Serving in marketing leadership and multimedia roles for over 15 years, he has helped both established companies and startups achieve significant growth by providing marketing and business strategies that positively impact each company’s bottom line.
Today we talk about how B2B marketing pros can build relationships that drive business success.
In this episode:
- What is a definition of partner marketing or partnership marketing?
- How can businesses scale or minimize some of the work and become more efficient?
- What are some specific processes or tools that people can use in the relationship-building process?
- What are some of the criteria that marketers can evaluate in terms of partnership marketing?
- Partnership and relationship-building case study of a health care software company
- What makes collaboration time consuming, and why it’s all worth it.
- What are the biggest challenges for a successful partnership and collaboration?
- How should businesses do co-marketing, improve collaboration and communication?
- What is the role of partnership and relationship building in social selling and digital marketing?
- What tactics should people use to build a relationship online?
Quotes from the episode:
“It’s not the same game as maybe 20 years ago when one person was making all the decisions. You have to go through five different layers and convince all those people in different ways why this partnership makes sense. And then, once you’ve convinced them and signed it, you have to get together and determine the best avenues for exploring collaboration.”
“Everybody can add different value to everybody cause everybody has different goals, and you need to assess that first. Once you begin to build that relationship, another vital pillar is to be genuine. Don’t come up with some crafty marketing scheme. Go in there, genuinely wanting to develop the relationship.”
Welcome to my podcast. Today I have an awesome guest, and we met each other on Twitter. Many of my Twitter followers or the people I follow on Twitter know each other before we got on the Twitter platform. But Anthony, my guest today, we got acquainted on Twitter first.
Anthony Gaenzle is literally my first Twitter friend, and he has his blog, AnthonyGaenzle.com, about the sales and marketing for the small businesses. The people who need help, including enterprises, are small businesses, especially on the digital marketing front.
Anthony Gaenzle: Yeah. It’s great to be sitting here in front of you, um, digitally, but it’s, you know, it’s been a long time since we’ve been chatting back and forth on Twitter. So it’s good to talk to you in person.
Pam Didner: I know! Today, we will talk about a topic I am also very passionate about – partnership or Partner Marketing. And it seems like you are doing a lot of that, and you are looking into how to build a relationship very creatively through collaboration with partners. So the first of all, the one question I want to ask you is in terms of partner marketing or partnership marketing, how do you define that?
Anthony Gaenzle: Yeah. Some people think of a partner as just the, you know, a company that you collaborate with, but it can be anything, anyone with like-minded goals. Anyone, as long as they’re not a competitor. Once they move into a competitor, they partner as long as there’s an opportunity for collaborative growth. Where you can work with someone or an entity to grow both sides of your world. That I think falls into the realm of partner.
So whether that’s a business that you’re working with, a blogger that you collaborate sharing content with, influencers that you’re working with. There are tons of different partners that you can work with to help grow your business as long as you’re also offering that value back to them and helping them grow. So a true partnership has to be two ways.
Pam Didner: Yeah. So it’s really about hashtag win-win–try to create a win-win relationship or that partnership between the two. And I think you touch on the point that many marketers, uh, either don’t have time to think about, or it does take a lot of time to put kind of like a partnership, a framework together. You know, doing the paid media is so much easier. “Well, why don’t we just go ahead and do paid social?” And if we want to write a blog and we write a blog, and we publish it, and we promote it. That’s so much easier, but partnerships tend to require the two parties to have a conversation and determine how to collaborate.
Should they attend the event together, or should they, you know, do a blog swap, or should they invite each other to kind of like their podcast or a specific video recording? So it’s, there’s a lot of work. And, uh, what is your thought about how to scale or minimize some of the work? Do you have any specific processes, tools or tips that you can share?
Anthony Gaenzle: You know, I think one important thing is determining who the best partnerships are.
Pam Didner: Okay.
Anthony Gaenzle: I’ve seen some instances where companies wasted a lot of time. Um, you know, there’s a lot of buildups to build that, that relationship. And you miss a lot of the points along the way. And when you finally start promoting, you realize that the other person isn’t as invested as you are, or you don’t have the resources that you do.
And if it becomes one-sided. Or there’s not the connection that maybe you thought that that was there in the initial phase. So really the first and foremost, you have to vet the partnership and understand whether a) you can add value for them–which I think is the most important part to start. If you go in with it, just looking at it is, how can I benefit from this person or this company that’s not going to work. So look at it from that perspective, but also make sure you understand what value they add. And you can cut out a lot of clutter and a lot of wasted time if you plan ahead of time.
Just like anything in marketing or sales, you have to have a strategy going into it. And each relationship and have a strategy. Because they’re all going to be different. Your goals with each partner are going to be different.
