It was just over a year ago that DemandGen was recognized as the 2019 Marketo Digital Services Partner of the Year. This week, we were humbled to be honored as Adobe’s 2020 Marketo Engage Digital Experience Solution Partner of the Year. While this back-to-back win is an exciting accomplishment, it’s challenging to celebrate it in today’s troubling and uncertain times.
Instead, this year I’m reflecting on why healthy, mutually beneficial partnerships are more important than ever. Even though we’re living in a much different world than we were last year (or even just a few weeks ago), the 5 pieces of advice I shared in my March 2019 post about how to become an award-winning partner are still incredibly relevant:
Tip 1: Understand What Success Looks Like for Your Partner
It’s still critical to know the fundamentals: 1) How does the company you are partnering with measure the health of its partnerships?; and 2) How do the key people you interact with get paid (your partner manager, sales reps, customer success managers, etc.)? It goes without saying that many people and businesses are at risk of not hitting their numbers in today’s environment. Approach every partner conversation with empathy and compassion. How has your partner’s life been impacted — both professionally and personally? What roadblocks are standing in the way of meeting their goals? What can you bring to the table to help?
Tip 2: Show Up, Lean In, and Find a Way to Say Yes
Good partners are like good friends — they are there for you not just in the happy times, but also when times are tough. Now is not the time to retreat and focus inward. Continue to devote energy and resources to driving value for your partner, your own organization, and (most importantly) for your shared customers. Be proactive. Get creative. Brainstorm ideas. Then, work together to make them happen.
Tip 3: Give Before You Get and Always Bring Value
Approaching your partner from the perspective of, “How can we help?” is always appropriate, but even more critical in the current climate. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to bring value. A good place to start right now is with mutual customers. Schedule time with your key partners and put your heads together on how you can work together to make a difference for some of your shared accounts.
Tip 4: Underpromise and Overdeliver
Part of being a good partner is to say yes as often as possible. However, there is also value in asking tough questions and providing constructive feedback. None of us has a playbook for how to navigate these unprecedented times and everyone is scrambling to get creative. If a partner makes a request that doesn’t make sense on the surface, dig further to understand the context behind their ask. Maybe it’s a brilliant, out-of-the-box solution and you can jump on board. Or maybe it seems destined to fail and you can tactfully shift to collaborating on an alternative approach. But, regardless, if you agree to do something for your partner, follow through on your commitment.
Tip 5: Continuously Invest in Expertise
Unfortunately, many people in our industry are lying awake at night, wondering what the future holds. To all of the marketing agencies reading this — now is a great time to invest in your people, and by doing so, invest in your partnerships. Companies like Adobe are stepping up to help their partners weather the storm by offering things like free access to online learning courses and complimentary certification exams. Take advantage of their generosity and give your team the time and space to hone their skills while they build their resumes. Gaining expertise is a win across the board — for your employees, your partner, your agency, and your clients.
Stay safe, be well, and let’s get through this together.
Learn more about DemandGen’s comprehensive suite of strategic, technical, and operational services here or access helpful tips, tools and resources designed to help you get more from your investment in Marketo Engage.
After more than a dozen years in product management and product marketing, Anita Covelli shifted gears about seven years ago and moved into the world of alliances and partnerships. She initially cut her teeth while building a partner program from the ground up at webinar and conferencing provider ReadyTalk. Then, she moved on to help scale and grow the AppCloud technology partner program at Oracle Marketing Cloud. In mid-2017, Anita joined DemandGen to activate and drive value from the great relationships the team has built over the years in the marketing technology community.