COVID-19 Update

Lenovo Surpasses Revenue Goals By 40% With LEAP Partner Program

Lenovo, a computer manufacturer and technology company, turned to B2B loyalty marketer Motivforce to drive loyalty and engagement within its partner channel, as well as grow relationships with newly added partners from a recent acquisition.

The Challenge

In 2014, IBM divested its System X86 server division by selling the business to Lenovo. This included not only the acquisition of hardware solutions, but also the product name and business partner distribution channel. These new partners had been loyal to IBM for many years and were unaccustomed to doing business with a company like Lenovo — let alone one that was unknown for manufacturing and selling servers.  The challenge for Lenovo was to migrate these System X86 sellers to Lenovo and convince them to remain in the distribution channel.

Thomas Marquie, Program Manager for Lenovo’s Worldwide Data Center Group (DCG) Brand and Sales Enablement, said that these new partners required “a one-stop shop where the partners can receive benefits and help firms differentiate themselves.”

The Solution

Motivforce helped the company develop LEAP (Lenovo Expert Achievers Program) to drive loyalty and engagement.  Every element of LEAP was built from scratch in terms of infrastructure and support. LEAP also had to meet the cultural and geographical business needs of 8,000 participants, and 1,800 firms in 80 countries involving eight languages.

The program is delivered to partners through a portal, which is designed to offer them online tools, and educational and technical resources to help them sell Lenovo server products effectively. 

LEAP is structured around two components:

  1. Learn & Earn, where partners are awarded points for completing a range of online key learning and core capability modules through the LEAP portal; and
  2. Sell & Earn, where partners are awarded points for selling eligible Lenovo server products and solutions.

These points can then be redeemed online for rewards such as MasterCard gift cards or other reloadable cards.

“Three people on the Lenovo side laid out the program — designed the terms of service and whatnot — and [Motivforce] had one program manager,” said Marquie. “In six months, we created a finished product that we deployed at the firm and seller level.”

The Results

The LEAP program encouraged the former IBM partners to migrate and remain loyal to Lenovo, and it more than doubled the active user base and achieved significant revenue for Lenovo — 40% more than its target. The company also stated that the number of educational modules completed by partners was 200% more than its original target.

The program also impacted partner sales efficacy; partners sold seven times more Lenovo products than non-participants in 2015.

Lenovo is now looking into growing its benefit offerings to promote deeper engagement within the program. “The latest thing we’re doing is providing nonfinancial benefits, such as dog walking and grocery services,” he said. “We can extend bread and butter loyalty programs and quickly bring in new content and programs to better our partnerships.”

Measuring Marketing Performance To Enhance Future Campaigns

When it comes to measuring marketing performance, multiple layers come into play. Some actions are deemed easy to measure, such as click-through rates on email campaigns or the number of followers on social media, but these metrics don’t dive into the impact marketing activities have on a business’ bottom line. Companies such as Mongo DB are not only measuring marketing performance on a larger scale, but also on a content engagement level, to help determine this impact and enhance future performance.

New Research Shows B2B Marketers Lack Processes For Leveraging Engagement Data

Seventy-one percent of B2B marketers said that digital marketing and technological skill sets will be required for their roles in the next three to five years, according to an Association of National Advertisers (ANA)/Business Marketing Association (BMA) study released at the ANA/BMA16: Masters of B2B Marketing Conference in Chicago. However, a mere 7% of those polled said they have effective processes in place for capturing data on buyer behavior, attitudes and engagement.

“Our study shows that B2B marketers have much to offer, but that message is not getting through to the right people within their own organizations,” said ANA President and CEO Bob Liodice. “These marketers need to implement growth leadership initiatives, put forth a clear vision of their brands and develop strategies to remove barriers.”

However, the study also revealed that less than half of those surveyed (42%) said they even have a seat at the senior management table, and only 37% said they enjoy strong endorsement from senior management. In addition, 35% of respondents said senior management is still focused on the product and price and not on insights into the customer.

The online survey of 237 B2B marketers was conducted by the ANA and its research partner, GfK, in March 2016. It included BMA members, as well as ANA members in B2B companies.  

The ANA/BMA provided a set of recommendations for B2B marketers along with the study, and several featured speakers that presented during the three-day conference echoed these points as crucial elements to marketing success:

  • Partner with sales to drive business growth. Sydney Sloan, CMO for Alfresco Software, presented a session along with Peter Isaacson, CMO of Demandbase, on her company’s account-based marketing and predictive analytics journey. Sloan indicated that she and her marketing team needed to sell the idea to sales, and it did not happen overnight. “We had to show them where the revenue was going to come from,” Sloan said. “It took longer than we thought.” The sales reps had to pick specific accounts for the initial test, and she said many “dug their heels in.” After nine months, the regions that “did the homework” [of identifying accounts] were compared with those that didn’t, and the results were more than enough to rally the holdouts on the sales team.
  • Inspire the entire organization to build business growth. Russell Findlay, CMO of Hiscox, an insurance company, talked about his company’s brand positioning process and marketing approach. Findlay said buy-in across the organization is crucial. “Marketing can drive revenue, strategy, culture and momentum,” he said, adding that marketers can earn their organizations’ respect “by being great at people, marketing alchemy and the numbers.” Findlay said B2B marketers need to understand the drivers of their business and where marketing adds value. “Think like a business leader first and a marketer second.”
  • Shift the focus of strategy from product to customer. “The customer is always first,” said Ana Villegas, Marketing Director for North America Commercial Business and Marketing Strategy, at Dell. “Digital transformation starts and ends with the customer,” she said. As part of the case study she presented, Dell worked with its B2B agency to cement its customer focus on the website, Villegas said. “[We had a] dynamic content optimization option that let [the customer] build their own path, depending on what he is consuming. The customer picks what he needs rather than you telling him.”
  • Prove ROI to ensure marketing is perceived as a competitive advantage. Measuring campaign results elevates marketing’s contribution to business growth and enables it to be perceived as a competitive advantage. At Dell, engagement on the website increased 20% in terms of unique visitors, pages viewed and downloads, while costs decreased by 50%, according to Villegas. In addition, the metrics evolved as well, and her team now scores what it calls “high-value engagement,” a KPI developed by the analytics team, as its definitive measure.
  • Acquire the tools and digital skill sets needed to compete today. Linda Boff, CMO of GE, said experimentation is necessary with new technology and digital platforms. During the audience Q&A, she was asked for advice on social media for companies that “still struggle to share their stories.” Boff said: “The risk of not being out there and not sharing your stories [on social] is much higher than the risk of doing it.”

Time To Test And Measure In B2B Marketing

1blog 5.09.36 PMExperimentation isn’t a word often associated with B2B marketing. In fact, the conventional marketing plans for most B2B brands have typically been built around core industry events, sprinkled with webinars and maybe a few white papers centered on new solutions.

  • Published in Blog
Subscribe to this RSS feed