Activating Breadth Partners
After educating breadth partners on your new platform or product offering, you want them to commit to product development. This is a recruiting effort in that you’re converting them from simply learning about your product to delivering in-market solutions.
As I touched upon in my last post, this entails setting up a tracking system to nurture partners from development to marketing launch. Provide marketing and support in exchange for project profile data. Once captured in your adoption tracking system, you can prompt when you reach certain milestones and when partners should be taking action to align with marketing opportunities.
For example, you may communicate when new beta features or breaking API changes are introduced. Partners find value in being notified of these technical updates, particularly if positioned in context of what it means from an ISV perspective. The rationale behind a technology shift can help partner architects and development VPs make better decisions about their own product development.
Another benefit to early adoption systems is alignment of marketing messages and timing. As you approach release, you’ll want to demonstrate momentum to press, customers, and other partners. Communicate milestones for testing and release to enrolled partners and how they can leverage (and amplify) your launch momentum.
There are varying approaches to launch: rolling thunder, big bang, and social. Generally the larger you are, the more effective you can be at rolling thunder – where you have a growing crescendo of market announcements over a period of time before your ultimate release. The big bang effect entails keeping partner and your own announcements quiet until you’re able to spring it on the press, in hopes of cornering industry press (and customer) attention at a specific time. Social launches tend to occur where budgets won’t warrant a press-grabbing launch and so the approach is to engage guerrilla tactics to spread the word of your new release. These approaches aren’t mutually exclusive and you’ll want to engage in social amplification of your message through partners regardless.
Next, I’ll address how to amplify partner solutions in the marketplace to accelerate pull-through sales of your product/service.