Accelerating partner sales for a high-tech distributor: From strategy to market in 2 months

When a leading high-tech distributor gave our client the green light to promote one of its top server product lines to small and medium-sized (SMB) business technology resellers, our client knew that Yesler had the strategy and creative chops required to pull it off. Yesler assembled an expert team of content strategists, marketing automation architects, paid media specialists, writers, and designers to create an integrated marketing campaign. We built over 20 major assets in record time—meeting our client’s aggressive two-month schedule from start-up to project launch, even as a pandemic began shutting down businesses around the world.

Background

As a leading server distributor in North America, our client has long-established relationships in the industry and with top sales and product manager professionals. Our client knew its partner’s technology was positioned as an ideal server solution for SMBs. However, it needed a creative marketing team that understood resellers and how to speak to them. Additionally, the two companies needed the right content, created for the right audience segment, delivered through the right channels at the right time.

That’s where Yesler’s full-service B2B marketing expertise came in. “We knew we could rely on Yesler to execute a creative campaign that hit all our targets,” said the distributor’s Digital Marketing Program Manager. “As usual, they did not disappoint.”

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Research and strategy

Yesler assigned two strategists to gain an understanding of the full audience picture and build out the campaign from soup to nuts. We conducted independent research and interviewed the two companies’ subject matter experts to identify key messages for different audience segments.

After an audit of existing material, two challenges jumped out:

1.  We had multiple audiences that had very different needs. Potential partners interested in selling the leading servers needed to know why our client was the right distributor to partner with—and have a clear path to onboarding. Existing partners that hadn’t considered selling the servers before needed information about why the technology was superior for SMBs. And current partners already authorized to resell needed better resources to help sell to SMBs.

2.  The server partner’s line was complex, and resellers needed straightforward comparison information to determine the right server to sell without having to dig through multiple decks, catalogs, and sites.

When looking at the buyer’s lifecycle for each audience segment, it became clear that we needed multiple connected nurture streams and a series of easy-to-digest assets to simplify the messages.

We identified three pillars that would resonate most with resellers. Although the high-tech server company was familiar with promoting product features, we fleshed out messaging that answered two critical questions for resellers: “Why trust these two partners?” and “How do I sell these server solutions to SMBs?”

“We knew we could rely on Yesler to execute a creative campaign that hit all our targets. As usual, they did not disappoint.”

Digital Marketing Program Manager, leading server distributor

The overarching messaging focused on how the servers offer SMBs the latest security, automation, and hybrid cloud innovation in right-sized form factors. In addition, it highlighted how the servers could open the door to a high-growth market for technology resellers.

Then, the arrival of COVID-19 derailed our media strategy. We made a rapid pivot to email and expanded our paid media channels to include content syndication, refocusing on controlling partner costs as the SMB segment became averse to capital purchases in just a few weeks.

We created a campaign strategy that maximized touchpoints leading to a server resource hub. A playbook served as anchor content for the nurture campaign and for paid media leads. We mapped messaging across multiple marketing channels and wrote creative briefs for each asset. Drawing on insights gained from the server partner’s subject matter expert interviews, we identified three blog topics for a new resource hub to show the benefits of the company and the servers along with the added value our client brings as a top distributor. And we proposed an animated, interactive infographic, which helped resellers identify the right product for their customers.

How we did it

Creative & Content Development

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Research & Strategy

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Paid Media

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Marketing Automation

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Solution

The campaign included a three-touch new reseller onboarding email stream, a five-touch email nurture stream focusing on servers for SMBs, a 15-page playbook, three blogs, an interactive, animated infographic, and new landing pages, paid media ads, and content syndication.

Meeting the aggressive production schedule required an all-hands-on-deck approach to resourcing as well as agile project planning. Our delivery team consisted of a program manager, an integrated go-to-market campaign strategist, a creative strategist, multiple designers and writers, a paid media strategist, and marketing automation specialists who together executed and launched this integrated program in just two months.

Asset creation and production were assigned to several Yesler team members, with one writer producing the five-touch and three-touch nurture emails, gated 15-page playbook, and paid and social ads, while another writer created the blogs, infographic copy, and new landing pages, and a third writer drafted templates. Multiple designers tackled the assets, including the creation of the animated, interactive infographic that lives on a new resource hub.

Yesler’s paid media specialist developed a strategy for reaching the targeted audiences through LinkedIn ads. We created three separate ads using different visual treatments and copy. Headlines, body copy, and visuals could then be easily tested to see which ad was most effective with the target audience.

Go-to-market and creative strategists worked closely with creative and marketing automation teams to build a campaign plan and ensure that more than 20 assets worked together seamlessly across messaging, visuals, and branding. “Given the aggressive schedule, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks,” said the Server Product Manager within our client account. “But Yesler’s team was laser-focused on tracking each asset and delivering it on time.”

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Results

Yesler started the campaign in early February 2020 and completed all 20-plus assets by early April. As the nurture emails, paid ads, landing pages, and other assets began to launch, the novel coronavirus was already spreading around the world—upending businesses both large and small. Many workers were beginning to shelter at home, and most companies’ primary focus was on simply keeping their business running.

Despite the pandemic, our client’s campaign attracted a good response in the first few months. There were 72 views of the new server landing page, with 39 visitors going on to the new resource hub. Our client saw high engagement with all three blogs, with one blog driving 54 clicks. And the interactive infographic attracted 27 active visitors to the site.

The playbook attracted 31 views and generated one “contact us” lead (a 3.23% conversion rate). Paid media ads earned high interest on LinkedIn, and our client achieved extremely high click-through rates (CTR) across all ads—73% above network benchmark overall. Finally, the three- and five-touch nurture emails had strong open rates.

When businesses go back to some form of normal, our client and its partner have the assets they need to run the full campaign. And Yesler will be here, ready to help.

“Given the aggressive schedule, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. But Yesler’s team was laser-focused on tracking each asset and delivering it on time.”

Server Product Manager, leading server distributor

72

Landing page views

54

Clicks driven by 1 blog

31

Playbook views

High

CTR across all ads