With more vendors expanding their role from technology providers to true marketing partners, resellers face the challenge of incorporating vendors new role into their own marketing and sales programs. At the same time, resellers must protect their most valuable assets—their prospects and customers.
So, how do you take advantage of vendors offerings to help you grow your business while protecting yourself? By truly managing how vendors can help you.
Ultimately, vendors want access to your prospect and customer base to implement marketing and sales programs that result in a win-win profitability scenario. Sharing this information is the first step toward a true co-marketing partnership, but it requires both planning and preparation in a number of areas.
First, your marketing database must be customized so you can identify, qualify, develop and maintain customer relationships. This invaluable tool will allow you to generate a database analysis that delivers a clear customer profile for your vendor partners and provides an explicit understanding of your market. Understanding your customers is pivotal for developing effective promotions and delivering the right message to the right people at the right time.
Second, a well-maintained database will allow you to easily implement any demand-creation promotions with your partners via a third-party fulfillment house. This is important because it allows you to manage the quantity and timing of all promotions, without releasing your customer list to multiple parties.
Finally, insist that the "call-to-action" from your customers be directed to you. A follow-up call, a product demo and an on-site sales call should always be a joint effort between you and your partner. The preliminary step toward any successful partnership is a clear understanding of how you will do business to achieve mutual gain. The subsequent step is managing the process.
Jim Niekamp is director of IntegratorsOnly.com, a members-only channel site for system builders and integrators. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.