On March 25th Heavybit Advisor An Le gave a talk on The Business Development Toolbox. The talk was so well received that we’ve invited her to share her three favorite tools for business development.
Tool #1: Comarketing
Comarketing is simple to deploy and has broad reach, but it’s not very sticky. It works best in parallel with other tools like a product integration or feature enhancement, and should include activities like joint PR, website presence, and email campaigns. The best comarketing is consistent and repetitive with regular partner check-ins. A good example is the SoftLayer Partner Page where they display partners, their websites, and they lead you to their product.
Tool #2: Channel Programs
Ranging from affiliate programs to system integration partners, channel programs are also easy to start, but the issue is finding the right partners. Often there are so many players that it’s hard to determine who to work with and whether it will be successful. The key is to work with a well established partner with a good reputation. This works better as a later stage strategy since there is a high overhead cost — sometimes a full-time individual to handle each partner. The most common example is the Microsoft Affiliate Program.
Tool #3: Product Integration
I’ve used product Integration the most at Yammer and New Relic. It’s incredibly sticky, but requires technical resources. Usually it’s some kind of API integration that involves SSO, sharing of pertinent customer data, and UX/UI integration points. The key is to keep things up to date. Product and features will evolve over time so it’s important to monitor the changes and make sure the intergration is working properly. A word of wisdom: – when closing a contract, make sure to double check where the pricing belongs and who owns the customer. It’s important for both revenue share and support. A great example of this is the Heroku Add-ons marketplace.