How to Maximize Your Marketing Development Dollars

How to Maximize Your Marketing Development Dollars

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: 3 Ways You Can Control the Conversation

5 Things Your Partners Wish You Knew

So you’ve invested in a marketing development fund (MDF) program. That’s smart. It makes good sense to help local resellers, distributors and MSPs market your product and build local brand awareness. But are you getting the biggest return on your MDF dollars? We went straight to the source and gathered the top five suggestions sure to optimize your MDF program return.

1. Make Your Program Structure Easy

People are busy, and time is precious. If you want partners to do business with you, make it easy. Step back, and evaluate your program from the standpoint of the end user.

“73% of partners say vendor channel programs are too complex.”

-360Insights 2112 Group: Ease of Doing Business Report, 2019

For example, complicated co-branding rules pose a common barrier for partners. Most vendors require MDF assets meet a long laundry list of marketing regulations. (Have you ever had to sift through a 50-page branding guideline looking for the right logo, the right logo placement and the right corresponding legal for your particular asset? It’s not easy.) Think about how you can make the process easier for partners while maintaining your brand consistency. Could you allow partners to focus less on your branding and more on theirs? After all, their success is your success.

2. Distribute More Dollars to Fewer Partners

Are you providing your partners with enough money to make a significant impact? Some vendors make the mistake of spreading out marketing dollars too thin. Could it be worth allocating more money to fewer partners?

Which brings us to another key question: Do you know what your ideal partner looks like? If you don’t have a partner profile, create one. Think about the characteristics of your best channel partners and build your profile from there. Work to attract and retain the kinds of partners with which you tend to form the most productive, lasting relationships.

3. Offer a Diverse Range of Options

Does your list of approved assets include a variety of materials from print to digital? For example, some partners simply don’t have the experience or the tools to utilize digital marketing assets. They may require printed one-sheets or PowerPoint presentations. Ultimately, you want to meet your partners where they are: Give them the kinds of materials they need to be successful.

“60% of market development funds (MDF) go unused.”

-Zinfi, Worldwide Channel Survey

4. Track Metrics

If you don’t already know, clearly define what success looks like for each asset and follow up. Only then can you see what’s really working and what’s falling short.

  • Give each marketing asset a measurable goal, like number of leads.
  • Track the goal, or number of leads, within a specific period of time.
  • Find out the close ratio for each asset. Reassess what isn’t giving you the return you want.

5. Show Your Partners You’re Vested in Their Success

Most partners’ experience with marketing is limited. They are comfortable making phone calls and walking through product demos. They don’t feel comfortable in the social media and digital marketing realm. Consider a pre-approved vendor who can provide marketing concierge services. Also think about channel marketing automation platforms. These tools are user-friendly and make it easy to download, co-brand, customize and execute.

Marketopia Can Help

When it comes to marketing, most partners think short-term and lack dedicated resources. And let’s face it: Effective marketing demands time and effort. Marketopia is a marketing and lead generation company specializing in the tech space. We’re experienced working with enterprises, vendors and partners, and we can help provide a wide range of support from custom content to paid and organic search services, and more. Contact us today to learn more.

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Recalculating Your Route to More Leads

Recalculating Your Route to More Leads

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: 3 Ways You Can Control the Conversation
The roads we once took to succeed in the professional world are fundamentally different from when this year began. It’s still possible to find success in your pursuit of new leads – but you need to rethink how you reach out to them. Get the tips and tricks you need from this article. We’ll show you how to change lanes on your journey toward building new professional relationships through better lead generation tactics.

Remember What Worked

If you want to get ahead of your competitors, it’s paramount that you formulate an outreach plan. To begin, consider the tactics you used in the past. Ask yourself, why did they work? How could they have been better? When reconsidering your approach, it’s good to perform an audit on your tactics and use hard statistics to determine what could work again. After all, they were successful for a reason. You were able to gain new partners’ interests and build professional relationships because these efforts resonated with your target.

Form a Community of Success

It’s no secret that when your business partners do well, you will too. When you can assist your clients in their new business successes, they will reach out to work with you again. This mutually beneficial system is known as through-partner enablement. Some ways you can use this tactic to your advantage include:

  • Sharing industry tricks with your partners via a newsletter, so they win in their own channel
  • Creating a sales marketing program with sell sheets and other collateral to showcase the benefits of your products
  • Teaching your partners to fish for their own new leads through comprehensive trainings

Start your through-partner enablement with the businesses you know. They already see the value you provide as a vendor and will listen to what you have to say. When you can build a trusting relationship, you will successfully elevate your marketing results through partner recruitment into 2021.

