Do you like cold calls?
ISV partners often need to form new relationships with VAR partners in the Microsoft Dynamics community and many of them still rely on cold calls - either a phone call or an email blast out to a list of Dynamics partners with a “do you want to do business with us” type of appeal.
As a VAR partner I can tell you that I get far too many of these “cold calls” and I tune them out. But I can also tell you that there is a better way.
If I already know your name before I get your call or email, I am much more willing to listen. Of course, an ISV can spend a ton of money to exhibit at a trade show and meet me there. But again, there is a better way and it is basically free.
The answer is Social Media!
Here are some simple ways that ISV partners can connect with, and get their names known by, VAR partners using social media:
The first step for ISV partners is to find the social media profiles/pages for VAR partners they want to work with. Following someone on social media means you will get updates on new content they post and they will see you as a new follower and start to recognize your name.
- How to Do It: Log in to Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and any other social media channels you use and follow/connect/add/subscribe. Remember you can connect with both individuals and company pages on many of these networks.
- Tip: How to Use Twitter Lists to Connect with Microsoft Dynamics Partners
Links are the currency of the web. ISVs can link to a VAR partner’s blog posts from their own site. This can help raise the search engine rankings for specific keywords and drive traffic to the VARs website.
- How to Do It: Identify a good blog post the VAR has written. Link to that blog post from your own website, blog or newsletter. You could include the link with a brief comment on why you enjoyed the article or even go a step further and summarize their entire post, and link to the original.
- Tip: Contact the VAR to let them know that you linked to their article. For example, with a tweet or a comment.
Everyone likes affirmation. Seeing a comment on your blog post affirms that someone read, and liked, your blog post. It is very sad to see “zero comments” (hint hint) on a blog post.
- How to Do It: Go online once a week for 30 minutes at a time and leave comments on posts of the VARs you work with or want to work with. Leave a comment on a good blog post the VAR has written. Mention the specifics of the post or try to add a point or two that shows your knowledge of the subject discussed in the post. This will show you are not just a spammer. Comments are sent to authors and Blog Admins and will usually provide your name and website. Very often the author will be curious enough to click the link to your website and find out more about your company, or the author will recognize your company and will be reminded of your generosity.
- Tip: Avoid creating links within the comment that link back to your site (other than filling out the field for your website in the comment form) because that can make you look “too salesy” and less sincere.
You can also leave comments on Google+ and LinkedIn updates as well as YouTube videos.
VAR partners work hard to create their content and believe me, they notice who promotes it.
- How to Do It: There are different terms for different social networks but basically you want to give the VAR partner’s content more exposure. Mention their @name whenever you can so they get alerted.
o Twitter: Retweet their tweets/@mention their user name (Twitter tips)
o Google+: +1 and share their updates/+mention their user name (Google+ Tips)
o LinkedIn: Like and share their updates/Tag their name in your update
o YouTube: Click the “thumbs up” icon to upvote their video. (Make sure you are logged in with your company account, not a personal account.)
- Tip: I have had great success outsourcing this task to a social media manager. He knows my audience and makes me look good. Contact me for a referral.
People love to be part of a club or tribe and we tend to look for people to work with within that circle.
- How to Do It: Be active in groups or communities where your VAR audience hangs out. Answer questions, leave comments, even volunteer your time. Next time a VAR is looking for a new partner you will come to mind.
- Tip: Consider joining www.erpsoftwareblog.com or www.crmsoftwareblog.com to be part of the largest online group blogging community of VAR/ISV partners. I tell my members all the time that we can “use the power of the group”.
Remember, the whole goal here is to get your name known to the VAR partner. I admit that it is the marketing person that will probably be the one you connect with, but you would be surprised how much influence they can have. They can get you introduced to the right person.
Using these tips, when you call or email it is no longer a “cold call” but a “warm call”.
By Anya Ciecierski, Collaboration Works Marketing