8. June 2016
Driving demand and increasing revenue through the channel is one of the biggest challenges facing channel executives today. You’ve spent millions of dollars on co-brandable materials, marketing automation tools and your own demand generation to acquire leads but none of it seems to be working. Or if it is working, it should be or could be better. Meanwhile, partners continue to demand more leads, but what are they doing with them? Smaller partners aren’t using your resources and nationals are asking for more money for activities you both know drive demand. So how do you catch more Zzz’s when this is weighing on you?
Here are a few suggestions:
Categorize partners differently Up to this point you’ve been giving marketing support to partners based on tiers. Take a step back. Think about them in terms of “marketing rank.” True, some partners need a one:many solution because, let’s face it, they aren’t your core. Forget about them for a minute and look at your other partners. Put them in marketing categories like Top partners (don’t need as much help), Growth partners (hungry and use your resources), and Sales partners (won’t execute on marketing without a lot of handholding). Once segmented, it’s easier to see how to put the right information in front of them.
Help partners with the last mile It’s one thing to give marketing resources and qualified leads to partners, but knowing they work with you and up to 25 other vendors, can you expect them to execute effectively? When it comes to your most important relationships – the growth partners primed for success – you may want to consider holding their hands even more. When we work with partners on behalf of vendors, we’re often taking pieces of marketing or sales execution off their plates. These are the details normally dropped by busy partners but are integral to success. A little handholding goes a long way to putting vendors top-of-mind and influencing partners’ excitement towards demand gen marketing activities.
Start with education and awareness Simply handing partners the same old resources isn’t enough. First, they need to see the bigger picture. Understanding integrated marketing in the digital landscape is not their forte and it gets complicated fast. Educating partners is key but you have to do it in the way that works best for them. Sure, they want to know how to engage prospects on social media, how social selling puts them in front of the right decision makers and why blogging matters. Partners are busy and pulled in many directions – always – and they need these lead generation resources and tools positioned correctly before they will use them. When educating them, take their time limitations into consideration. Create bite-sized educational materials like short videos and webinars vs. lengthy or written alternatives.
This post by Heather Margolis, President and Founder, Channel Maven Consulting was recently published in our new eBook,The Top 10 Things Making Channel Chiefs into Insomniacs, and What to do About It. In creating this guide for Channel Chiefs, we tapped our network of top channel strategists to provide thoughtful, meaty, practical advice on Chiefs' key questions about the market today. Click here to down full eBook for recommendations that will help you transform your channel operations, accelerate your indirect sales — and sleep peacefully.