Contrary to the saying, one size does not fit all when it comes to partner marketing programs with MSPs. The “traditional” ways of simply co-marketing and providing content or prepackaged programs on a portal will no longer suffice. These days, MSP partner marketing efforts need to be one part detailed planning, and one part create-on-the-go. Yes, every MSP is concerned about their brand, and driving leads, it’s more important than ever that our vendors take a leading role to support those efforts. Ultimately, how well a vendor does this will be a significant differentiator for them in the market.

So, what do MSPs care about? Inherently, they are concerned about building their brand and generating demand for it. They need access to subject matter expertise and industry research. They need various types of thought-provoking content. They also will need to develop skills they might not have in-house. And guess what? They will look to their vendors for help with all of the above. So here are some of the best practices of partner marketing programs for MSPs:

Building their Brand

MSPs are very concerned about building their brand. But a brand for them is less about a logo and more about the swagger and reputation they have in a highly vertical and specialized market and specific solution segments. MSPs build their brand by providing subject matter expertise and compelling content and solutions for real business problems to their customers and prospects. The more value an MSP can bring to a specific market that honest their customer value proposition and aligns the MSP with thought leadership – the better for the MSP’s business.

Content, Content, Content

MSPs need help to produce the hard-hitting content they need to make an impact in their market and they will look to their vendors for help with this. Vendors need to dig into their arsenal of content and package it for an MSP to easily consume and customize for use. Gone are the days when vendors could post collateral on a portal and expect partners to go find it and use it. Vendors need to do the heavy lifting; make it easy for the MSP to benefit from the content and help the MSP integrate value propositions to really differentiate that MSP in the market. Everything a vendor produces is potential content for an MSP. Take, for example:

  • Whitepapers– Any thought leadership topic written by the vendor or even co-authored with the MSP is great for the MSP to co-brand and use in sales and marketing campaigns
  • Blog Posts– MSPs need this crisp, topical content to engage their audience. Having the vendor provide some of this for them to use, or to guest blog for the MSP drives engagement and adds credibility to the MSP.
  • Social Media– As part of a larger campaign, to bolster a vendor’s message, or to comment on a larger topic, packaged (or even syndicated) social media content is an excellent way to support the MSP.
  • Webinars– Any topic of significant market interest would be good for an MSP to repurpose. Success stories and co-delivered webinars are a great way to integrate into an MSP’s larger marketing campaign.
  • Web Content –Syndication of web content is usually the preferred method to provide web content to MSPs, but a page template with content also works.
  • Marketing Campaigns– Any successful 360°campaign done by the vendor would work repackaged for the MSP.

Lead Generation

MSPs will require the vendor to help in this area. The preferred method would be for the vendor to find the lead, nurture the lead, and then turn over a warm, qualified prospect to the MSP. That’s not always possible, but nonetheless, the MSP will look to the vendor to provide some form of lead generation assistance. Skipping this step or not prioritizing this arena with MSPs can often spell disaster for a partner/vendor relationship. Creative demand generation programs that the MSP can deploy through a vendor are also a very good option to help MSPs identify new opportunities. This lead generation responsibility is shared between partner and vendor – and the more vendors can do to support MSPs here – the more likely an MSP is to be loyal to that vendor.

Empowerment and Education Services

MSPs will not have the same depth of marketing and business expertise that vendors have. That is why empowerment and educational services offered by the vendor are highly valued by the MSP.  Continuously improving the sales team’s performance in the MSP is a top priority according to several recent channel studies. Providing the content or passing a lead is one thing, but if the MSP doesn’t know what to do with it, then all is lost.Providing sales training like a social media or cold call bootcamp, demonstration skills workshop, or deploying effective sales strategies can set a vendor apart and gain the trust of MSPs as a true partner, not just a vendor.

Concierge Services

Full-service marketing services are a win for MSPs. Along the same lines of vendor-led lead generation, making marketing easy, and having a full-service marketing company to assist MSPs, will make a vendor’s program all that more attractive. Having one or two marketing concierge services for MSPs to use, and rolling that into an MDF program, makes it much more likely that MSPs would develop plans and execute programs on their own – that have a high likelihood to produce a return.

Vendor programs play a big role in the marketing prowess of their MSP partners. It is important to have different initiatives within a vendor’s marketing offers so there are elements that every MSP would value. However, don’t be afraid to try something new or outside the box. Allowing partner marketing programs to evolve over time with new pilot programs and ideas from the MSPs and industry experts can lead to the best innovations that prove an ROI.

Ready to take your partner programs to the next level? Contact the AchieveUnite team today.