Max Wilson, Director of Marketing for WE-CAN Technologies, received the following email from his boss on Monday morning.
October 1, 2012
Our executive team has been visiting customers and partners for the past two weeks to identify sources for our next phase of growth. The consensus is we need to redouble our efforts to support our channel partners. Our efforts to enhance their capabilities to sell WE-CAN solutions will be a win/win scenario. Our executive team believes our partners can outsell the competition with our help. They also believe, with our partners, we can lower the total cost of sales.
The executive team wants to leverage your experience and knowledge with emerging trends in content marketing, social media, and especially the use of video in revenue generation. They have asked for a plan on how we can support the channel with an estimated 200 high impact, co-branded videos. They believe the right videos will be able to achieve the following goals.
- Attract buyers to our partners as buyers research solutions online to the problems WE-CAN addresses.
- Provide a means for WE-CAN to control the messages delivered to customers by partners for the critical and often complex questions customers need to answer to buy our solutions.
- Enable buyer teams to use the videos to align their understanding of WE-CAN solutions when no sales person is around. We don’t want to just leave a set of slides behind anymore. Our executive team believes this could take weeks out of buying cycles as buying teams have gotten larger.
- Lower the cost of training partner sales people and getting them up to speed to talk about WE-CAN solutions. Videos addressing buyer questions should help them better prepare for sales calls and quickly access answers to buyers’ questions that occur during sales calls. Emailing videos about questions discussed in sales calls as follow-up will reinforce the discussions.
- One objective is to lower the number of joint sales calls requested by the partner. We would like to only engage in person once a buyer is fully qualified and approaching a decision to buy.
- The videos should be co-branded with the partner and allow the partner to easily and cheaply incorporate a customized component for specific use cases, like email campaigns or sales call follow-up. Partners should also be able to add their own differentiating messaging where appropriate.
- The video assets should have a useful life of 18 months to three years to get the most value out of our investment. We can’t afford the four month useful life traditional videos have.
- Our partners will need videos developed in multiple languages to support their regions. Right now plan on English, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese.
The executive team has made a number of assumptions about what is possible. They would like you to validate these assumptions and possibly expand on them. Here are some of the important questions you need to answer.
- How many videos do we really need? They don’t know what the right number of videos should be. You need to tell them. Two hundred was thrown out to make sure your thinking is not limited by traditional approaches to video. The number should detail your assumptions regarding how videos are used in the revenue generating process. Since training is a component of working with the channel, the impact on training should also be included.
- How will we produce the videos? You know we are not Hollywood and cannot afford a Hollywood approach. The executive team needs to have an understanding of how the videos will be created, managed, and delivered to meet the goals they stated above. Many of them are engineers at heart so they will be looking for a depth of understanding of the constraints and opportunities. They are also looking for an innovative and pragmatic approach that doesn’t involve large technology investments, hiring lots of people, or wholesale outsourcing to agencies.
- How will we make decisions about what to spend to meet our goals? The executives need a frame of reference for making decisions about creating all these videos. They need to understand how investment decisions enable leverage for both WE-CAN and our partners. They want to be able to make adjustments by accelerating or decelerating this approach depending upon market conditions or what is learned during the process. To that end, what metrics will be important to guiding these decisions?
- How will our partners engage with us on this? This has to be a collaborative effort with our partners to make sure it adds value to them and they are going to use the videos. What structures should we put in place to support their active engagement across the buying cycle? What should we expect from them and how will we evaluate their level of engagement?
- What would a start-up operating plan look like for creating this program? While the executive team believes this video-enabled approach to driving channel revenue will be differentiating and impactful they want to see an operating plan that grows through manageable and measureable phases. The plan should outline the core work that needs to occur in the first six months to build the right foundation. It should then lay out the operating parameters for sustaining content development and leveraging the videos through partners for the following eighteen months. As always, we will need a budget and resource plan to support this.
Max, I appreciate that this is a lot to throw on your plate the first thing Monday morning but the executive team sees this as a game changing opportunity. Let’s talk later today on how much time and effort you need to address the questions above. There is a real urgency to understand the potential of this approach and to get started if you can validate the viability.
Talk to you later,
Jim Everett, VP Marketing WE-CAN Technologies
Max sat back and thought, “I am glad Monday morning only comes once a week.” He was also pleased that his research into marketing innovations and his coaching of executive team members on potential opportunities was not in vain. Their urgency and the fact that they are asking the right questions are really exciting. The challenge now is to get to the right level of detail in the answers to move this opportunity forward.
Max began making notes to discuss with Jim.
The order of the questions actually made sense as an approach to working through the response. Developing a sizing of the volume of videos required and designing the production process to support that volume would be eye-opening. It would also ensure the context for the next steps was conceptually understood. Identifying the value drivers and metrics for the program would provide the additional conceptual context for making go-forward decisions.
The interest in how the collaboration dynamic with partners will work ensures we are not working on hope partners will deploy videos by addressing that risk through collaboration. It also squarely focuses on the source of leverage we get by investing in this approach. Having the executive team briefed on these questions will set up the context for the final development of the operating plan and budget.
Max began work on the first important question, “How many videos do we really need?” Look for Max’s response to Jim and the executive team in Chapter Two.
This three minute video explains the different use cases for video for the marketing and sales channel functional areas. Internal communications and training are obvious additions.
photo credit: thetaxhaven via photopin cc