Pam Didner: So, can you give us examples in terms of the partnership that you did?
Anthony Gaenzle: Yeah. I’ll give you a couple of examples first from a health care software company that I work with, SE Healthcare. We sell a physician burnout prevention program. The healthcare industry is very stressful for doctors, nurses, especially now, with COVID in the midst.
Pam Didner: Totally. They’re overworked, and they, you know, are not being appreciated. Yeah. I understand that.
Anthony Gaenzle: Yeah. There’s a lot of, uh, administrative burden. There are very high levels of burnout, uh, ranges from anywhere from 40 to 60%. That can lead to, um, alcoholism. It can lead to suicide. It can lead to just high rates of turnover. So it’s a, it’s a really major issue in the healthcare space. And it impacts other answers industries as well, I think lately, but the platform specifically focuses there.
So we wanted to find partners who would help us promote that. And we looked at different tiers of partners. We’ve looked at technology partners. We looked at industry associations. And we looked at, uh, can other consulting businesses.
So the software has a video platform with actionable strategies and advice that physicians and organizations can work through to address burnout in their organizations and find ways to limit it. But it doesn’t have onsite consulting. So we partnered with one of the most well-known experts in the field and the physician burnout space at Dr. Dike Drummond. And we brought him in to help develop some of the content, but he also can add in a consulting wing if the healthcare organization wants to take it to the next level, and then we can contact our partner. He also ends up helping us promote it by putting notes about it on his blog on it sharing our content on social media.
We do the same for him. So you have that relationship.
Pam Didner: I think that’s a great idea that that’s a perfect example. You are sharing Anthony in terms of the software. I mean, I’m sorry. The company has a software program. But, to deal with burnout or prevention, sometimes physicians would like to talk to somebody. So you partner the product partner with the onsite consultants or the 1-800 number or the hotline that somebody can call that makes that assumption, that service compliment your client’s product. That created a win-win in terms of revenue growth. At the same time as a cross-promotion opportunity for both parties.
Anthony Gaenzle: Yeah. And we do the opposite also with the electronic health records, you know where, when you go to the doctor, and they’re typing up notes. At the same time, you’re being seen, they’re writing down everything they’re talking to you about your symptoms, and that’s going into the system. They’re seen as a stress causer because they add extra work for the doctors on top of everything they are already doing.
So working together on the opposite end, when the doctors are implementing an EHR health record, they can also look at our partnership with the EHR companies and look at that as a solution. So we have videos in there that tell them how to be more effective with utilizing the EHR, reduce the time they’re taking to add their notes or reduce the time they’re taking up in the day to compile all their notes.
So it’s really like you said, it’s the complimentary company is where it fills a gap, sort of where you don’t have that in your solution, but you fill up that gap and vice versa. They fill a gap for you. So putting together a relationship like that can be hugely valuable for a B2B company to expand the resources and the services you’re offering to your clients.
Pam Didner: That’s great. I love that. So one of the criteria that marketers can evaluate in terms of partnership marketing is trying to find a gap. If you have a product gap and you can have a partnership, you complement each other and offer more comprehensive solutions to your target audiences, which creates a win-win. But this kind of discussion. Um, or collaboration takes a long time to do, right?
Anthony Gaenzle: Yeah. It takes a lot of upfront groundwork. Um, you know, especially when you have sort of some sort of proprietary software, and you have, uh, you know, patents and trade secrets and things like that behind the scenes that yeah um, you know, you have to have NDAs signed, and then you have to get the right people in the room, and they don’t just come together in and day. There’s a lot of decision-makers that have to weigh in.
It’s not the same game as maybe 20 years ago, when one person was making all the decisions. You have to go through five different layers and convince all those people in different ways why this partnership makes sense. And then once you’ve convinced them and signed it, you have to get together and determine what the best avenues for exploring are.
Pam Didner: For co-marketing. How do you do co-marketing? How do you collaborate? How do you do co-communications? Yes.
Anthony Gaenzle: Whose brand is going to shine, and we’re doing co webinars. Do you have to combine them? Or, you know, whose brand is going to shine. Who’s going to produce the webinar? And there’s a lot of questions that go into it once it gets started. It’s complicated. Uh, you got to make sure that the returns there, if we’re going to jump into it. (laughs)
Pam Didner: Yes. So you know that you brought a very good point. Uh, I was a marketer before, and whenever it comes down to partnership marketing, I was like, “oh my God, I so much work!” Because it does require several months of discussion going back and forth, even after that’s done and you have to sign an agreement. And once that agreement is done, and then collaboration and implementation also take a lot of time. And I know a lot of marketers stay away from that, especially in small businesses. It takes a lot of time to create one.
