Theresa Caragol, Founder and CEO of Achiveunite, recently had a conversation with Robert Levin, Chief SMB Officer of RSL Media, about to and through SMB partner marketing during this time of COVID-19.

Listen to their conversation HERE.

Read the transcript of their conversation:

Hello, my name is Teresa Caragol, and I’m the CEO of AchieveUnite. I’m here with my friend Robert. Welcome, Robert. Glad we can get together today.

Thanks, Theresa. Thanks for having me.

To start us off, tell us a little bit about you.

Sure. I am the CEO and editor in chief of RSL Media, and what we do and have been doing for over 15 years now is we help larger companies, mostly enterprise brands, market and sell to small businesses in the way we do, that is, we align their partner marketing approach and that usually includes a lot of content with the way that as SMBs are buying today.

Great. Well, and you and I have been working on some exciting client engagements together and we are going to talk today about this very unusual environment we’re in the midst of today with COVID-19, and we’re going to talk about how you communicate and market to partners and through and with partners in this unusual environment. So is there anything you want to share initially?

You know, I think the way I look at this, and this is very consistent with our methodology, the way that we think about this is we have to start with the end in mind. We want to think about the end-user customer that you’re trying to get your partner to market and sell through.

And of course, they’re all dealing with it with this crisis, which is which represents a bunch of challenges. It represents a bunch of opportunities. And this is a new space for everybody. So what is everybody looking for? Everybody is looking for best practices. How do I enable my remote workforce? How do I keep up the high level of customer experience? When my workforce is all scattered, all of these types of challenges.

And this could be opportunities, by the way, for a lot of companies. And if you keep that end in mind, to me, it’s all about, well, how do I enable my partner to better communicate with their audience? And it’s really about providing them with the content that ultimately helps their audience navigate the crisis. And, you know, most of your partners out there, most of your partners are looking for content.

They’re looking for something different to communicate with their audience. And then Theresa, then we could talk next about, well, how do you actually then tie that helpful content with selling more products or services through your partner, which we know we can talk about that as well.

You know, one of the things that we’ve learned over the last three weeks is, one, it’s really, really important that we are building our relationships with the partners. And so that we really understand what they feel comfortable with right now, what they want to communicate, what their priorities are. And so whatever we do as vendors and partners of vendors, it’s lined up to where they know they need to be, you know, because some companies are just trying to survive.

In an industry. And so how do we help? You know, I don’t believe right now this is about selling. I believe it’s about helping and making a difference in either individual’s lives or companies’ lives fundamentally. So I think we’ve got to take those things in mind, you know, as we’re having this conversation.

Absolutely, in fact, right now it’s definitely all about helping, but I think the reality is, is that smart marketing and smart selling were really all about helping. Now it’s even much more so.

I absolutely agree. And you know, the concept of there is the way you communicate to and market to a partner who we may be trying to recruit or we may be trying to expand their business or we may be trying to educate them on something new that we’re offering. You know, there’s that bucket of communications. And then there’s the, you know, sell or market and communicate through and with so that we can reach new clients or prospects or solve some clients’ problems with the partners.

And so we probably can separate out to our conversations in those two buckets as we chat today.

Yeah. So let’s say you want to start off with the marketing to partners. Well, let me ask you. You’re the queen of this space, of this partnership space. What are you seeing in terms of brands doing a good job in marketing to partners today?

You know, it’s interesting. I am seeing a few brands doing a fantastic job in the things that they’re doing are one various top-level consistent executive messaging going from the CEO to the partner base, you know, with very concise messaging about what the company is doing, or the stand of the company and how they’re helping both at a macro level and how they’re helping the partners. so that’s one.

The second thing I’m seeing is when a cam or a rep, anybody that’s getting on the phone with those partners, you know, the communication from their senior executives have been about what they can do to make a difference and help in those partners environments.

And some of these companies have already prepared incentives. They prepared giveaways. They prepared market funds. You know, they’ve already built offers that are designed to really help these partners at this time of, you know, sometimes need. Right. And so that’s the second thing.

And then the third thing is there is an opportunity. We are human beings. And by nature, we want to connect. That’s the way our brains are wired and we can’t right now. And so we’re working with a couple of vendors in doing some education programs with their partners to help the people of their partners.

We’re doing some things around leadership.

We’re doing some things around how we vendor and partner sell successfully and more effectively to the clients together than either one of us individually.

We’re doing how we lead virtual teams. So this concept of virtual enablement and education. I’m really excited about it because it’s been a way that we can make a difference as a company with our vendor and partner clients.

