In today’s world, business has become more collaborative than ever. New developments in technology have created a collective spirit affecting the way businesses are operating. This is also true of purchasing business services. Traditional partnerships focusing on fulfilling quotas or providing market development funds are slowly fading into the background. Rather—new types of partnerships that promote operational efficiencies are beginning to emerge.
This includes solution training and social selling—where partners can make use of the vendor resources to find solutions to operational obstacles. Vendors also provide joint account planning, once again emphasizing a collective approach to selling. Technical expertise and business strategy are now a core facet of any partnership, and have proven to be useful for partners to succeed in this ever-competitive business environment.
Reinventing the Wheel Isn’t Necessary
The rapid creation of new products and channels takes place because of innovation but this doesn’t have to mean hiring an engineer to develop the next big thing. Digital media and Ad Tech can provide great avenues for partners and vendors to succeed together—think AmEx and Foursquare. Good vendors want their partners to be as efficient as possible and encourage them to do so, albeit at a distance. Great vendors however, invest in platforms that drive their partners’ performances upwards, and partners would be prudent to make the most of these vendor-funded platforms. Unfortunately, many partners don’t integrate vendor platforms into their operations. They choose to use their limited funds to duplicate systems that already exist, intentionally but also sometimes unknowingly, thinking they will be able to create a unique and customized system. This results in time, effort, and resources wasted—especially considering that most vendors can provide personalized systems and processes at a grander and better scale.
CMZ Plus – an Original
HP’s Partner First program is the perfect example of a fully developed suite partners can maximize for their own success. For example, rather than paying to develop marketing campaigns, CMZ Plus, HP’s easy-to-use campaign tool, allows partners to quickly co-brand marketing assets to include logos, offers, and more. In terms of digital upkeep, HP’s Syndicated Web Content allows partners to add rich HP content to their website to help customers research and/or purchase the right HP products for their needs. This is a win-win situation for both partner and vendor, through the provision of useful information for the partner’s clients as well as boosting sales for the vendor. Once enrolled, HP sends a code to the partner’s website to embed within the site environment, to make sure that content automatically updates thus eliminating the need for constant monitoring and resource wastage. Another free benefit is the ability to create stellar videos and catalogues. Small businesses tend to spend a large portion of their budget on marketing either through an outside service or internally, and often the results are disproportionate to the amount spent. Being a partner gives these businesses easy access to free marketing tools to assist from customizable catalogue and video creation, to translation services to appeal to different audiences, to advice on products to include in these mini-campaigns to harvest the best turnover.
Do you Need to Invest in Digital Marketing Tools?
Considering the exponential rise in digital marketing, it comes as no surprise great vendors would also provide for digital marketing tools within their programs. Research suggests SMEs spend 46 percent of their marketing budget on digital marketing. While there are definitely some aspects of digital marketing SMEs need to invest in, this number could be reduced by utilizing free vendor tools. For instance, the HP Social Media Centre, a free perk for partners gives partners everything they need to start building a social media presence. Furthermore—by gathering content from experts covering a vast variety of topics (education, healthcare, security and more)—partners can access this topically organized content and share it to their social channels with the click of a button. This is extremely helpful in the initial stages of creating a web presence, especially considering content writers often charge a hefty fee and finding reputable and reliable content to publish gets harder every day. Most entrepreneurs and SME CEO’s don’t have the time to create their own content on a timely basis to update their websites regularly, so this sort of vendor service acts as a trusty alternative for efficient content creation and outreach.
These are just a few examples of services vendors can provide. The real take away is partners should keep a keen eye out for the systems vendors put at their disposal, rather than spending money on replicating systems that may already be in place. After all, operational savings go a long way. Ultimately there is much to be gained from leveraging vendor benefits, and it would be judicious for partners to recognize the same.
Vincent Brissot is the Head of Channel Marketing & Operations at HP. With some 14 years of experience in channel enablement, business development, and marketing, he has a comprehensive understanding of and expertise in the IT industry related to hardware, services, and software. Vincent has worked in multiple countries, in regional and worldwide roles across Enterprise and SMB market segments. You can follow Vincent on Twitter @VincentBrissot and also find him on LinkedIn.
This article was first published on LinkedIn.