And some of the conversations I have with the marketers, especially they feel like this kind of partnership needs to be done on the sales side. And that, because it’s a way to enable the sales, especially the example you are using, you are trying to find a potential solution that can fill the gap of the products you are offering. So it’s more kind of like, “okay, what can we do in terms of partnership to grow out my revenue? “
Anthony Gaenzle: Yeah. I, I think one of the biggest issues that I’ve run into in my career is when you have sales teams and marketing teams that try to pass off, you know, “this is your responsibility; this is my responsibility.”
Pam Didner: Yeah, I know. I know. I understand. I was one of them! “That’s your responsibility! Can you just take the lead on that instead of me?”
Anthony Gaenzle: Trust me. In my career I’ve, I’ve wanted to pass off a lot of stuff to sales.
Pam Didner: (Pam laughs) We all have done that!
Anthony Gaenzle: Um, I think you have to have both involved. We always have both sides involved. So we’ll always have someone from the sales side and someone from the marketing side in each meeting. Now the partner may not do that. They may just bring in the marketing, or they may just bring in their sales team. Sometimes we’ll even have the CEO that we’re collaborating with.
Pam Didner: Yeah. I hear you. It’s more top-down driven like the partnership is very top-down driven. Yes.
Anthony Gaenzle: So it depends on the partner. But when the ideal situation plays out, I like to have both the sales and marketing teams in place. Because you can uncover things that, the sales team is looking at from one perspective, marketing is looking at from another, and you can uncover things that you might not have thought of.
The sales team knows a lot about the customers. They’re on the ground in front of them all the time. They have a lot of great insights they can bring. Marketing can take those insights and figure out how to put it out there in the universe and make it well known. So I think if you have all those heads in the room, that’s the best way to go. If you have a sales team and a marketing team that get along, um,
Pam Didner: That’s perfect. That’s a dream. That’s a dream. You know, that to me is like a dream. Teamwork makes the dream work. Do you know what I’m saying? If they get along very well and they are helping each other out, that’s the best scenario, if you will.
Anthony Gaenzle: For sure.
Pam Didner: And I understand that kind of the scope of partnership marketing type takes a lot of time and evolves, you know, even the senior management and the sales and marketing, sometimes the product team needs to get involved as well. What are some of the, I would say a low-hanging fruit that the marketers can do to create the collaboration and the partnership on their own, but it doesn’t require this huge, massive effort.
Anthony Gaenzle: You can develop a partner. It doesn’t have to necessarily be with the major company. I like to target bloggers, for example, developing partnerships with bloggers where if you’re in the tech space—let’s stay in the tech space since that’s where we’re talking still–there’s a lot of really well-respected tech bloggers out there, and there are bloggers in every niche. Whatever you’re selling, there’s a blogger in your niche that’s very popular. They build huge followings, and they’re, they’re rivalling the major sites. The Forbes and Inc.com and those sites are rivalling that with their traffic coming through, and there are a lot more open to building relationships.
And if you have the value to add to them, you know, you can get them to write about your product and promote your products. It can guest post on their sites. You can share on social media. Social media is a great way to do it. You can build relationships on social media without really having a lot of the fine print and paperwork in the background simply by sharing content. If there’s an institution you think would be a great partner, you can start sharing their content on your social media channel and your company’s social media channels. Make sure you mentioned them. Make sure you’re engaged.
Pam Didner: [ag them. Hashtag and also tag them. Yep.
Anthony Gaenzle: Yeah. Hashtags and reply to their tweets and their posts on LinkedIn. Get to know their marketing team. If you can get to know their marketing team outside of that brand relationship, you know, LinkedIn is a great place for that. Make connections on LinkedIn, get to know these brand marketers, and talk through your shared goals and values. And then maybe you can get some social media collaboration going behind the scenes without. Having to say, this is a real partnership, and without having to sign all those documents and NDAs—
Pam Didner: I hear you make a point and share with, uh, my listeners. The marketing tactics that you mentioned, there are different terms for it. You know that some people call it influencer marketing, right? So you kind of collaborate with influencers and get them to mention your products, or you can build an organic partnership as you see fit. But like I said, you need to provide value to them. I think the key is you need to add value to it. Otherwise, it becomes a kind of sponsorship or a paid media effort.
So yeah, I hear you. I understand. When you and I started talking about, Hey, the topics we want to talk about for this specific episode, you kept mentioning relationship building, relationship building, relationship building, and I 100% agree with that. You and I kind of build that relationship on Twitter, but that was a long play.
But if I have to put like a term in terms of relationship building, partnership marketing is a term that can be used for relationship building.
