My four years at Salesforce has been dedicated to working with partners on co-marketing. Co-marketing is collaborating with other companies who serve similar audiences. For me, it’s all about working with Salesforce partners to create awareness and interest in their amazing technologies for our customers.
One of the most important elements of marketing is a great plan, and co-marketing is no different. Working together with partners, we build a marketing plan to help them reach their goals, whether it’s mapping their marketing tactics to a greater plan, increasing awareness in the Salesforce field, or showing up at events.
As we kick off our second half of the year and with Dreamforce planning rapidly approaching, it’s a great time to recap the resources, strategy, and tactics that my team has seen work for partners along the way.
Before we talk tactics, the first step is making sure you have a solid plan. I know this can seem simple, but I’ve noticed it’s a step easy to skip, especially when against an immovable deadline or shopping for the most cost-effective opportunity. While running the AppExchange Marketing Program (AMP), our team spends almost equal amounts of time working with partners on tracking marketing initiatives to a greater plan compared to the individual promotions themselves.
There is no required template here — I’ve seen great plans using project management tools or simply boxes on a slide. The critical piece to emphasize is that every single one of your marketing efforts should map back to and support your plan to market with Salesforce and really, your partnership plan in general.
Envision Your Slam Dunk and Work Backwards
I hesitate to write “focus on the ‘metrics that matter’” for fear of sounding cheesy, but it works. Imagine what gets you high-fives at the end of the year and work backward in a realistic fashion. Whether it’s being featured in a certain study as an industry leader, doubling Annual Contract Value (ACV), or increasing brand recognition by 43%, if you’re not clear on the big shiny goal, it’s a show stopper and you’ll spend more time than necessary to justify your efforts. For example, there is no doubt why you are spending a substantial amount of time and budget writing an interactive ebook if you’re focused on “20% increase in number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) by February 2020” versus “turn up the content engine in 2019.“
With any lead generation effort, your team will own converting traffic to MQLs and nurturing those leads. Have resources dedicated and prep ahead of time (Partner Enablement and the AMP ROI guide can help get you started). Keep in mind that AppExchange leads from your listing are more mid-funnel so have a specific follow-up journey for each type (e.g. Watch Demo vs. Get it Now).
Be Realistic About Intangibles
This comes up a lot. If a request from the top crops up mid-year that doesn’t map to your goal hit the pause button (if only briefly). If the ask does not support your goal, the best option is to skip it. However, I completely get that’s not always viable. In this case, I recommend updating your plan to include an additional higher goal. If there is a lot of excitement about getting a certain analyst’s attention, chances are something like “fix public perception that our product is too expensive by increasing our positive social engagement by 75%” should be added to your plan.
As an example, there were many times where I wish “get a certain executive on stage at our user conference to promote the relaunch of our product that integrates with Community Cloud, to increase conference attendance which supports our goal of doubling pipeline in Q3” was articulated during planning. It makes it so much easier (and fun, quite frankly) to be able to note meetings, thought leadership, blogging, or 1:1 demos as tactics that help support this goal.
Have Study Hall First
There are a ton of great marketing resources available for free — Marketing With Salesforce, listing best practices, and this collection of content collaboration options — to name a few. While it’s tempting (and easier) to shoot out a note requesting a call with a vendor or team at Salesforce to investigate an opportunity more, your time will be much better spent doing research first and defining the exact results you are expecting to see by working together.
You shouldn’t spend any time on the phone walking through something that can be found beforehand — carve out time to dig into the Partner Community first. Your call will be much more productive and the chances are higher that the next steps will map clearly to your marketing plan. If relationship building with another company is a priority this also makes for a stellar first impression.
In closing, tap all your resources! I run a paid co-marketing program, however, this should not be the only way you collaborate with Salesforce on marketing. Along with paid opportunities like AMP or event sponsorships, don’t forget organic opportunities like collaborating with our Content & Community team or the Partner Marketing Center, and Partner Enablement resources.