It’s in the DNA: How NaviStone is Scaling Partner Enablement
This article is part of a compelling series that will give you practical tips on how to grow a successful partner program. By leveraging the advice of the greatest minds in partnerships, you will learn how to effectively create, structure, and build a partner program that scales revenue. If you are a startup or SMB in the B2B tech industry, this series is for you.
For this article, we had the pleasure of interviewing Richard Israel, the Vice President of Channels at NaviStone, a leading MarTech company that allows marketing agencies to effectively remarket to their unknown site visitors at the precise moment they demonstrate intent to transact. .
With NaviStone, marketing agencies can breakthrough the digital clutter, reduce overall cost to acquire new customers and maximize the investment they have made to drive site traffic.. Richard's role at NaviStone is to develop and execute channel strategy and partnerships to expand the company's indirect market reach and revenue growth.
Read the following interview to discover and take advantage of the advice about partner enablement coming from Richard himself.
Choose and Enable the Right Partners
Building strong partnerships is a critical component of any successful business strategy. NaviStone recognizes that selecting and enabling the right partners is essential to drive growth and achieve their goals. By partnering with like-minded companies, they can expand their market reach and provide their customers with a wider range of valuable solutions and services.
Richard says that one of the keys to successful marketing is aligning with partners who understand marketing. This is why it is essential to work with partners who have marketing DNA.
When you're selling a marketing service, it's much easier to sell through partners that understand the marketing landscape. If they have marketing DNA, they will be more likely to successfully sell your service to their clients.
To use Richard’s own words:
‘When we got together as a team back at the beginning of last year and we're looking at what type of partners made the most sense for us to pursue, it came down to partner types that had marketing DNA Trying to sell a a marketing service, if you don't have marketing DNA, well that’s like asking a plumber to fix your roof..”
Investing in the Partners that are Invested in You
In partnerships, it's important to invest in partners who are invested in you. When you find partners who believe in your service and are willing to promote it, it can lead to tremendous success. These partners will not only help you sell your service, but will also become advocates for your brand.
According to Richard, the success of a company's marketing service is largely dependent on the partners they work with. When you invest in partners that are invested in you, you build strong relationships that can last for years. This is why it's essential to choose partners who are enthusiastic about your service and willing to work with you to achieve your goals.
As Richard says:
“And the proof was in the pudding for us because as we went to market we were very well received by numerous digital marketing agencies. They were raising their hand and saying, “hey, this sounds great. Count me in. We'd like to use your platform for our clients and become one of your early adopters of this new technology.”
Create Frictionless Content
According to Richard, creating frictionless content in partner enablement is critical for success. Frictionless content refers to content that is accessible, easy to understand, and relevant to partners. It should be designed to provide partners with the information they need to sell and promote your service - importantly in their environment (not yours).
Scale Your Enablement with Quality Content
To scale your partnership enablement efforts, it's essential to create quality content that is both easily accessible and relevant to your partners. This means not only providing your partners with the right tools and resources, but also ensuring that the content is up-to-date, engaging, and effective.
To create quality content, try to understand the needs and challenges of your partners. This can be achieved through regular communication and feedback. By understanding your partners' needs, you can create content that resonates with them and helps them achieve their goals.
“Well, when you talk about a platform, what the platform does is it removes the friction. And having frictionless content is critical to the success of any enablement program. If you throw everything up in a word doc and stick it up online okay, where do I start? What part of the word doc do I go to get this or that? Right? I mean, you can't scale enablement that way. It's not practical.”
Using a PRM
Having a PRM software is crucial for creating frictionless content in partner enablement. A PRM system provides a central hub where partners can access relevant resources and information to promote and sell a service. This includes training materials, sales enablement resources, and marketing collateral. Partners can easily log in to the PRM system and find the resources they need to succeed.
The PRM system also allows businesses to track partner engagement and performance. This helps businesses identify which partners are actively engaged and which ones may need additional support or resources.
Additionally, a PRM system can automate many of the manual processes involved in partner enablement, freeing up time for businesses to focus on creating high-quality content and engaging with partners on a more personal level.
“I've seen far too many channel programs not understand the importance of creating frictionless content, within a frictionless delivery system, if you will, and certainly having a PRM solves for that in a very scalable way.”
The Importance of Education
In the context of partnerships, education builds strong relationships. Partnerships require alignment and trust, which can be established through education on the product, market, and target customer. By providing partners with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively promote and sell products and services, businesses can ensure that they are aligned with the company's goals and messaging.
