The buy vs build decision for an ISV is one that is never taken lightly. And when the decision is made to embed your software solution into their product, they do so because they clearly have weighed the pros and cons of that buy vs build scenario.

In the end, if a “buy” was selected, it was done because not only were they convinced about your value proposition, but they were confident that the enhanced features of your product would provide immense benefits to their end-users when integrated.  Improving the customer experience is an important goal of an OEM partnership.   In addition, it can also help the ISV branch out into new markets and grow their business exponentially. 

More often than not, however, the OEM program itself does not provide much in the way of marketing support to the ISV partner.  The reason being that the OEM usually feels it’s not for them to market the product of another software vendor.  And while there is merit to this argument, I would argue that the opposite is true.  By helping your ISV partners market their products you will create a win-win because the more they sell, the more royalties you will collect.  There’s no better way to distinguish your program from that of your competitors than to give as much support as you can to your channel partners, including ISVs. 

OEM partnerships are the new marketing El Dorado for ISVs because co-branded initiatives kill two birds with one stone.  Cross-promotion across channels means getting twice the exposure for half the work.  

Here are some other ways OEM program holders can help support their ISV partners:  

 

Your end-user customer may be in need of what your partner is selling 

What better way to improve customer relationships than checking in with your end-user clients to discuss their needs and putting them directly in contact with the partner from your channel who can support them?  Many clients have ongoing projects to acquire certain types of software solutions or have integration needs that require services.  Knowing that your product has seamless integration in those other products or services could be a huge plus for your customer to know.  It could even be the determining factor when choosing one solution over another.  By sharing such information with your customers they will see you as providing even more value to them, and will certainly appreciate you as a supplier even more. 

 

Provide development support for your partner’s new products 

ISVs are constantly developing new products, but many of them are completely off the radar for OEMs.  The larger the ISV, the greater the likelihood that certain products are developed in silos and that the development teams may not even be aware of existing OEM partnerships for other product lines.  It’s important that an OEM be aware of new products under development so that even bigger partnership deals can be established.  By regularly addressing your current ISV – OEM partners and enhancing your understanding about their product development roadmap, you should stay ahead of the curve for future integration projects.   

 

Continue to give even more value to your ISV partners 

Running regular partner satisfaction campaigns will enable you to pinpoint areas of improvement to help you serve your ISV partners better in the future.  Many companies do this with their reseller partners but don’t feel it’s needed for ISVs.  It’s important not to neglect your ISV partners and find ways to show them that you are working to improve their overall partnership experience too.  A survey of this nature should not be more than 20 questions in length, and should only take between 8 and 10 minutes to complete.  By having a combination of multiple choice answers and free text, you will be able to uncover trends, and also get deeper insights from specific individual companies.  You could even turn the results into an infographic that you distribute to your ISV partners as a way of thanking them for their time and effort.  Infographics can also be leveraged to educate and nurture potential partners in your pipeline.   

 

Stay in touch both on and offline 

While presence on social media is a must, most company pages on networks such as LinkedIn are oriented towards the end-user customer and not to ISV partners.  In order to continue your efforts at creating tailored messages to engage your partners, having a LinkedIn Showcase page to highlight your OEM program is a great way to stand out from the crowd.  When animating a showcase page, it’s important to create a content calendar with supporting assets that highlight partnership benefits or partner success stories.  This is a great place to make announcements, promote webinars and events, or thank your partners for all their efforts.  In parallel, you can create an email campaign to engage your current partners so that they like and follow the page.  There is even an admin feature that exists so that you can proactively invite people to like the page directly via LinkedIn.  This will exponentially increase your following and should help increase partner satisfaction because of your continued communication efforts across channels.  

 

Conclusion 

Very often OEM partnerships can feel like a one-time and your done kind of deal, but in fact, improving your relationship with your ISV partners is the best way to do more business with them down the road.  Having fluid communication across channels and taking the time to know your ISV partners well will help you serve them better as you strengthen your relationship with them.  Never forget that the purpose of any partnership is to create the win-win, so making certain your ISV partners are happy is an essential part of guaranteeing the viability of your OEM program.  

 

 

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