In an increasingly interconnected business environment, building strong partnerships and synergies is more essential than ever. One of the often-underestimated (yet most important) aspects of creating a dynamic partnership is the concept of joint messaging. To delve deeper into its importance, we caught up with Penny Byron, Principal for our Partner GTM at Bridge Partners.
Why Start with Messaging?
Joint messaging can easily be considered the backbone of a fruitful partnership. It defines not only how two businesses work together but also how they collectively present their value to the customer.
“The reason joint messaging plays such a pivotal role is because it determines how you work together and how the value that you each bring delivers a stronger business outcome for your customer.” explains Penny. “You accelerate your position in the market by working together to determine your partners’ specific value as it aligns with your own and how that solves business outcomes more effectively for customers. That result is 1 + 1 = 3.”
Find Your Better Together Message
As Penny puts it, it’s not merely about what one wants to sell but about understanding your partners partners and what they bring to the table. There's a need to align the value proposition of both partners, leading to a situation where the combined offering is more significant than the sum of its parts.
This synergy, coined by Penny as the "Better Together" message, encapsulates the idea of joint communication and collaboration. It's the catalyst behind going after and capitalizing on new opportunities. The fundamental framework is set, and then partners collaboratively create the "Better Together" narrative, ensuring that both teams are adequately supported and incentivized to drive it forward.
Fixing Broken Partner Alignment and Synergizing Partnerships
It’s not uncommon to see partnerships that never fully activate or produce the desired return. They may begin with a flourish, and sign grand agreements, but then stagnate. One of the primary reasons? A lack of clarity in the joint value proposition or an overly vague or “fluffy "messaging approach. Without this, partnerships often remain intangible and unactionable.
Moreover, even if the joint value proposition is clearly defined, the strategy for its activation can still be ambiguous. “It’s a sign when nobody's doing anything with the agreement. It could be because they don't understand the joint value proposition, the role they are supposed to play, or what is expected of them. You need to define a clear vision of what you want to achieve with your partnership and how you will work together to drive opportunity. ,” reveals Penny.
How to Create a Winning Joint Go-to-Market Plan
It all starts with creating a strong Joint Go-to-Market plan. There are a number of questions to be answered to ensure the successful execution of the partnership. To start, she lists:
- Have we established a strong joint value proposition and associated messaging?
- Do we have a pitch deck with that joint value proposition?
- How do we act on our joint value proposition?
- Are we going to do co-selling? How will this work?
- Are we going to do referrals? How will this work?
- What markets, segments, and vertical customers are we targeting?
- What is the ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) for our solution?
- When and how do we engage?
- “Many things need to be determined but at the top of the hierarchy is really that joint value proposition: Why are we doing this?”
As Penny insightfully points out, it’s about understanding, aligning, and presenting a unified value proposition that not only benefits both partners but also resonates powerfully with their target audience. In the vast playing field of partner ecosystems, crafting that compelling "Better Together" message makes all the difference.
BONUS: Get a checklist for building your joint value proposition (some of our highest-viewed content!)
Don't Bypass Personalization
Penny emphasizes that while it’s crucial to have a foundational framework for joint messaging, what really amplifies its effectiveness is personalization.
Depending on the type of partner, be it a consultant or an ISV, a generic messaging framework can be a place to start. However, the real magic happens when resources and effort are strategically invested to personalize and refine the joint message for selected partnerships. This is where companies evaluate partnerships for their potential impact and decide on which ones to double down on.
Putting Channel Strategy into Action
Joint messaging is undoubtedly a pivotal element in activating partnerships in the modern business landscape. It goes beyond mere communication and delves deep into the synergies that can be created when two companies collaborate.
Penny discussed the power of joint value propositions, gaining mindshare, partner enablement, and more in the Channel Mechanic’s webinar “Partner Journey Excellence” alongside Jennifer Judy: Senior Director, Global Partner Experience (Hybrid Work Solutions & Peripherals) at HP and Kenneth Fox: CEO at Channel Mechanics; moderated by Margaret Adam: Head of Product Marketing at Channel Mechanics.
Join hundreds of others and view the webinar below.
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About the author
Marisa Lather is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Bridge Partners. Known as @MarketerMarisa, she is a data-driven design thinker who specializes in creating aesthetic brand experiences that delight. Recently named as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Marketing & Advertising, she is actively engaged in the national marketing community, blogs about modern business, personal development, marketing, and more at www.MarketerMarisa.com, and speaks at conferences around the country.