How Personal Branding Can Uplift Partner Strategies
The following article is written by Cristian Dina, Business Development Representative & SaaS podcast host at Tekpon. Tekpon is a software encyclopedia that provides you with a comprehensive reference to help you choose the right software at the price that works for you. Read on to glean insight from Cristian.
Most people associate the term "personal brand" with Instagram influencers, self-serving gurus, or attention-mongers. But building a personal brand when working in partnerships can help you in more ways than you think, both personally and professionally, and I’m here to help you do just that.
I’m Cristian Dina, Business Development Rep and podcast host at Tekpon, a SaaS marketplace born out of a desire to change the way consumers buy software products and services. On Tekpon, you'll find software for all areas like accounting and eCommerce, but also productivity and security.
We have built a large community of both customers and partners because the core of our mission is to help people. This value is embedded in both the company’s brand and the personal brands of each Tekpon team member. Our team has focused on developing strong voices that build trust with customers—helping the community grow.
In my role as Business Development Rep and podcast host, I’ve managed to leverage both Tekpon and my personal brand to make meaningful connections with audiences around the globe, an important aspect in helping grow the ecosystem.
Read on to find out how you can build a personal brand to help you in your partnerships.
Where it Started & How it’s Going
When I joined the company, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to wear many hats. Our CEO told me I could do a little bit of everything, so I could learn what I liked and specialize in that. So, I started with social media and then moved into influencer marketing. From there, I started researching companies, writing reviews, and posting profiles on our website. All of that has taken me a step closer to where I am today.
I currently host the podcast, a platform for SaaS owners to talk about their journey, their products, and their future plans. We also hope to help budding entrepreneurs find new ideas, partners, and motivation. My main job is to bring in more customers and help them find new solutions, and I really enjoy it.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7Tnb9Uofz60" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>
I usually look for new podcast guests on LinkedIn every week. Then I reach out to them, exchange ideas and invite them to the podcast. It's mutually beneficial because they get a platform to add value to both the listeners and me, and they get exposure.
Succeeding in establishing these kinds of partnerships has been due to the credibility of Tekpon, my presence on LinkedIn, and the value I’m able to deliver right away.
When I invite guests to the podcast, I also offer them a free article with the transcript of the podcast and a reference to them. This initiative creates partnerships because it allows us to express our appreciation for their contributions to our organization.
The Importance of Presence
In today's competitive world, making a good impression is more important than ever. And the best way to do that is to have a strong and memorable personal brand. Unfortunately, many companies underestimate the value of personal branding because they think it's a lot of unnecessary work.
But if you want to access companies that could be great partnerships, you must first build a strong personal brand.
Personal branding is something we take very seriously at Tekpon. We encourage everyone on our team to use LinkedIn and other social media channels to promote their personal brand in order to attract people to partner with them. All of this effort has helped us grow as a company.
How to Build a Personal Brand
Building a personal brand doesn't just happen. It requires precise decisions and specific strategies. Your personal brand should convey who you are in terms of your position in partner marketplaces. Although your personality is an important part of that brand, not every action or point of view is relevant to your personal brand.
If you want to have a strong personal brand, you need to control the narrative you want to share, what you want to be known for, and what audience you want to know about it. Here are a few tips to help you start building your personal brand.
Choose Your Subject Matter
Many people believe they can't ramp up their presence on LinkedIn because they don't know what to say but, actually, choosing subject matter is pretty simple.
You need to choose a topic in which you're an expert and/or one that you're passionate about learning. Thought leadership is about choosing a topic or industry in which you're knowledgeable and producing great content about it.
You don't have to know everything about it yet. It's more important to choose a topic that really interests you and where you can develop your skills.
And remember, the topic should be something that your desired audience is interested in. If your main goal is to build stronger and more numerous relationships with partnership leaders, for example, then your subject matter should be about partnership strategies.
Before you embark on any partnerships or co-marketing initiatives, it's important to have a clear description of a partner who would benefit most from your program and who would be most engaged and effective. There are a few things we look for at Tekpon.
First, we do a background check. We look to see if they have positive reviews and if their customers are happy. That shows us that they're not just in it for the money, but that they're in it for the long haul.
There are people who are focused on money, and that's a big red flag for us because that's not our main goal. We tend to work with people whose primary goal is to help people find software or some other solution that solves people's problems.
Ultimately, it's the ability to act consistently, even when unmotivated, that distinguishes successful people from failed ones. For long-term goals, consistency is more crucial than motivation.
It's easy to forget that inspiration is a fleeting emotion. It fluctuates, and it's not always easy to rely on it. Consistency, on the other hand, is a habit we can develop over time. Even when we lack motivation, we can rely on it. This is important because, over time, consistency can help us achieve our goals.
