OEM can be an elusive term.  In fact, it means many things to many people.  For us, it means embedding one software solution into another to enhance product features for the benefit of the end-user customer.  Third-party integration helps bring a faster time-to-market and can make your product more competitive in the global marketplace.  But finding new partnership opportunities in the right ISV accounts is not as easy as it seems. 

First, the buy vs build debate is always present.  When targeting ISVs you will always find push back on the buy argument from internal development teams, who prefer to keep such projects in-house.   Second, creating visibility for your OEM program, educating and nurturing prospects, and pushing them down the sales funnel takes a tremendous amount of time and energy.  People have the misconception that talking with prospects about partnership opportunities is an “easy sell,” but in fact, this is far from being what happens in reality.  ISVs will only embed if there is a compelling reason to do so.  Making a decision about whether or not to embed takes careful reflection to weigh the pros and cons. Third, sourcing data on pure ISV players can be a real headache.  Data brokers often promise access to qualified data on ISV accounts, but we have never come across one that truly excludes VAR’s, MSP’s or other types of companies all mixed together.  In fact, we have even been told by our customers repeatedly that they have spent thousands of dollars subscribing to services only to get access to a nominal number of pure ISV players.   

So what can you do in order to maximize your efforts to promote your OEM offer?  Outsourcing ISV-OEM marketing can be tricky when most marketers (both internal or external to your organization) have a hard time wrapping their heads around OEM.  But outsourcing your OEM marketing is not impossible.  Here’s why you should consider doing just that. 

Outsourcing Means Easy Scalability 

Let’s face it- if you want to hire an internal Business Development Representative, not only do you have to go through a lengthy and tedious hiring process, you also need to spend time training that person once they are on board (with no guarantee that they will actually be successful at qualifying sales opportunities).  The cost associated with hiring someone in-house is high, and the investment may not always prove to be worth it.  By outsourcing your outbound OEM lead generation initiatives, you can easily scale without the hassle of managing scores of people yourself.  Of course, you will need to be sure that your outsourcer is the right fit, and that you work hand-in-hand to reach the objectives stipulated.  But once you’ve found a company you trust, the win-win is practically guaranteed. 

Outsourcing Means Tapping into Native Language Resources 

Along those same lines, hiring native language resources when you may or may not have the ability to manage those people yourself, can be complicated.  Outsourcing means that you can tap into a variety of languages either long-term, or on a spot basis as needed.  Be sure that the outsourcer you choose has native-speaking representatives for the languages you may want to cover in the future as you scale and expand into other markets.   

Outsourcing Means You Can Experiment 

Trying out new tactics is essential in marketing.  It’s important to be creative, experiment, and get outside of your comfort zone so that you can innovate and stay ahead of your competition.  Outsourcers often have loads of ideas for campaigns that they have successfully run in the past for other customers.  Not only can you replicate a campaign that has worked for someone else, but you can also work with the outsourcer to brainstorm entirely new ideas.  Because outsourcers are directly in touch with decision-makers in your target markets on a daily basis, working with one can help you stay on the cutting edge and adapt to changes in the market faster. 

Outsourcing Means Peace of Mind 

It’s an illusion to think that you can outsource all of your lead generation activities, sit back and relax, and let them bring you sales deals that are just waiting to be signed.  However, there can be great peace of mind in letting an outsourcer deal with the hassle of people management.  While working with an outsourcer does mean that you have your fair share of work that needs to be done, it also offloads you of a great deal of responsibility at the same time.  Outsourcers are usually required to ensure continuity in the service regardless of whether a resource is sick, absent, or quits; of course, this is not the case if your marketing is done in-house.   

Conclusion 

OEM partnerships are the new El Dorado for software vendors because the one-off investment provides recurring revenue streams for years to come.  By leveraging the experience and expertise of a reliable outsourcer, you can grow and expand your OEM program to target different verticals/horizontals or be present in a particular geographical region where you didn’t have presence before.  Keep in mind that not all outsourcers are created alike.  Shop around to find the one that has the ISV-OEM marketing experience your need to take your program to the next level. 

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