Outreach Growth Initiatives

Pursuing net new partners may now seem daunting. It feels like everyone is in damage control, looking to maintain stability rather than grow. But the truth is, these leads aren’t gone – the route you used to take to find them has changed. Here are four turn-by-turn directions to keep in mind when reaching out to new leads:

  1. Nothing beats a good phone call when in-person conversations aren’t an option
  2. Make attractive offerings that help your clients meet their goals via through-partner enablement
  3. Host, or participate in virtual events that replicate the shows that aren’t happening
  4. Differentiate yourself by selling your value as a partner along with your products

Sales and effective marketing are the keys to successful outreach initiatives. There are so many similar offerings in the market right now – it’s almost a case of mass parody. Enhance your prospect’s interest level when you make your brand, and its products appear unique and valuable.

Empower Your Sales Rep

Business leaders must accept that social distancing has made many sales reps lax in their pursuits. When they aren’t on the road, at conferences or in the hotel bar making connections, it’s easy for these masters of the deal to fall off their sales A-game. The key to building a free-flowing sales pipeline is encouraging your sales team to be at their best, so they’ll convert appointments into sales. Reinforce the fact that there is, in fact, a real person on the other end of a video call. Prospects should be treated with even more charm and persona than on the show floor to make up for the virtual disconnect. Now, more than ever, perception is reality. If you look and sound impressive to a prospect, that’s how they’ll see you.

How Marketopia Can Help

Once you accept that the world has changed, you can start planning for your wins in 2021. Marketopia’s expert team has the knowledge and resources to help you every step of the way. Contact us today, and discover how we can help you achieve more leads, more sales and more profits.

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Word-of-Mouth Marketing: 3 Ways You Can Control the Conversation

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: 3 Ways You Can Control the Conversation

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: 3 Ways You Can Control the Conversation
We’ve all participated in word-of-mouth marketing, also known as WOMM. (How many times has a friend said, “You have to watch that new series on Netflix”?) Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the oldest and most effective forms of marketing. People naturally want to share their good, and bad, experiences. And ultimately, people are more likely to follow recommendations when they come from a friend or family member.

“92 percent of consumers around the world trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.”Nielson

Look Who’s Talking

In general, there are two forms of WOMM. One happens organically, often referred to as traditional WOMM. Like the example above, it takes place through natural conversation. The second form of WOMM is often referred to as modern and is actively initiated through a planned, strategic marketing effort. (Interestingly, the modern form of WOMM can often generate traditional WOMM.) Here, we’ll be exploring modern methods of WOMM and how each can help you manage the conversation.

1. Build trust

One way to optimize WOMM is simple but not necessarily easy: Do your very best. Each and every day, give your customers a reason to recommend you.

  • Offer value. Whatever product or service you offer, make it valuable.
  • Market yourself as a thought leader. Master the ins and outs of your industry, and share your knowledge.
  • Provide exceptional customer service. Commit to understanding and improving the customer experience.

2. Build your brand

Building your brand can also build trust. Did you know people tend to trust brands that look and feel professional? In an instant, consumers are determining your value based on your brand.

  • Visual appearance. Do your marketing materials look like the work of your twelve-year-old nephew? A professional logo, color palette and design affect your perceived value.
  • Be consistent. Any material with your company name on it should speak your brand, both from a graphic and a content perspective. That includes everything from your website, emails and landing pages to printed collateral and business cards.
  • Communicate your brand. If you don’t have them already, get your company values and mission statement in writing. Then translate them into everything you do.

“Whether you are B2B or B2C, between 50 and 91 percent of all purchases are influenced by word-of-mouth in some way.”Forbes

3. Participate on social media

You don’t need a multi-million-dollar advertising budget to reach millions of people. But you do need a strategy.

  • Know your target market. Who is your audience, and where do they tend to congregate online? What content do they respond to? Do they prefer formal or more casual messaging? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, find out.
  • Build your community. The more engaged your customers, the more likely they are to talk about you.
  • Reach out to influencers. Identify the trendsetters in your industry, and strike up a conversation.
  • Don’t forget your staff. People who feel appreciated and part of the team can be your fiercest supporters.

And finally, don’t miss an opportunity to capitalize on a positive review. Proudly reserve a spot on your website for glowing customer testimonials.

How Marketopia Can Help

If you’re looking for innovative ways to generate leads, you’ve come to the right place. Our content creation team can collaborate with you to ensure your social posts are optimized and on point. From our content, design and digital teams to our appointment setters and sales team, you’ll have a whole agency behind your company when you work with Marketopia. Contact us today to learn more.

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How to Generate Quality Leads with Lunch and Learns

How to Generate Quality Leads with Lunch and Learns

8 Keys to Successful Networking Events

Today’s decision-makers are bombarded with emails and text ads from local MSPs and global vendors everywhere they turn. Tech companies looking to grow their business can’t rely on digital marketing alone. So how do you generate quality leads in a crowded marketplace? One of the most cost-effective ways to garner new leads is with Lunch and Learns, or networking events.