So, you need to post, engage, and comment consistently. This consistency also works in partnerships. For example, if you meet people you would like to partner with at a conference and they aren’t very keen, posting consistently might steer them in a different direction.
Remember that consistency should also be present in your language. People should be able to recognize your voice because it is uniquely yours.
Lastly, and most importantly, remember that consistency is just as important off of social media as it is on. Once partnerships are established, be sure to be as thorough, authentic, and reliable as possible with your partner. A bad reputation will kill a brand (personal or otherwise) quicker than anything else.
Personal Branding + Partner Marketing
Personal branding has several advantages: it increases your company's sales efforts, attracts additional partners, and gives your organization a competitive edge.
Personal Branding Initiatives Reach More Customers
Personal branding via social media increases trust and credibility, both important factors for getting potential partners and customers. When many of your company's employees engage in personal branding, your company's message can reach many more people because it's filtered through each person's personality.
Personal Branding Increases Sales
Increasing sales is one of the most beneficial outcomes of personal branding efforts. According to LinkedIn, employees who incorporate social media activities into their sales process are 51% more likely to meet sales goals and make more sales than their colleagues who don't use social media.
When you take time for personal branding in partnerships, you give potential customers a "behind the scenes" look. Effective personal branding reveals good aspects of your story and ideals that have a direct impact on the business while expressing your distinctive personality.
How to Leverage Personal Branding in Partner Marketing
Incorporating personal branding as part of your partner marketing strategy may seem intimidating, but you don't have to do it all at once. Instead, plan ahead. The goal of personal branding is to differentiate the person from the company. Here's how to get started:
People trust each other, not companies. Thanks to the steady growth of digital communications, you can also reach a larger audience than ever before and cross regional boundaries.
You can show potential partners who you are and what you stand for by developing your personal brand. This makes people believe that they can trust you and build a relationship with you.
As a thought leader, your voice holds weight when you recommend companies and tools. This can be used to uplift your company or that of your partners. If you’ve built your audience right, it should align directly with your ICP.
Find the Leverage
One of the most important lessons I learned from our CEO is that you always have to have leverage.
Another way to look at it is that you have to provide value. No one is born with an innate understanding of what value is; it’s something you have to figure out. As a business, it's important to understand what your audience values before you can give it to them. And guess what, not all of them value the same things.
As Martin Scholz from PartnerXperience said in his Greatest Minds in Partnerships article:
“If you think about the go-to partner plan, the main question is why heck should they care? Why should they want to become your partner? If I want to partner with your company, what can I offer to you of value, what can I offer that makes it a no-brainer for you to join?"
When looking for a podcast guest, the first email is something very short that says, "We have a community of 136,000 entrepreneurs and we do a weekly podcast for them. Do you want to join us?” And that's it. Because it's leverage, they see that they have an immediate benefit, that they can get attention for free without it costing anything, and that sticks with them. It's something you can offer them as leverage.
Generate Excitement & Connections
When discussing how to create excitement in partnerships, proposals often tend toward hype. However, the reaction is usually short-lived. What you need to do is get people excited about the idea of working with you.
You can generate enthusiasm through personalization, for example. Companies today want to partner with others who understand them, pay attention to them, and respond to their specific needs. They want to be able to identify with them, trust them and rely on them. So through personalization, you have the chance to formulate important messages that excite your audience.
When I send emails, I make sure they're clear and personalized. It's not hard to do, either, because there are many tools to help you out.
Numerous factors influence whether partnerships between companies and organizations thrive or fail. A shared vision and value system with your partner is one of the most important components of a successful partnership. In my opinion, successful partnerships have a shared understanding of the goals they're working toward and a set of common operating principles.
This doesn't mean all your goals should be the same, but your ideas should be mutual and focused on collaboration. Before you enter into a partnership, I think it's best to have those conversations about vision and values to align.
Use Your Platform
So you've worked to build trust, you've made an impeccable offer to your potential partners, and you've managed to get them excited about working with you.
Now it’s time to use the audience you've built to drive the joint marketing initiative.
The main reason for this is that people usually assume that companies are out to sell them something, which makes the information inherently less reliable and interesting. When someone posts something about a company, even if they work there, the information is more likely to be sincere.
For example, I'm part of the TikTok generation and have a substantial following. When I attend events, I always ask our partners questions and post their answers on TikTok. This way, they reach an audience they may not have had before. I do all this with the idea that we rise by lifting others up, and that's our company motto.
We all agree that content is at the heart of any affiliate partner strategy. To be successful, you need to provide more content to your channel partners so they can engage potential customers at every stage of the buying process to close sales and generate revenue.
However, if you're not perceived as a reputable source, you won't get the attention you want. Building a personal brand and establishing thought leadership is one way to stand out and gain the trust needed to close a deal.