That all makes a lot of a lot of sense. And it’s all consistent with what you said earlier about helping. And I think what vendors need to keep in mind is that a lot of cases they’re, the bigger organization, bigger than a lot of their partners. Not always, but often. And, you know, they’re going to have more resources. And those resources, whether it’s content that could be used for the ultimate end customer, whether it’s for the employees or any best practices around how the vendor is handling remote working or remote support, any of those things.

Especially when you’re dealing with a smaller partner are definitely needed and appreciated and will go a long way, not only in terms of helping goodwill, but they just help also with the other objective of how do I enable the partner to communicate my offering in a way that’s going to help their customers through this as well.

Absolutely. So let’s just briefly talk in the last minute or so on partner marketing and through and with and communicating to the clients and how do we help?

And what are your recommendations for best practices for the vendors in that arena?

So, you know, as we started to talk about it’s about providing content to those partners that they can then share with their audience. Because right now, particularly if you have smaller partners, they may not have the time. They may not have the budget or just the wherewithal right now to be preparing that type of content. So if you can give them that type of contact, that best practices content. Also, this is something people don’t think too much about, but if you can share customer stories. Right. I mean, everybody wants to know how everybody else’s is finding a better way to do things.

If you can share those things, make it easy for them to basically copy and paste and share that with their audience. You’re going to be helping your partners. You could be helping your partners customers, and you’re going to be, if you do it the right way, which I’ll explain a second, you’re going to actually also be helping your own bottom to top line and again, providing more products helping the end customer.

The important thing to keep in mind is, again, you need that content, those resources in the beginning to attract the partners’ customers. And you do that by focusing on those outcomes that those people are trying to achieve. Again, maybe it’s the remote workforce or remote customer experience, things like that.

But you also have to produce the content that starts to transition from the idea. The best practice into here’s how our solution may be able to help you. And by the way, let’s not do a white paper. Let’s not do a case study, but let’s do a story about how some of our customers have benefited, how some of them are using our product or service in order to get through the crisis.

I think that’s wonderful feedback and input and, you know, stories and honest conversations and personal interviews, you know, things like that that are real are wonderful right now. So thanks for joining, Robert. I’m glad that we got to talk today and that we can share some input for others and hopefully make a difference.

Thanks to his thanks again for having me. And for you and for everybody else that’s listening, I hope everybody stays safe and sane during this craziness.

Stay safe, stay sane, absolutely.

About Theresa Caragol, Founder and CEO of AchieveUnite

Theresa Caragol talks partner marketing in this time of COVID-19

Theresa Caragol is founder and CEO, AchieveUnite Inc., a strategic consulting and education firm that provides channel, partnering and business acceleration services to global enterprises. AchieveUnite offers partner and channel development, go-to-market strategy, & channel integration, and executive education forums. Ms. Caragol has more than 20 years’ experience in building and managing multi-million-dollar indirect channel teams and strategic alliance programs from inception to sales success. She co-founded an industry Channel Think Tank designed to influence and support the industry’s digital transformation, numerous advisory boards, and was one of 15 women selected for the First Leadership Foundry in Washington, DC – an organization dedicated to mentoring and recruiting women for positions on corporate boards. Click Here to read more about Theresa.

About Robert Levin and RSL Media:

Robert Levin talks with Theresa Caragol about Partner Marketing in the time of COVID-19

Rob Levin is Chief SMB Officer of RSL Media, a company that builds programs for enterprise companies to engage, nurture, and convert SMB buyers. With his media origins, and experience running small and midsize businesses, dozens of companies have turned to Rob and RSL Media to improve their SMB engagement and revenue.

After beginning his career as a CPA for a Big 6 firm, Rob was C-level executive (CEO, COO, CFO) at several businesses ranging from $1-24 million in revenue. Because these companies were all growing fast during the beginning of tech-disruption, he was always looking for better ways to run the business. Fed up with the lame content available for small and midsize businesses, Rob joined the ranks of entrepreneurs and started The New York Enterprise Report (NYER), an RSL Media company, in 2003.

NYER quickly amassed a raving fan audience of business owners and executives who relied on it to help them thrive. A few years after its launch, NYER began to develop custom multi-media programs for brands. These programs produced strong results including widening of the consideration factor and successful new market entrance, improved channel performance and new customer acquisition

In 2014, RSL Media sold NYER and now exclusively focuses on building content-driven audience development programs for brands targeting SMBs.

Click Here to read more about Robert and RSL Media