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1-to-1 Marketing for Resellers: How to position yourself as a Trusted Advisor

1-to-1 Marketing is all about building a real relationship between ONE sales person and ONE prospect in a key target account.

There are 3 guiding principles:


The primary objective of a 1-to-1 marketing program for resellers is for your top sales person to become a Trusted Advisor within your key prospect accounts.

The objective is not to generate short-term leads to meet your end of quarter sales target. Our goal with a 1-to-1 program is more strategic with longer term benefits.

The good news is that most prospects want to deal with a Trusted Advisor.

The best way for your top sales people to become a Trusted Advisor is for them to act as "information guides", to freely provide valuable information, with no strings attached, so that over time they become the "Go To" advisor that a prospect turns to when important decisions need to be made.

Trusted advisor status is a key metric

You can try this as an exercise, in your next sales meeting. Ask each of your top sales people to write down the company names of every prospect, where they believe they have achieved the status of Trusted Advisor.

How many companies are on that list? 5, 10 maybe 30.

Now imagine the impact it would have on your sales if you could double that number. You only need to look at where your sales are coming from to appreciate the value of being a Trusted Advisor, right?


When you are acting as an information guide, any information you send to prospects must be valuable, which means that it must be insightful and useful, so that your prospects want more interaction with you.

If you're a typical reseller than you've probably been asked to participate in vendor led marketing programs previously, in which case you will know that the quality of vendor content varies.

Sometimes vendor content can be all about them and of very little value to your prospects.

In these circumstances, my best advice is: "Don't send poor content to prospects you care about". It will damage your brand, destroy trust and make it more difficult for you to engage with these prospects in the future.


As a reseller you need to promote your business.

The channel landscape is changing. Customers are placing greater value on services over hardware, which is becoming a commodity. This explains the growth of MSPs.

So as a reseller you need to stand out from the crowd, to have a clear point of difference, which you need to communicate or promote to your prospects.

As a result your marketing messaging in the future is going to need to be more balanced. It needs to be about you, your point of difference and about the vendor, and not just about the vendor.

This is another way that a 1-to-1 marketing program for resellers differs from a typical vendor-led channel marketing program.

So what is 1-to-1 Marketing?

A 1-to-1 Marketing program can be defined as:

"A micro marketing automation program designed to build 1-to-1 relationships between a top sales person and your high value prospects."

The key words here are:

  • * Micro
  • * Relationship
  • * 1-to-1

I'll explain the significance of these key words a little later.

How does a 1-to-1 Marketing Program work?

It's a sequence of marketing automation campaigns, probably run at 14 day intervals. 14 days seems to be the "goldilocks" solution. Less than 14 days is probably too frequent but more than 14 days is not frequent enough. The image below is a good example.

marketing automation  

All communications come from one of your top sales people, let's call him John, from now on.

All communications are multi-channel, so this includes emails, phone calls, InMail, social media posts, LinkedIn connections, etc.

Some communications can be run automatically. As an example, the StrategyMix Marketing System can easily "wake up" to send an email to Mary at a specific time on a set day.

But other communications have to be run through, what we call, "instruction emails". This is an email that is sent to say John, your top salesperson, to instruct him that it is time to call Mary, or connect with Mary or send Mary an InMail.

The sequence of communications will need to be tested and optimised through time, so that John's marketing program becomes as responsive as possible.

To make this work, we also have a "secret" ingredient. A dedicated "personal" marketing consultant (think personal trainer) who will work on each campaign to optimise the message timing and content for John, so that we adopt his language, so the messaging becomes as authentic as possible.

What does the Personal Marketing Consultant do?

First, they need to customise the messaging for each communication, which is a copywriting process.

They also need to provide "quality control" to select only the best content for your prospects, which will include your own content.

Finally, they need to develop and manage social media campaigns to promote the content, so this means LinkedIn posts, etc.

We're allocating 3 hours per campaign for the personal marketing consultant.