Now I remember another term I wanted to mention is social selling. So when you are talking about relationship building, in terms of with the partners or even your target prospects. I think you want to communicate the key thing, at least when I was talking to you, and you mentioned that relationship building is about trying to build a relationship before you sell.
Anthony Gaenzle: Yeah. Yeah.
Pam Didner: So, and you mentioned very clearly just earlier in terms of like, Hey, get on LinkedIn, get on Twitter, right? If the other people you respect, or if you want to reach out eventually to build the biggest app, you will get out there and talk to them and build that relationship. As I said, there’s another term associated with that, and it’s called social selling. Right.
So one last question. Do you have any advice or, uh, tactics that people need to pay attention to build a relationship online?
Anthony Gaenzle: Yeah. Um, well, first of all, you know, um, I’ll touch on it briefly because we’ve touched on it a bunch of times throughout this, but the adding value part is critical. You need to figure out what value you add.
Pam Didner: I agree with you 100%. Anthony, sorry to cut you off on that. That requires some thought, and it’s not like, oh, I want to send out an email to Anthony or do a tweet. Oh, I want to just comment on your posts, Anthony, on LinkedIn, but it does require some thought in terms of what value can you provide. And I think people tend to overlook that.
Anthony Gaenzle: And then, and or they think that they add the same value to everybody. Um, and that’s not true. Everybody can, you know, add different value to everybody cause everybody has different goals, and you need to assess that first. And then once you, you go to build that relationship, another very important pillar is to be genuine. Be real. I want to add that value to them. Don’t come up with some crafty marketing scheme to ask: “This is the value I bring to you” so that you can reel them in and then, um, you know, start leveraging it for your benefit. Go in there, genuinely wanting to build the relationship.
And as you build that relationship, I don’t be afraid to be transparent. You know, you don’t want to share too much about yourself to the point that you’re, you know, an oversharer, but it’s okay to let people know who you are. You know, “I have kids. I live in Pennsylvania. I enjoy doing this.” You know, it helps build that bond beyond the fact that you just, they’re both in marketing and want to promote your companies.
You find common bonds that you share. Maybe you like both love the second Avengers, but you hated the third one. (Pam laughs) Those connections can be a big deal.
Pam Didner: This is great. This is great advice. And a lot of that, I will say, is kind of like a fresh reminder, even for myself. Often, we have a specific objective in mind when we talk to somebody or the prospect. But coming from the perspective, how can you provide help and their value is very critical. So with that being said, I would like to end with one silly question. One is, what is your most useless talent? The second one is, do you have a ridiculous goal in your life?
Anthony Gaenzle: It’s hard to narrow down the ridiculous talent. I have many, but, uh (both laugh).
Pam Didner: Share with us all of them! No, I’m kidding!
Anthony Gaenzle: Alright! Let’s get started now. (Pam laughs) I bring up this one because I was just doing it the other day. Um, our little ones, we have three little kids and two, the two oldest just joined a soccer club recently. I call it that. Well, they’re, they’re [00:19:30] five and four. So I, I, I use the term club loosely.
Pam Didner: I’ve been there. I’ve been there. Trust me that is just on the field. “Where’s the ball? Let’s follow the ball!”
Anthony Gaenzle: Okay, good. “Rather than that, that goal, that goal.” (both laugh)
Anthony Gaenzle: It’s, um, very beginner level, but, um, but it’s fun to watch, and it, it brought back, uh, a very useless skill that I developed years back. Um, I can juggle a soccer ball very well. I’m living, you know, you kick the soccer ball up and down with your feet and your knees, and you keep it in there for a while. I can do that very well, but it’s extremely useless cause I haven’t played organized soccer since I was probably 12 or 13.
And um, you know, I won’t put my age out there, but I’m, I’m much older than 12 or 13. (Pam laughs) I haven’t been able to use to have been able to use that talent for quite some time. It’s very useless.
Pam Didner: You can use that talent to impress your kids. “Look at what dad can do!”
Anthony Gaenzle: Yep. Until they, until they get way better than me. And they look at me like—
Pam Didner: “You know what? Go away, Dad! Just go away. You’re embarrassing me!” (both laugh)
Well, Anthony, thank you so much for coming to my show and share your valuable advice and love it. I love it, love it. And partnership or partnership marketing is really hard to do well, but I 100% agree with you that marketers should consider one of the marketing tactics. And, of course, we start that by building that relationship with your customers or whoever partners you want to go after.
All right. Thank you so much for coming to my show, Anthony.
Anthony Gaenzle: Thank you for having me. It’s great seeing you in person. It’s much better than just tweeting back and forth.
Pam Didner: Exactly!
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