I think vendors and partners are really important, but the success of a partnership depends greatly on how much the parties invest in the partnership. That's extremely important. You just can't put each other's logos on your Web sites and expect leads to just come in. I think it's a process, and it's a working process. You have to effectively market the relationship and really get to know each other, know what each other's business is, and know what your strengths and weaknesses are, but play on the strengths.
Prospects don't want to be constantly barraged with people pushing products on them. They want value for their business, whether it's to save money or to make their job easier. In order to provide your customers with that value, you have to understand how things work within their business, and your business and your partner's business.
For example, we had a very successful partner-related business development initiative, and that was when Mark Hurd came to San Antonio. It was something as simple as the CEO of HP coming to San Antonio, but we created a marketing campaign to call our close customers [with whom] we've already done business, and also new customers, to get them out to this event so they can come out. How many times do you have the chance to hear the CEO of your IT vendor at an event? So we did a campaign around his coming to San Antonio, and we were very successful in getting several customers there and several new clients that became customers.
Another initiative we kicked off in 2007 was our MP SupportLink, and that's an online portal for contract and asset management. Managing the service and support contract is a really tedious job and extremely paper-intensive. HP is moving some of its service contracts out to the channel, and we have a product, called MP SupportLink, that is ideal for helping customers manage their service and support contracts. And we're in the middle of a marketing campaign to reach out to the affected customers in our area, and we've already picked up business as a result of it. Our partnership with HP provided us with this opportunity. We saw a need with HP, and we're filling it with our MP SupportLink.
Seven budget-friendly tips for a channel marketing plan and lead generation strategy