Fine Tune Partner Marketing and Messaging Based on Purchase Habits

 In Analytics and Insights

We’re marketers, so we target everything…except when and how we communicate to channel partners.  In effect, we seem to think one size fits all.  The reality is that we should fine tune partner marketing and messaging based on purchase habits.  After all, one size does not fit all.

Sometimes, if we’re thinking about how to communicate to channel partners, we do very simple segmentation.  We also carve up our partner base by type of certification or “metal” we’ve assigned them as a badge like the tired and rote Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze levels.  At other times, we segment by training level for technology specialization, like Wireless, Security, or IP telephony.  In addition, we might even categorize our Partners by what “type” of partner they are, such as reseller, ISV, alliance, or distributor.

If we take time and move to the next step, we target our message to each type of channel partner.  Our partners employ a wide array of different skill sets.  Meanwhile, each function at each partner has a different interest in your products, company, and technology.  Additionally, each person requires different types of information to do the job, be it selling or servicing your solutions.

It all gives rise to the question: is there a better way to segment and fine tune partner marketing and messaging? To identify our best or most-promising partners?

The most overlooked area of segmentation is based on behavior.

You can learn a lot from a simple analysis of sales history.  Grab some data from your CRM to answer questions about partners’ purchase habits.  For example, what are…

  • Consistent purchases every month?  Same products, same end users, same quantity?
  • Ability to sell your newer, emerging products?
  • Opportunistic purchases at random times?  Could your Partners be selling your competitor’s products more often than your Products?
  • Seasonal purchases? Government or education buying season?  End of quarter and always need special pricing?

So, now that you’re armed with knowing partner purchase habits, you can fine-tune your message in new ways.

Take a look at how this might work when launching a new network security appliance.

Knowledge of buying habits enables us to target large, security-trained partners, those Security Super VARs. 

You further fine-tune your partner messages based on purchasing habits – to target your message to ONLY THOSE who have demonstrated loyalty. This means partners with a high purchase frequency and consistency.

There are obviously lots of way to define purchase consistency.  Play around with different definitions.  For example, among Security Super VARs, who are the top performers in the last 4 quarters or the last 8 quarters?  Are they the same companies?  If so, they are consistent buyers.

Fine Tune Partner Marketing and Messaging Based on Purchase Habits To Build Satisfaction, Loyalty, and Sales

The last step is to then tailor marketing and messages to each audience important in the buying decision- sales, marketing and technical.

Finally, characterizing partners by purchase history enables you to keep sensitive new product launch information out of the hands of “opportunistic” partners– those who only sell your solutions as a last resort and are more loyal to your competitor.

Target your partners using purchasing behavior builds greater satisfaction among your most loyal partners and ultimately more revenue in your pocket.

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