As detailed in Why European Businesses are Expanding to the US and How to Do it Right, the US is the world’s largest consumer market and is a significant leader in determining technology trends. However, the choice to expand your market into the US market is merely the beginning of your challenging journey, one which many European companies often fail to complete.
A growing strategy for connecting with US audiences is to establish stateside channel partners to promote products on your behalf. In turn, you leverage partners’ pre-existing relationships and brand credibility, enabling you to create quick footholds. However, this sales tactic is not without its own struggles, as you’ll need to recruit program participants, properly enable them with localized materials, and share the profits.
The following article will help you decide if your company’s partner program is ready to branch into the US, as well as provide practical tips for success.
How to Determine if Growing Your Partner Ecosystem to the US is the Best Move
Establishing US-based channel partners may not be the best move for every company, as success is far from guaranteed. Consider growing your ecosystem within the United States only if:
- You can offer a product that is unique and in high demand. The US is a fertile breeding ground for new software companies, resulting in an overcrowded marketplace. It can be tough to differentiate yourself from your peers or claim that you’re truly best-in-class. If you can’t confidently explain your unique value proposition, you may be better suited for a less competitive market.
- You successfully nurtured channel partners in another region. As Frank Sinatra sang in the song New York, New York, “you make it there, you make it anywhere.” This lyric applies to the whole of the United States due to its elevated levels of competition. Therefore, make sure you’ve worked out the pain points in your expansion processes prior to entering US markets. Much like you wouldn’t learn to drive on a busy highway, it would be wise not to learn how to expand your partner ecosystem using the US as a testing ground.
- You have the marketing budget to spend. Given that the US is a considerably aggressive market, how does one go about attracting the attention of prospective channel partners and customers? This answer is marketing! Be ready to invest in paid campaigns, whether they be based in social media, search, sponsored content, or in-person networking. A shoestring advertising budget will fail to make the necessary impact.
- You are willing to make entry into the US a priority. You’ll need more than extra budget to successfully grow your partner ecosystem into the US. Only if the situation arises, do not be against dedicating a majority portion of your team’s focus, content, and attention to this market.
Practical Tips for Managing a US-Based Partner Ecosystem
If you meet all of the above-mentioned criteria, this is a great start!! You may be ready to conquer the region. Increase your odds of success by doing the following:
- Conduct a trademark search to make sure your product name can be used in the US.
- Get a US-based lawyer (or someone experienced with American law) to create the partner contract. You will want to ensure that you are in full compliance from a legal standpoint, especially when entering new markets.
- Deploy designated partner management software which automates menial interactions. The dramatic difference in time-zones adds a new barrier to communication. Therefore, minimize any subsequent delays in processes by automating certain processes like co-branding materials, content recommendations, deal registration approvals, etc.
- Align recruited partners with your overall go-to-market strategy. When determining whether to cater partner recruitment efforts to a specific niche or a broader audience, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. What matters is that your US-based partner ecosystem reflects your overall go-to-market goals and target end users.
- Focus marketing spending on sites that will build credibility with prospective US partners. US partners don’t want to promote products that risk reflecting poorly on their own brands, so give them assurances by collaborating with trusted individuals and sites.
- Prepare to hustle to get your first US-based partners. Ensure all promotional materials are ready to go, from your partner-focused web page to portal tours. Yet you’ll need to do more – find and nurture relationships with individual prospects, attend networking events, and even try paid media campaigns. Promote any partnerships you have with other reputable American companies by spotlighting their logo and building case studies.
Remember, American companies will care about their ability to make a profit, not just your technology. Emphasise the commission possibilities, as well as product savings they’ll accrue by being a member of your program. Click here for additional tips on attracting channel partners to your program.
To Make it In the US, It’s All or Nothing
In summary, having the highest GDP globally, the US poses a huge opportunity for companies that are looking at expansion. With huge opportunities must come an all of nothing approach. This should take the form of the resources that you allocate, attention, focus, and your strategic planning.
Be honest when analyzing your current ecosystem. Are you ready to conquer another region? If not, ensure that you are in a position to, then execute. Arriving too early and arriving too late are both as detrimental as each other.
About the Author
Chloé Edgington leads the Demand Generation initiatives in EMEA at Allbound, an industry leader in channel partner strategy and management software. With 12+ years of global marketing and sales experience, Chloe is skilled in brand management, strategic marketing and stakeholder engagement. Prior to joining Allbound, she lent her marketing expertise to the food & beverage industry and ingredients manufacturing.