When we talk about ISV OEM programs, very often we are in fact referring to ISV to ISV integration. This is when one software company will embed the features of another software into their own for the purpose of creating an improved product that will better serve the end-user customer. While some may think of APIs when I describe that, we’re talking about more than just a bridge from one product to another; in fact, one product seamlessly becomes part of the other. It’s true that many marketers often have a hard time understanding this type of relationship, but it’s really not all that difficult. While the technical aspects of the integration may be complex, if you focus on the business value that such a partnership brings to the end-user, it’s not complicated to understand at all. On top of that, when the ISV targeted brings a particular technological edge to your product, the relationship gets that much more interesting.
In order to successfully market your ISV OEM program, it is key to understand your buyer personas, who are absolutely different from your typical end-user audience. Normally a product manager, or someone involved in R&D, product strategy, or the development roadmap is your core target since they will know what features are the focus of a new release. By orienting your messaging to highlight the value that your OEM program will bring to their product and, by extension, to their end-user customers, your prospects will see the “what’s in it for me?” and want to learn more about your offer.
Here are some other tips to help successfully increase awareness about the benefits of your ISV OEM program:
Understand Your Target ISV
Not all ISVs are created alike. Some will hold higher potential than others by the nature of their business (business model, vertical or horizontal focus) or their own customer base. By honing in on your ideal customer, you will better understand the challenges they face and how your offer can help them. It is important to know how you can give to the ISV: what benefits will their end-user customers get from the OEM relationship? Will this enable the ISV to be more competitive? Provide more value to their end-users? Branch into new markets? Expand their offer to new industry sectors? By understanding your ideal target ISV, you will be able to provide even more value to them and create messaging that will resonate with them.
Identify the End-User Pain You Can Solve
Most ISV-OEM relationships are built because the end-user customer of the ISV is facing a challenge, asking for new product features, or not entirely satisfied with the current product. Perhaps the ISV has lost market share to a competitor who provides enhanced features, or their customers have expressed the need for the solution to do more/different things to satisfy their expectations. It is important that the ISV identify the end-user pain that they are looking to solve so that they can find best-in-breed solutions that can respond to those pain points. As the OEM program holder, you can highlight success stories of how integration has helped your partners do just that.
Know How You Compare
Of course, your OEM program is not the only one of its kind. Understanding the advantages and inconveniences of your program as it compares to others out there will help you position yours in the most favorable light. It may also help you to work on areas where you may not be as strong as your competition so that you can offer more value to your audience in time. It is always important to dig deep to understand when your program is chosen over your competitors; for this, you can perform win-loss analysis to better pinpoint how other OEM offers are ranking compared to yours. By conducting a survey, you can also understand how your own program is perceived by your target audience. You can then use that information to improve your image and better educate your audience over time.
ROI is not always easy to calculate but it is important that the ISV see the gains they can achieve by going through with the integration. No one will embed software features for no reason and in addition to improved customer satisfaction, a clear monetary benefit should be demonstrated. Case studies and success stories are a great way to highlight the ROI a particular ISV has had because of the partnership they engaged with you. Customer testimonials during live webinars can also attract your audience to attend since they’ll “hear it from the horse’s mouth.”
Help Them Help You
Providing sales and marketing support in addition to technical product support is a must when recruiting new ISV partners. Not only will they need help to train their internal sales team on the new product features made possible by the OEM partnership, they will also look to you to co-fund marketing initiatives to generate leads. Many OEM programs neglect this aspect because they believe that marketing is up to the ISV. By showing your support to help the ISV, your program will stand out from the crowd.
Marketing ISV-OEM programs is taking on more importance these days because of the deal sizes they represent for both parties. When the relationship is right and all the parameters fall into place, it becomes a real win-win for both parties. The key is making your ISV-OEM program more visible to the right ISVs by being present across channels and by taking a holistic approach to marketing.