1. Cast a wide net.

  • Market your event to your clients. Your biggest fans will most likely be an easy sell. (They may even volunteer to give you a nice testimonial at the event.) Networking with clients is a smart retention move. You can reinforce the value of your relationship and position yourself for a cross-sell/up-sell opportunity at the same time.
  • It’s the prospects, out there on the fence, who you need to work to attract. More on that later.
  • Target all levels of leadership. You never know where you might find your next lead.

“Within the first seven seconds of meeting, people will have a solid impression of who you are — and some research suggests a tenth of a second is all it takes to start determining traits like trustworthiness.”  –Forbes.com

2. Go big, or go home.

When it comes to planning your next event, think “big picture.” Every last detail (the venue, the food, the email invite) sends a message. The choices you make communicate to your customers and your prospects what you think of your business and what you think of them. Everything, from your initial introduction to your marketing collateral, should be professional and on brand. Lastly, send your guests home with high-value swag. A Yeti mug, with your company logo, will stand the test of time and earn a coveted space on someone’s desk.

The choices you make communicate to your customers and your prospects what you think of your business and what you think of them.

3. Choose an inclusive, high-value venue.

The right venue can entice the most challenging of leads. As mentioned earlier, your fan base will most likely accept your invitation with little hesitation. You’ll need to work harder to lure in the others. Imagine a local professional in the market for IT support services. He may not agree to sit down with you for an hour to listen to your sales pitch. But, he might be tempted to join your event at a Major League baseball game or a posh steakhouse. (Note: If you’re feeling a little sticker shock, consider this: Networking is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow your business.) And, if you’re looking to cut costs, think about working with a vendor to support your event.

If you’re looking to cut costs, think about working with a vendor to support your event.

4. Hosting virtual events

There will be times when being physically together isn’t possible. Bad weather and simple geography can leave you with no other option but a virtual event. Online events present their own set of challenges, but when done well, they can be successful.

  • Make it easy. Be sure to use a user-friendly, well-known business communication platform like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Stay away from products not universally known. You want to make the entire experience easy and stress-free. As with any marketing effort, limit every potential obstacle you can.
  • Class it up. Just because you can’t meet at a high-end restaurant doesn’t mean you can’t send participants an electronic gift card. Once people enter your event, email them an Uber Eats or DoorDash gift card so your guests can order food. Everyone can enjoy a nice lunch delivered to their office around the same time.
  • Don’t multi-task. Don’t make the mistake of trying to host a hybrid onsite and online event. Choose one or the other, so you can devote your undivided attention to your guests.

Networking is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow your business.

5. How, and when, to effectively measure ROI

Calculating the ROI is fairly straightforward – revenue compared to cost. In this instance, the primary goal of your event is to generate leads. That’s our measurable objective.

Take the total cost of your event and divide by the number of leads generated. That gives you your total cost per lead. Compare that number to your ROI on other marketing efforts. (Networking events prove to be cost effective tools to generate leads in comparison to other marketing efforts.) That’s welcome news when the average lead in the IT space could cost you over $1k. And finally, networking is a long-term investment. Give your event time to work. Wait 90 days before you measure your progress.

Networking is a long-term investment. Give your event time to work. Wait 90 days before you measure your progress.

6. Set the right agenda.

  • Do give a high-level overview of all the products and services you offer. Even if your event is centered around VoIP, don’t neglect to mention you offer cloud services. You never know who is listening and what they may need now or sometime in the near future.
  • Don’t make this about a sales pitch. Yes. Your event should have a sales component, but your primary objective here isn’t to sell. The time to sell will come later. If you’re sharing the event with a vendor, prep them before time on your preferred tone and message.
  • Do allow for breathing room. Realize people will converse and conversations will evolve. Be sure to incorporate free time in the first few minutes for people to arrive and make introductions.
  • Don’t get too technical. Remember, among your guests may be an engineer. But don’t forget the business people who aren’t tech-savvy. Speak to business value so your message resonates with everyone in the room.

The average lead in the IT space averages about $1k.

 7. Don’t forget about marketing.

  • Announce your event and generate excitement through company newsletters, social media, email and telemarketing campaigns.
  • Send a thank you follow-up email.
  • Call each participant following your event. Thank guests for attending, and ask if they would like more information about your product and service offerings.

8. Keep your eyes on the prize.

  • Don’t be short-sighted. Remember, networking isn’t a sprint. It’s a long-term investment.
  • Do make it a habit. Commit yourself to a regular cadence of events, say one per month. Regular events can not only keep your business top of mind, but they can also establish you as an industry thought leader.
  • Don’t lose sight of your objective. Your goal with this event is to produce a lead. Leave the details and the hard sell for later.

