Google Launches “AdWords Premier SMB Partner Program”

Google is introducing what it calls its “AdWords Premier SMB Partner Program.” It’s essentially a vendor referral program for small business (SMB) advertisers interested in working with AdWords. Google has developed a list of companies, many of whom were part of its “authorized reseller” program, to which it will refer SMBs.

The involved vendors get more benefits and greater support than other Google reseller partners it appears. Here are the general criteria for eligibility:

  • Large existing customer base of small / medium sized businesses
  • Tele / field sales force with the ability to sell Google’s advertising products
  • Commitment to provide phone and/or email customer support to their advertiser base
  • Existing operational infrastructure (billing, reporting, etc) to service thousands of customers

Google adds:

Because of the close nature of the way we work with our premier partners, we typically only work with companies that are committed to build their businesses around Google AdWords products and have the ability to build a base of several hundred, and in many cases, several thousand advertisers. If you’d like to explore how we could work with your business, please contact us.

Even as Google promotes its simplified version of AdWords (AdWords Express) and Google Offers to SMBs, the company recognizes its network of channel partners is critical to long-term success in the SMB advertising market.

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Postscript: I spoke with Google’s Ben Wood about the program. He said that in order to become a Premier Partner companies must jump over a number of hurdles. They must subject themselves to vetting and scrutiny by Google, including training and testing. Google monitors and instructs them on product and sales positioning. Google also requires them to do customer satisfaction surveys to ensure that their SMB customers are having a good experience. Google will also receive and investigate complaints associated with the program and these partners.

In exchange they get a great deal more support from Google. The company will also will be doing promotion and certain other types of marketing and lead-gen on their behalf.

Google’s stated objective is to ensure a better AdWords experience for the SMB and to lower the cost of sales for the Premier partners. Google said that it will limit the number of resellers in this category, although it doesn’t have an absolute number in mind and will consider new applicants.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Google: Maps & Local | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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