Honing Your Partner Proposition Part Two: Understanding Different Partner Types
June 15, 2021
Channel Basics Revealed: The Pros and Cons of Exclusive Partner Deals
June 23, 2021

You Cannot Achieve Your Goals Without a Marketing Engine to Drive Your Indirect Sales

You rely on marketing automation for your own salespeople, so why leave your partners to fend for themselves when your brand is on the line?

More than three-quarters of marketers use some form of marketing automation technology today, according to Social Media Today. By the end of 2021, the number will be nearly 90% among enterprise organizations.

When it comes to investing in through channel partner automation (TCMA) — the kind that vendors use to enable channel partners to run effective marketing campaigns on their behalf — the numbers tell a very different story. Less than half of vendor organizations provide TCMA technology to partners, according to Forrester Research. While the number is growing, it’s not close to what it should be for organizations to fulfill their marketing ambitions, according to Forrester Research analyst Jay McBain.

For years, McBain has predicted that a “third-wave” of digital selling will take root in the corporate world, one that is propelled, in part, by business partners that historically haven’t played much of a role in vendor brand enhancement.

“Enabling partners of all types to leverage vendor content, messaging, branding, and demand generation initiatives in their local markets is critical to driving a winning customer experience,” McBain has written. “Those brands that can balance their direct and indirect execution while ensuring consistent customer expectations through distributed and localized marketing will have outsized success in the market.”

Despite its promise, however, a lack of widespread adoption of TCMA is holding back this promising wave of business transformation. This begs a question that you should consider if your investments into TCMA are underwhelming:

You don’t compete without marketing automation for your company, so why leave your partners to fend for themselves when your brand is on the line?

We at Impartner, which provides one of the world’s most advanced TCMA platforms, have heard all the excuses before. The three we hear most are:

  • Our existing CRM and marketing automation platform (MAP) does just fine on its own
  • TCMA is an under-utilized investment
  • Channel partners aren’t really interested in marketing

Here’s why you’re kidding yourself if you believe these falsehoods.

Our existing CRM and marketing automation platform does just fine on its own

No doubt MAPs have revolutionized go-to-market strategies the world over. But MAPs aren’t designed to help you effectively market your products and services through partners. For that, you’ll need a TCMA, which is purpose built for the task.

Here are three reasons why your MAP is no substitute for TCMA:

  • You cannot localize business partner campaigns with MAP technology
  • You cannot customize through-channel initiatives with a MAP
  • You cannot prioritize the timing of channel marketing activities with a MAP

Consider some specific things you cannot do in a MAP that you can easily do with a TCMA. With a robust TCMA solution, you can customize campaigns around products, services, price points, geographies, reseller authorizations and much more. You cannot do that with a MAP. Nor can you give partners the flexibility to run your campaigns on their time schedule with a MAP.

Also, you can easily attach a partner’s logo to your mailings and landing pages with a TCMA, but not in a MAP. You can also append a partner’s social media feed or its URL to its homepage with your TCMA, but not with your typical MAP.

We could go on — and on — but you get the picture. Like a screwdriver, you can do a lot with your existing MAP. But try as you might, you cannot use it to inflate a tire.

TCMA is an under-utilized investment

While accurate, this sentiment if also woefully incomplete. Impartner has done extensive research on the topic and identified why TCMA systems are chronically underutilized. Among other things, business partners complain that ease of use leaves them wanting and that key steps are not automated. To combat this, Impartner has launched a new TCMA platform offers partners a simple, four-step adoption process can be completed in minutes — literally. After enrolling, partners quickly realize that vendor campaigns will run automatically afterwards, resulting in a steady stream of leads that can flow indefinitely. What is more, all co-branding is automated. No additional partner input is required in order to participate in campaigns once a partner provides its logo and contact information.

Channel partners aren’t really interested in marketing; they focus on technology instead

While once true, this maxim is an outdated as a DVD player. Contrary to popular belief, marketing spending as percent of revenue has actually increased among partners as they have tried to promote their brands along with those of their vendors. Small companies, in particular, have hiked their spending. In fact, they spend a greater percent of revenue on marketing than their larger channel counterparts, on average.

But don’t just take our word. Consider CompTIA’s “State of the Channel” study. Researchers have probed historically probed thousands upon thousands of partners worldwide on their view of go-to-market strategies and more. In particular, researchers asked, “Which of the following facets of joint selling/marketing [with vendors] are most relevant to your firm and/or most likely to contribute value?”

At the top of list, naturally, are the usual suspects: more quality leads and better negotiating leverage. But also high on the list is something that underscores a growing desire among partners to step up their marketing with vendor allies: the opportunity to tap into digital the marketing expertise and social media know-how of vendor partners. Today, nearly one-third of partners today say these capabilities are highly relevant to their organizations. So, too, is the ability to “appear bigger and more sophisticated to the customer” thanks to new digital capabilities.

Which brings us back to you. You have a powerful sales engine today. But without a TCMA, there’s no way you can fire it on all cylinders. How do you expect to get your destination on time?

For insights on how you can use a TCMA to drive your indirect marketing, start by clicking here.