In 2020, “digital transformation” went from a buzzword to reality. Businesses and governments alike experienced first-hand what it meant to undergo rapid, high-stakes transformation in the way they operate, and many are still coming to terms with the incredible pace at which change has been thrust upon them.
Among organizations that experienced a sudden and dramatic interruption to “business as usual” were the many resellers that market software around the world. These businesses–many of them our valued partners here at Checkmarx–still needed to tell the world about their product and service offerings. In fact, their solutions are critical to helping customers make their own transition to secure digital and remote working, making this a critical period for their business. However, the conventional brand-building tactics of the past, such as in-person conferences and customer events, were off-limits due to the health restrictions in place around the world.
Rising to the challenge, we put our imagination to work and, as the pandemic unfolded, took our partners on a journey of marketing digitalization. We learned a lot along the way and here are some of the activities that worked best for our resellers:
1. Sharing the voice of the customer in virtual panels
With international travel out of the question, we saw the opportunity to bring customers and resellers together in the virtual world. Certainly, it was easier for our speakers when they didn’t have to fly to a conference. Instead, they could broadcast their experience and expertise directly into the homes of our DevOps community.
Together with our partners, we hosted several hour-long virtual events that centered on the experience of three or four customers and local DevOps community leaders. Direct customer experience is always the most compelling and popular content for attendees, and they were keen to hear about software development triumphs (and disasters!) and opinions around the best DevOps tooling and practices to build robust, secure applications.
Through this series of events, we were able to reach hundreds of people to share the message about software security shifting left, DevOps culture, and best practices. And our partners reached them too.
2. 45-day free Codebashing campaign
With businesses around the world shifting to working from home, we spotted an opportunity for our partners to provide added value to their customers. We enabled them to offer their installed base a free trial of our AppSec training solution for up to 100 developers for 45 days so they could become familiar with the benefits of Checkmarx Codebashing.
We provided marketing collateral support by building landing pages, designing e-marketing campaigns, and developing relevant market messages tailored to the region and customer base.
Here a few notable partners that went above and beyond in the Codebashing campaign: Nova8 (Brazil), Endpoint Labs (Turkey), Netstone (Netherlands), RedShift (Portugal), a3sec (Spain), GSS (Taiwan), ASMtech (UK), Binqsoft (China), and VNCS (Vietnam).
3. Ongoing partner communications and training
Training is a core benefit that we offer Checkmarx partners and it is extremely valuable. We switched to a virtual format to offer our Checkmarx Certified Engineer and Sales Program training so we could continue to bring new partners onboard and help existing partners improve their skills.
Communication has also been a priority during the pandemic, and we have expanded our regular partner outreach, including bi-weekly product training, product announcements, and eLearning platforms so we are always on-hand helping partners build their business and innovate to navigate a challenging environment.
4. Creatively switching up customer events to fit the ‘new normal’
Knowing our customers well is important at the best of times. When they’re facing the challenges of lockdown in their personal and professional lives, it matters even more that we understand their culture and preferences.
Luckily, our partners knew just what kind of activities would encourage prospects and customers to welcome us virtually into their homes. Over the course of the year, we’ve held numerous creative and enjoyable online events from virtual cocktail-making classes to delicious takeout steak dinners—all helping us build a stronger relationship with customers while keeping everyone safe.
5. Direct mail campaigns ‘with a difference’
Direct mail has seen a resurgence as a marketing tool now that people are spending more time at home. A clever distraction, or a useful piece of tech to help manage virtual working life, is well-received and our partners have an incredible range of ideas. We’ve helped them develop gift mailouts, including remote control boats and premium headsets, which had customers opening the door–literally and figuratively–to opportunities to learn more.
By taking traditional tools and giving them a new twist, we have helped partners to stand out and get their messages across.
6. Delivering partner tools with added value
Partner relationship management has been an even greater focus for us as everyone shifted to working virtually. During this time, we have developed and enhanced the content available in our digital partner repository, Highspot, to provide all the tools and training our partners need to build their market opportunity for Checkmarx and create innovative campaigns that drive conversions. As previously mentioned, we moved all of our face-to-face trainings to virtual, and on the same time, we enhanced our partner university, Litmos, with new and refreshing partner content and new on-demand videos.
7. Investing in the best channel management team
Above all, successful business is about the people you work with. At Checkmarx, we have some of the best Channel Managers. Throughout the rapid transition to virtual operations, our dedicated channel managers have applied their creative talents and deep understanding of partners and customers to make sure that every business we work with can achieve its full potential.
This year has undoubtedly been a challenge, but we have risen to that challenge and found ways to not just continue delivering support for our partners, but to help them thrive.
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