As the artificial distinction between account-based marketing (ABM) programs and everything else we do in B2B continues to dissolve, more firms are realizing that they can leverage the same account-centric strategies, tactics, and technologies to improve the performance of every aspect of their businesses.

That includes partner marketing programs, which face two significant challenges today. Empowered B2B customers demand an ever-increasing level of specialization and sophistication from the third-party firms that assist them. And the emergence of nontraditional partnerships and alliances that serve business buyers has made it much more difficult for channel leaders to find and recruit the right partners.

My colleague Jay McBain and I have just published a report designed to help channel leaders overcome these challenges with a partner-centric approach to recruitment modeled on ABM best practices that we call partner-based marketing (PBM).

In our report, Jay and I make the case that a PBM program based on data-driven recruiting decisions will lead to better outcomes, leverage existing skills and solutions to break down organizational silos, and enable a full life-cycle approach to partner management.

We also acknowledge that PBM will be a new and unfamiliar motion, so we are recommending that channel leaders start with a pilot program focused on a single product or market, choose a project manager with strong analytical skills, and partner with sales to reduce any fears they may have about losing control of the partner recruitment process.

We hope you enjoy the report and look forward to expanding on this topic in future research.