A Different Type of Email

When we run a 1-to-1 campaign, we use a different type of email.

These emails are designed to look more "real", to appear as though they have genuinely come from John.

We find that while "HTML/Graphic Emails", comply with corporate design guide lines they very obviously look like an advertisement and are therefore not perceived to be "real". As a result, they are often deleted or ignored because few people have time to waste. They need to get on with responding to real emails.

These emails do have some branding of course, but it is "Personal Branding" to promote John, because the objective here is to make him the Trusted Advisor. This branding is contained in an expanded footer that has his email, his direct phone, his link to LinkedIn.

With his permission, we will also include his photo, so that his photo becomes an "icon" which is consistent across all his messaging: LinkedIn, Twitter, emails, etc.

Building a Response Database

Core to any successful marketing program is a responsive database, so we need to build one.

We start by consolidating all the data with which your top sales person, John, has a relationship.

Assigned leads in the CRM system is the first and most obvious source, but we go much further than that. We show you how to export John's primary contacts from LinkedIn, all of which have up-to-date emails.

And we show you how to export John's Outlook contacts, which we then de-duplicate.

Obviously, both the LinkedIn and Outlook contacts have to be segmented to separate "prospects" from "others", ie: personal friends or people that John may have connected with on LinkedIn but can't quite remember why.

Finally, there are the business cards. With one of our clients, they reached into their bottom draw and produced a stack of business cards about 4 inches high. None of these were in the CRM.

All this data needs to be consolidated. This is how we start to build a responsive database.

So why does 1-to-1 Marketing turn the marketing world upside down?

Because it's a huge change from "mass" to "micro". It completely reverses many of the core principles on which modern B2B marketing is based and on which all your vendors operate.

To a degree, its' a philosophical change from mass - large scale - industrial - impersonal marketing to micro - personalised - and relevant marketing.

It's a change:

- From mass emails from "no reply@" (which is just rude) to a personal email from "john.smith@"
- From a cold call from an external telemarketing agency to a call from John
- From "corporate marketing" to personal marketing, where prospects literally form a LinkedIn connection with John, their new Trusted Advisor

What are the potential benefits of a Reseller Marketing 1-to-1 program?

The first and most important benefit is that John achieves Trusted Advisor status with many more prospect accounts.

Communications with prospects are much easier for a Trusted Advisor, because the prospects take your calls and answer your emails. This, by the way, is one way you can tell if you've reached the status of Trusted Advisor.

Building a solid pipeline is not difficult for Trusted Advisors and so increased sales must surely follow. It's just a matter of time.

How do you know if this 1-to-1 Marketing Program is going to work for you?

While we know this is program is going to work, you do not and the reality is that you're never going to know if it will work for you unless you try it.

So, we're proposing that you run a 6 month trial.

The purpose of the trial is to answer these 4 questions:

1. Is the Marketing 1-to-1 approach significantly more effective than any other marketing program, you've ever tried?
2. After 6 months, has John been able to achieve Trusted Advisor status in say twice as many prospect accounts?
3. Are you being invited to participate in more opportunities?
4. What pipeline growth can be attributed directly to the 1-to-1 marketing program?

How much does a 1-to-1 Marketing Program cost?

The answer is $400 per campaign per "Top Sales Person".

A typical trial would be for 6 months which, if you have a 14 day interval between campaigns, is 12 campaigns. 12 campaigns at $400 each, is $4800.

A campaign, by the way, is defined as the promotion of an asset, which is done via email and via social media.

This gives you access to one of the most advanced marketing programs in the world, but whose going to pay for it?

The answer is that it depends. Here are 3 options:

a) You could get one vendor to pay for all of it through your MDF
b) Or you could get a mix of vendors to sponsor the campaigns, ie: 3 vendors pay $1600 each for 4 campaigns each
c) Or you could choose to pay for some of the campaigns yourself, most likely because you want to promote your own services on which, as you know, you earn higher margins.

When it comes to the payment question, the options are very flexible.

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