You’ve probably heard the phrase 'unprecedented time' quite a bit in the last eight weeks. The current economic turbulence is likely to affect your company’s partner program offerings in the very near future. That’s why you should take advantage of today to really think about where you want to invest those dollars in the future.

Be flexible on where to spend the dollars

In evaluating where to invest your dollars by partner, determine the purpose of the funds. Is it to generate leads, or to help close the sale? These are different things, and you may need a mix of the two. It is important to understand this breakout so that you can effectively communicate to management for their buy-in.

Understand where it will be best spent

We instinctively want to give the majority of the marketing dollars to our top-tier partners, but is that always the best choice? They may be top-tier partners because they already have a solid pipeline, so don’t overlook the smaller partner who is eager to grow their business. They may turn out to be a reliable referral source of deals.

Tune in to their goals

Also remember to take the company’s sales goals into consideration. Is there an effort to grow services? If so, then consider how dollars could be spent to target your systems integrators with training opportunities or demo programs.

Get creative

Marketing funds don’t always mean a direct mail effort or event. A little out-of-the-box thinking may help you uncover ways to move the needle and come up with a set of opportunities that targets the different partner landscapes. Again, for a systems integrator it might be the ability to use marketing dollars to spend on product training or demo units while a sales incentive might be a good fit for your larger partners.

Be ready to pivot quickly if necessary

In today’s pandemic environment you will need to be prepared to shift—quickly and often. Funds might need to be allocated in week eight with little prep time to launch an incentive for those partners with deals in the pipeline that could ensure you hit your target.

Ensure the spend is enough to generate results

If you give $100 to 50 partners, will it net the same results as giving 10 partners $500 each? Identify the sweet spot that will drive a return on investment that realistically aligns with your goal. Emphasis on the word realistically. If your budget has been reduced significantly you may need to completely rethink what’s ‘realistic’ in your new environment.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, talk to your partners. Not just your large partners, but a cross mix of your top tier, lower tier, and systems integrators. Ask them where they see themselves contributing to your program and revenue goals and help craft a plan that is flexible, creative, and financially beneficial for all.

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