This can lead to increased trust, deeper relationships, and stronger partnerships. Education can be delivered through various channels, including training sessions, webinars, and online resources. Prioritizing education in partnership enablement can ultimately lead to better outcomes and success for both parties involved.
“Today, buyers buy differently than they did 10years ago. They don't want to be sold to, but they're more than willing to be educated too.”
Partner Driven Education
Partner-driven education is a powerful tool for enabling sales and building strong partnerships. By empowering partners to educate their clients and prospects, businesses can expand their reach and establish themselves as thought leaders in the industry.
This type of education can take many forms, from live events and webinars to online resources and training programs. What's essential is that the education is driven by partners themselves, who are experts in the company's products and services and understand the needs of their clients.
Partner-driven education builds trust and credibility with clients and prospects. When partners are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to educate, they can provide valuable insights and solutions that directly address their clients' needs. This leads directly to increased revenues and ultimately stronger partnerships.
To make partner-driven education a success, Companies must invest in their partners and provide them with the resources they need to educate effectively. This includes training programs, access to educational resources, and ongoing support and communication to keep partners informed and aligned with the company's goals.
“In a previous time, I was fortunate to lead a massive education effort (since copied by Google) where elite partners educated tens of thousands of businesses and in one year educated well over 175,000. This was done in combination with mostly live events and some webinars, and importantly driven primarily by partners. That’s the holy grail of sales enablement - when your partners are evangelizing education.”
Measure Your Enablement strategy
When it comes to measuring the success of a partnership enablement strategy, revenue is undoubtedly important. However, it's essential to go beyond just looking at revenue numbers and dig deeper to understand the factors driving that success.
What are the commonalities among the top-performing partners? Is it their use of enablement tools, their sales skills, or their use of your content? By peeling back the layers and analyzing these factors, you can identify your Ideal Partner Profile and use it to accelerate your partner growth. So, while revenue is an important metric, it's crucial to take a holistic approach to measuring your enablement program's effectiveness to ensure long-term success.
“Well, look, at the end of the day, the most important metric or KPI is going to be revenue, right? Revenue trumps everything else. Yeah, but when you peel the onion back and you start to look at what's the common ground? What are the success metrics that we can point to that these top producers are achieving? Is it their use of our content or theirs? Is it because they're better at selling than the average partner? What makes them better? Do they bundle their services really well? What other enablement tools in their pitch do they leverage? So yeah, I think you start with revenue, but you have to dig in much deeper than that.”
Key Takeaways: Richard's Advice for Enabling Partners
Have a Unique Offering
Creating a unique offering is essential to stand out in a crowded market. By identifying and focusing on a specific niche, companies can differentiate themselves and attract the right partners and customers.
“So what is it that you can do that can take those, whether it's certain types of content or other types of tools that you can take, and leverage your unique value prop that your company has and flip that into a unique sales enablement offering? That's going to drive mindshare, and that's going to drive success with the partner unlike anything else.”
Understand Your Partners
To effectively enable your partners, it is essential to understand your Ideal Partner Profile (ICP) and the characteristics of your partners. This will help you tailor your enablement program to meet their specific needs and ensure that you are supporting their success in a meaningful way.
“So yeah, I think you start with revenue, but you have to understand what that ideal partner looks like and replicate the best success metrics to accelerate your partner growth.”
Balance Human Touch and Automation
While automation can be a useful tool in partner enablement, it's important not to rely on it exclusively. Building personal relationships with partners and understanding their unique needs and challenges is essential for effective enablement. Balancing automation with human touch can create a more effective and valuable enablement program.
“I think that you need to rely more on automations and automations that run through sales enablement as well. So you have to be a little bit more dependent on using your PRM platform to deliver that. And yet, as you mentioned - one on one (personal) time is still critical to balance it all out.”
Make it Happen for You: How to Grow Your Partner Program like NaviStone
If you want to grow a partner program like NaviStone, it is essential that you have the proper tools to structure, automate, and scale your program.
A Partner Relation Management (PRM) platform allows you to:
- Organize your program with tiers
- Coordinate training, onboarding, and certification processes
- Trace leads
- Build a knowledge base to provide instant answers
- Collaborate with partners on a shared pipeline
- Get full visibility over partner activity
- Measure partner performance
- Track commission and payouts