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featureed image Published 2017-03-09, by Seth Jacobsen

Refine Your Partner Recruiting With A Go-To-Market Strategy

GTM strategy documents are starting to become fairly commonplace throughout sales-oriented businesses, particularly those who deal directly to specific target niches in B2C or B2B markets and want to ensure an audience focus.  They might not immediately seem to have relevance to indirect sales ecosystems – since many of the elements covered by a GTM document would be handled by partners – but they can be put to use specifically for targeting your own partners.

After all, as a vendor, you are effectively selling yourself to your partners.  And as we’ve discussed in the past, smart alignment between your own business goals and those of your partners is key to building effective long-term partnerships.  A partner-focused GTM strategy can bring many of the same benefits to partner recruitment and retention that they bring to a direct sales strategy.

In particular, with increased competition in the indirect-sales market, a good GTM strategy can help you differentiate yourself in markets where partners may be choosing between many vendors.

The Purpose of a Go-To-Market Strategy 

A GTM strategy for your indirect sales is, in some ways, like a miniaturized business plan which focuses exclusively on your products/services, the end customer, and the types of partners that are best suited to impact sales. In other words, it generally omits elements such as funding and organizational structure in favor of focusing on the following topics:

  • Overall long-term goals for your product/service offerings
  • The markets you serve 
  • Your ideal customers (partners)
  • Distribution channels and methods
  • Products/offerings being promoted
  • Pricing
  • Positioning and differentiation

A GTM document and accompanying strategic realignment could be particularly useful for vendors who are looking at moving away from direct sales and embracing indirect ecosystems instead.  It would provide a foundation for future partner outreach, as well as helping clarify the difference in marketing/outreach methods and messaging compared to previous buyer-focused efforts.

READ MORE: Channel Enablement Across the Partner Lifecycle

Crafting A Vendor/Partner GTM Strategy

It’s worth mentioning that a solid GTM strategy will likely take several days to develop, at a minimum, or potentially several weeks if you really want to do a lot of research and data analysis.  Generally speaking, the more thought which is put into it, the greater the long-term benefits will be.

1 – Set your overall goals.

Any strategy needs an end goal it’s aiming for. Look 5-10 years down the line.  If everything you wanted to see for your business came to pass, what would your situation look like? While this is partially wishful thinking, it should still be rooted in reality. You should be able to see how where you are now could plausibly connect to this hypothetical future, if the right policies and strategies are deployed.

In some ways, this “high level” target will help define what you will NOT do as much as what you will do. Any activities you’re currently engaged in, or merely considering, which don’t contribute strategically to your final vision should be avoided.

2 – Define your target market.

Right now, niche targeting is vital for a company looking to be effective. One-size-fits-all solutions are increasingly distrusted in favor of more personalized approaches, and a company which is clearly trying to be “all things to all people” risks being nothing to nobody. You want a precisely-defined niche where you can legitimately claim a level of supremacy, expertise, or custom-focus.

If you have a product which could be broadly applied to a lot of markets, it’s time to do some more detailed research. Look at various markets you might target, and what solutions already exist for them.  Pick the niche that seems most under-served.

3 – Find your ideal partners.

Once you have a niche selected, it’s time to look at some of the existing sales partners who are already targeting that niche. It’s going to be far better to find partners who know the market already than trying to convince outside sales outfits to change their focus. Again, the more your partners are aligned with your vision, the better.

The only exception is if you’re looking to target a market so under-served that it doesn’t have many, if any, existing sales outlets serving it. In which case you’d be specifically targeting partners who would be interested in going after a new market opportunity.

4 – Understand your distribution channels and methods.

If you already have distribution systems in place, this one should be simple. Just define how you’re going to get your products/services to your vendors in proper shape to then be resold to the end buyers. This shouldn’t be difficult unless you’re looking to radically overhaul your distribution structure.

5 – Detail the products/services being offered and their unique value.

Remember, you’re thinking about this in terms of what your partners want, not necessarily the end buyers. (Although it’s good to keep them in mind.) What features do your products offer which would be particularly appealing to sales partners? Why would they be particularly compelling to those partners’ own customers? What makes them easier to handle, sell, etc?

Your choices here will be a major part of defining your overall outreach. These are the selling points you’ll want to hammer on when convincing partners to join up.

6 – Have clear and explicit pricing guidelines.

This is another section that shouldn’t take too much effort – just define the price points for your products. Since we’re targeting partners, be sure to think about matters such as bulk pricing and what sort of margins you’ll let partners have. It’s also a good idea to have some leeway in this section, such as your preferred prices vs best-possible-offer prices, so you have room for negotiation while still ensuring overall profitability. 

7 – Clarify your positioning and differentiation.

Finally, it’s time to talk about yourself. What makes working with your company different from everyone else out there?  This isn’t about your products, this is about the day-to-day reality of how partner sales staff and managers will be interacting with your various departments. Since this will be a major factor in their decision, nearly anything you can think of to make your own organization more appealing will be a big part of your partner outreach.

Add all that up, and you should have a good overall strategy for targeting your partners with appeals and outreach they’ll respond to. Or, for more assistance taking your ecosystem to the next level, contact LogicBay!