Interested in how to generate quality leads? Marketopia can help.

If you have a tech company to grow, Marketopia has the marketing and lead gen tools to make it happen. We’re in the business of more leads, more sales and more profit for everyone in the IT channel. So, whether you’re looking for support for your TSP marketing, channel marketing or lead generation for IT industry customers and partners, Marketopia is here to help.

  • Tools to run your own event
  • Professional collateral
  • IT industry specific
  • Sales and marketing focused

Interested in how to generate quality leads? Contact us today, and let’s get started

Sources

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Recruit New Partners in the Era of No Events

Recruit New Partners in the Era of No Events

From conferences to concerts, sporting events and more, large gatherings of people have been put on hold for the foreseeable future. According to Forbes, more than 83 million attendees have been forced to change their plans because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It’s no secret that conferences are the bread and butter of making connections, forming partnerships and expanding your organization’s market share. Without the ability to have these face-to-face interactions, many professionals feel like there is no opportunity to gain new business and expand their organization’s brand. However, it’s not the end of the world. The partners are still out there – but you must change the tactics you use to reach them.

Here are five areas to consider for recruiting net new partners when in-person events are not an option.

Chat with us today and discover how it’s done.

Virtual Events

Nearly all internal meetings take place virtually nowadays; why not hold an entire conference the same way? These events are much easier to put on from a logistics, planning and marketing standpoint. You can have greater attendance by people and speakers from around the world since travel is not a factor.

Unfortunately, the market for virtual events has become oversaturated. But don’t allow this to be a deterrent. You need to be creative and offer a different kind of experience with information that people want to consume so you can attract the partners you want. The key is to create a fun and engaging atmosphere. People are already living in dull video calls. Break up this monotony by introducing captivating keynote speakers, software, videos and gamification into your presentation to keep them hooked. It helps if the topics of these items are timely.

It’s also essential that you encourage your audience to watch the event live and not recorded. It cannot be overstated how much more effective lead generation is when an audience is watching live. Plus, attendees can interact in Q&A sessions, making them more likely to stay tuned in and deeply engaged for the entire event.

When it’s all said and done, you now have a library of content that you can break up and repackage as value-added marketing collateral in the form of videos, blogs and other media. These will help you attract new partnerships long after the virtual event ends.

Stronger Together: Partnerships

You don’t have to hold these virtual events on your own. One tactic that’s winning for many businesses right now is sharing the stage with other business personalities at these virtual events. This “better together” approach empowers both of you to grow each other’s database of leads. The key here is to have a large attendee list. It helps add greater value because you both can attract more viable leads that you may not have reached before on your own with your combined wealth of knowledge.

Partnering with vendors helps you explain product knowledge and sell the ease of use for your solution offerings. They help you with lead generation and marketing tools so you can close more deals in the virtual space.

Social Power

For sales reps who are used to being road warriors at different events, the battle is not over – it’s taking place elsewhere. Social media is a sales rep’s best tool for reaching people when face-to-face interactions are limited. Reps must take their personal brand from the show floor and use it to prospect on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit and others to pursue new leads.

They will become an active member of these communities by engaging in discussions, commenting on other peoples’ posts and participating in their events, perhaps even as a guest speaker.

Social media is also an excellent tool for holding small to medium virtual events. For example, you can host a LinkedIn Live event with value-added information in your presentation. These gatherings can be even more effective because they’re more intimate and provide more opportunities for one-on-one discussions with those in attendance.

Revisit & Reinvigorate Relationships

Don’t forget about the clients you already have. Customer relationship management is the most crucial factor here. To start, make a targeted list of partners with whom you want to increase business. Once established, start devoting more time and resources towards sparking new deals with them.

They already know your value, it’s a perfect opportunity to offer them more. Send them resources and useful information about what they need to survive in difficult times and feature solutions you can provide at a discounted rate.

You can also reach out to organizations in your contacts that never quite became a client. Revisit your data, check attendance to past events and your own virtual events and see who was there but did not convert. Have your sales rep engage with them and see if there’s a solution you can offer that will be your in.

Marketing Always Matters

At the end of the day, the tactics all businesses use to attract the prospects they want remains constant. Keep up with the marketing efforts that have always informed the world of your value. Important areas to keep up on include:

  • General advertising
  • Telemarketing
  • Email campaigns
  • Public relations
  • Optimizing content for SEO

The audience you want to reach is still out there, you just need to get creative in all these areas to increase your success rate.

How Marketopia Can Help

Between hosting and joining virtual events with vendor partners, offering comprehensive training sessions, engaging social and reaching out to close a deal, the entire team at Marketopia knows how to get it done. Don’t wait for the normal to return; we can help you take advantage of the opportunities in front of you right now so you can build even greater success. Contact us today to get started.

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