10 Do’s and Don’ts of Partner Marketing Programs

I’ve been on both sides of the table, both as the vendor putting together partner marketing initiatives and as the reseller making use of the marketing resources a partner company has made available. It is interesting that once you’ve been on the consuming side of things you get a different perspective. I have worked with partner marketing programs from some big companies like IBM, SAP, Sage, and smaller ones like Adaptive Planning and Avalara and based on this experience I would like to share with you what I think are the 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Partner Marketing Programs.

What To Do

1. Provide an explanation, or introduction to your partner marketing program as soon as you have a new partner signed up including what resources are available

2. Understand what your partners do, how they sell and how they will re-sell your solution

3. Be proactive and reach out to your partners to get feedback and to provide help in planning campaigns

4. Help your partners with tips on best practices for list segmentation (who’s a good target based on your experience) for your solution

5. Have a plan for reaching out on a quarterly basis to your partners and ask how you can help them promote your products

6. Keep your partners updated on changes to the program especially as new materials become available

7. Give your partners access to collateral materials, training videos, webinar recordings, and other marketing assets as early as possible in the program and reach out to them to make sure they were able to access the materials or if they have questions

8. Follow up with your partners after campaigns and ask how they did and what you can do to help next time

9. Provide your partners with content snippets about your company and solutions that they can use on their websites and social channels

10. Ensure your partners are using your content correctly and following your brand guidelines


What Not To Do

1. Don’t assume your partners will be as fluent as you are in what your solution does, training may be required especially for the marketing folks (so that they understand how to better market and sell or re-sell the solution)

2. Don’t assume you are the partner’s priority, it is very likely that you are only one vendor among several that the partner deals with

3. Don’t keep the partner in the dark, make them one of the first to hear about new product releases and other important information

4. Don’t assume the marketing folks at the partner company are as savvy as you or your team is

5. Don’t forget that partner marketing materials are important to help sell your product, therefore they need to be updated as frequently as your direct channel materials

6. Don’t make your partner co-op programs too confusing or restrictive, after all, you want your partners to keep doing programs to promote your solutions

7. Don’t expect your partners to be social-media savvy or to understand how to use social channels, you may have to give them training or provide materials they can easily use on social media

8. Don’t wait for your partner to reach out to you with questions or to plan a campaign, make sure to routinely talk to your partners

9. Don’t let your partner marketing collateral and resources go stale, keep them fresh and your partners are more likely to pay attention to them

10. Don’t take your partner for granted


There is more to it than these simple ‘rules’, but it seems that these are the core of what makes or breaks a decent partner marketing initiative. What are YOUR ideas for putting together a good partner marketing program?


2 Responses to 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Partner Marketing Programs

  1. Great article, perfect for channel partnerships and affiliate partnerships. Think as a small business you have to put the list together in order of priority and work out what you can make achievable.

    As it grows, get as close to partners as possible and get feedback and what they feel they need and what other partners are doing that is helping them push their offering.

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