Joint venture marketing partners attract new business and well trained partners close deals. Setting up at least a basic online wiki about the partnership, company or products is important so that everyone who needs to know can have access to. Creating a working document like a wiki allows your businesses to have a central location where specific product information, new product announcements or special sales information can be found. A wiki should be a tool that partners refer to on a regular basis rather than a FAQ that might be provided in an early training session with a new partner. There are both complex software and easy “drag and drop” applications to set up online wikis that can be built quickly with existing marketing collateral and company information that’s essential for sales reps and others to know in order to close deals.
The following are a few important elements of an online wiki for part of the communication channel between partners.
- Company Overview
Include a few paragraphs about the company just as a quick reference to reinforce the way that the company needs to be represented to a new potential customer. By keeping short paragraphs that can teach a sales representative a short blurb about the history of the company and a supporting comment related to the industry is a great piece to develop at the top. Have additional information for supporting details through a link out to the website, but always concentrate on the first couple of lines for each section as those need to be short and punchy and allow the sales reps to then do their work to attract new business so you get leads that will result in closed deals.
- Points of Contact
This is a very important segment of the wiki that needs to be kept up to date on a regular basis. This can help ensure that when a specific problem occurs or a unique opportunity is presenting itself that the right person is being contacted. Make sure for critical points of failure that a business partner has at least two people that can be contacted if the primary person is unavailable during an emergency. It is not essential or necessary to have the executives listed in this portion of the sales training wiki unless relevant. The point of this is to have a working document that keeps all of the active people implementing roles in the business partnership related to selling and servicing a customer.
- Product / Promotions
Keep links to product information and sales sheets that can be quickly downloaded and emailed by sales reps to potential customers. Sales representatives should be reviewing this section on a specific time determined by the two companies. This way they’ll know that any new products or special promotions will be in the system every Monday at 10AM for the week ahead or whatever schedule fits the company.
If there is important company news within the last few months, have this in the wiki so the sales rep can answer accordingly if asked a question regarding the news. This is very important if there has been something negative; as it is essential people have an appropriate response.
If applicable, have a basic reference list that can be provided by a partner when they are discussing the partnership with existing clients or at least have a past / current client list that can be shared.
It’s important to always have a list of attachments with the link to download the document. Make this list in order by date so that the newest items are always at the top. Making a wiki that is only text really does not take advantage of the benefits a wiki can provide. A well-developed wiki can help attract new business with the support of partners that are fully educated about the partnership and the product and services available.
If you have a team that is supporting your website, ask them to recommend an easy to use wiki platform that can be hosted on your server. Another option is to select a cloud based wiki tool like Zoho Wiki and use the drag and drop features to set up the wiki training page. Don’t think a basic FAQ will get the job done in terms of educating a partner’s sales force. You need to develop many tools that will ensure the information is absorbed and a sales training wiki can be a great fall back tool for anyone that needs to quickly catch up to speed before meeting with a customer.
Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture Marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
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