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How to Strengthen the Sales and Partner Marketing Relationship


Partner marketing and sales teams share a common end goal: Help customers reach new levels of success. Of course that can only happen if there is a true partnership between the partner marketing and sales teams.

At Salesforce, I oversee our AppExchange with more than 4,000 solutions from thousands of partners. And that magnitude of solutions can be overwhelming to a sales rep. That’s why our team has created new ways to work together with sales — and vice versa. Here are some innovative ways both sales and partner marketing teams can take a fresh look at their approach to helping customers choose the right partner solutions and each other.

Make It Easy for Sales to Engage with Partners

We use our own efficient collaboration tool and create a private social collaboration group for each of our key partners. We invite the partner and our sales teams to the group to create the opportunity for direct collaboration. The partner posts all of their sales-facing content, presentations, demos, success stories, pricing, and more. The sales rep can not only find all relevant information on the partner but can also collaborate with the partner directly with questions, and the partner can engage directly with sales reps. This tool is a single location where the partner and sales can collaborate, brainstorm, and communicate efficiently and effectively on any opportunity.

Create Joint Sales Plays with Partners

We run specific sales plays each quarter, and key partners can fit into these plays to help uncover opportunities. The sales reps are educated on the sales play and partner solutions through webinars so they can pass qualified leads to partners who can help expedite key deals.

Get Help from Solution Managers

We also have a team of solution managers who can work directly with sales on a deal to find the right solutions. If sales says, “My customer has a gap in their business. Is there an AppExchange solution? Which one is the best for this particular problem?” the solution manager is the app expert who can help the sales rep find the best solutions to solve that problem. Adding this additional level of engagement for sales can make a tremendous difference in matching the right partners with customers and creating even more value with their accounts.

Inspire Sales with Success

When sales and partner marketing work together, there’s a certain amount of marketing that needs to be done for reps within the organization. Inspire sales teams with success stories of customers using partner solutions. At Salesforce, we share these successes internally and highlight the sales person. In turn, they get serious bragging rights among their peers, which also helps incent new opportunities with partner solutions.

Keep Communications Flowing

It’s critical for partner marketing to communicate on a regular basis with relevant, important information that can help sales with customers and potential deals. We send weekly AppExchange emails to customers that showcase new apps and a monthly newsletter with awesome apps. Reps can sign up for the weekly and monthly newsletters to stay abreast of new apps and favorite apps from our customers. To keep key partner solutions top of mind, we also run demo jams. These three-minute demo jams provide an opportunity for partners to share short, bite-sized demos with our sales teams to create internal partner awareness, excitement, and community. From new hire training to lunch-and-learns, the education has to keep coming. And it’s important for sales to provide feedback with what they find the most valuable, too.

Inspire sales teams with success stories of customers using partner solutions.”

Leslie Tom | Vice President, AppExchange Marketing and Programs, Salesforce

Learn More

How to Craft the Perfect Sales Pitch By Annie Simms,
Account Executive, Salesforce
The Simple Client Meeting Rules Every Salesperson Should Follow By Laura Stack,
President and CEO, Productivity Keynote Speaker and Author, The Productivity Pro, Inc.



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