokers or resellers, are time poor. Aren t we all? They re trying to meet the thirst for useful knowledge that mobile, self-educated buyers are actively seeking. In essence, they re trying to place quality information about the solutions customers are looking for in front of customers in the most time efficient manner Through-Partner Marketing in the New Cloud Era 4

5 PAIN RELIEF If your marketing isn t mobile-ready, then it s not working. So the pain felt by partners is really an amplification of the painfelt by customers finding reliable information about solutions to real problems, in the most efficient manner possible. This is one reason why underpins so much quality marketing. Social media is of course now an extremely powerful two-way communication channel in the marketplace. Its inclusion in automated marketing solutions is therefore mandatory. Let s also remember that 2013 was the year in which mobile opens exceeded the 50% mark 7. Consequently, responsive and site design is also now mandatory. Otherwise, how will the vast majority of users reading their s and surfing the web on tablets and smartphones engage with your message? Simplifying through-partner sales and marketing helps customers find the information they re looking for. Sooner. Professionally designed content, active partner engagement, and an easy to use platform combine to accelerate the sales process for partners, which, inturn, boosts supplier revenues sooner. Syndicating social media copy and leads via CRM systems integration is a powerful add-on which, like social media, is fast becoming mandatory. 7 Through-Partner Marketing in the New Cloud Era 5

6 USER EXPERIENCE Convenience, ease, and scalability are the desirable traits of a quality cloud user experience. Cloud presents marketers and sales teams with powerful platforms for generating leads. But are they easy to use? Without ease of use, are they truly useful? In Consumption Economics: The New Rules of Tech, the authors point out the major transformation happening in how consumers buy, and when. The shift from capital expenditure to operational, or consumption-based expenditure, now underpins this new cloud era. Up-front high prices paid out of CapEx budgets have shifted to much lower prices paid out of OpEx budgets, but only as and when services are consumed. And consumers only expect to pay for the services they need. Take MS Word as an example. Most users won t use 90% of its features. Many applications and platforms continue to add increasingly complex arrays of features continually shifting their functionality further away from partners requirements. In this new cloud era, the tools to remove the barriers of cost and complexity from marketing solutions are available. And they re available both after sale, and before sale, through simplified yet powerful marketing automation software-as-aservice that offer standard services and the option to add more, but only as required. The good ones do this all without requiring up-front training or certification due to the intuitive nature of their user experience design. And user experience design is very important. Over 86% of respondents to the recent Rethinking Apps survey believe that UI and design are critical to customer satisfaction and productivity 8. This is while, as companies strive to generate demand and capture the attention of buyers, many marketing automation tools have become exceedingly complex. 8 Avanade, Rethink application possibilities and align to business outcomes, December 2013 Through-Partner Marketing in the New Cloud Era 6

7 In some cases, they engender complexity to the point that users require intense training and certification. USER EXPERIENCE As Marketo point out in their Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation 9 Marketing automation is not a panacea by itself. To deliver, it requires the support of a comprehensive strategy that integrates the right processes, people, content, data, and more. In other words, success is not guaranteed. In their guide, Marketo explain how, on top of the investment in their software, you need to invest in a team of human resources and their ongoing training to make the tool work effectively. That may work well for some large enterprises, but not so well for the vast majority of organizations. We talk with hundreds of our clients partners every week. They re very interested in reaching customers and prospects with campaign automation, but have no time for a complex tool that requires certification and offers features that they won t have time to use either. They want something that s simple, yet powerful. We need a way to help partners reach customers over the course of their buyer s journey, with automated marketing, but far more simply. And, for suppliers, that simplicity enables scale across all partners or the vast majority without the resources needed to invest in a tool requiring certification and additional headcount. 9 Through-Partner Marketing in the New Cloud Era 7

8 CHANNEL INVESTMENT According to the SiriusDecisions TRED framework, the four most critical layers of b-to-b channel investment are Technology, Recruitment, Enablement, and Demand creation. Consider how your existing or prospective marketing automation platform addresses each of these. At the Technology layer, focus on the underlying applications and any ancillary services. Does it enable your channel in a systematic, repeatable manner? Does it do so easily and effectively? In this fourth layer you also need technologies that offer visibility into marketing inquiries, leads, and pipeline opportunities. So a key consideration is whether you can easily gather and analyze that data using platform-driven analytics. This framework allows suppliers to effectively leverage the relationships and contact lists that key partners have built within the geographical or vertical markets they serve. At the recruitment layer, how will your platform and ancillary services help you to identify, enlist, and on-board new channel partners. How does your platform supplier support the success of your investment in their platform, if at all? SiriusDecisions third layer, the enablement layer, includes the training, certification, and skills transfer required to assist partners in generating demand for your solutions and the platform s ability to deliver value-added services. Realistically, you want partners to require minimal training and certification to help them start generating leads sooner. At the fourth layer, the demand creation layer, SiriusDecisions include activities delivered through the channel marketing function to enable customers to learn more about your products, as well as where and how to purchase them demand generation plays. You want to help partners generate demand effectively, quickly, and simply. Through-Partner Marketing in the New Cloud Era 8

9 THROUGH-PARTNER SALES AND MARKETING. SIMPLIFIED. Elastic Grid simplifies through-partner sales and marketing with channel management and reporting best practices to help deliver much needed clarity helping align spend on marketing activities with stated markeing strategy. In terms of user experience, we have rebuilt our platform to further simplify through-partner sales and marketing for suppliers/vendors and their partners. And the Elastic Grid platform operates out-of-the-box so to speak. Monthly licensing of this cloud-based platform arms your channel with access to demand generating Grid campaigns that they can launch as individual modules or as nurture flows in minutes. Through-Partner Marketing in the New Cloud Era 9

10 A recent Ad Age survey found that nearly 65% of b-to-b marketers planned to increase their marketing budgets as much as 10% this year. Ad Age goes on to say that, broadly speaking, budgets are up as marketers spy opportunities to efficiently promote their brands and generate leads. 10 Digital is grabbing a bigger share of the pie. Almost a quarter (23.5%) of b-to-b marketers expect to spend between 50% and 74% of their budgets on digital this year, up from 17% in % of b-to-b marketers are using marketing automation. Help partners make the most of your digital strategy. Give them a single pane view of available campaigns, collateral, and content that is easy to use. 53% of b-to-b marketers are using marketing automation. 65% of b-to-b marketers planned to increase their marketing budgets as much as 10% this year Advertising Age B2B Marketing Fact Pack Through-Partner Marketing in the New Cloud Era 10

11 CONCLUSION Elastic Grid simplifies campaigns through nurture flow automation. Through one pane of glass they can launch a sophisticated campaign in under 5 minutes managing responsively designed , social media, and syndicated content without the need for a dedicated marketing head or lengthy training. Essentially, it gets marketing obstacles out of their way. In short: make it easy for partners to generate leads for your solutions. Use a platform that is mobile-ready, easy to use, and proven to get results. Simplify your sales and marketing Request a demo at or give us a call to discuss through-partner sales and marketing. Simplified. Through-Partner Marketing in the New Cloud Era 11

12 elasticgrid.com Through-Partner Marketing in the New Cloud Era 12

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