As The Channel evolves alongside digital transformation, Partners continue to work through their shifts from one-and-done sales models to recurring revenue while working with multiple Vendors. Staying top-of-mind with Channel Partners has always been a challenge for Vendors and as The Channel shifts, the challenge becomes greater and more complicated.
Channel Maven Blog
Every day on social media, in the news, and at the “water cooler” we hear about the gender gap, a critical need for more women in STEM, and how difficult it is for women to gain traction in a “man’s world,” especially in the tech sector. Through public speaking, participating in and supporting organizations like Cloud Girls, CompTIA’s AWIT (Advancing Women in Tech) and others, we're working to make a difference.
What feels like a l-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng time ago, Channel Partner recruitment was (so much) easier. Vendors had their pick from a long list of Partners waiting, hoping, and striving to be an extension of their sales team. Not anymore. Today’s Partners are diversifying their services, creating their own solutions, selling outcomes, and working with multiple Vendors all-day - everyday.
Vendors know that sales and marketing alignment drives about 20% more growth and see the win-win in enabling their Partners in this direction. However, if our conversations are any indication, many Channel Partner organizations have adopted a few best practices towards integrated sales and marketing strategy (aka SMarketing), but there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
In a perfect, inbound world where demand is auto generated and leads are lining up at your virtual door, marketing and sales are 100% aligned. However, with a historic “love-hate” relationship between the two, achieving this utopia is no small feat for any sized partner organization especially those working with 5 – 25 Vendors at any given time.
At ChannelCon 2017, I had the pleasure of speaking alongside Larry Walsh, CEO of The 2112 Group on why integrating sales and marketing for inbound demand generation is critical for driving more revenue through The Channel:
While we talk an awful lot about email-type communications being overwhelming and bombarding, we are huge fans of newsletters. They are a great way to aggregate a lot of information and cut down on multiple emails.
They also enable you to relay important information to Channel Partners regarding your solutions, program, resources and other offerings. Unfortunately, they are losing effectiveness as Partners are now working with anywhere from 5 – 25 Vendors which means as many newsletters. In those cases, the volume of incoming information from co-workers, Vendors, customers, prospects, solicitors, and others can be overwhelming. I don’t know about you but I don’t read a newsletter if the rest of my inbox is out of control unless there is something incredibly useful in it.
We’ve all done it. You get into a rut communicating to Partners; the same old email here, the same stale newsletter there. Unfortunately, what happens is a global tune out of your entire Channel. Why should they care when it feels like you don’t?
This morning I pulled out my back. Stay with me, this will make sense for the Channel, I promise. If it doesn’t I’ll blame the muscle relaxers, but stay with me anyway.
I pulled out my back, like walking bent over and not able to pick up anything more than my laptop and immediately sought help from a few resources. Namely a chiropractor, massage therapist, and physical therapist. All of them said, “Well, you need to make sure your core is solid before you do anything else.”
Channel Jeopardy Anyone?!
Answer: Four preeminent Channel analysts, all of whom left their posts to take executive positions in the last 12 months.
Question: Who are Tiffani Bova, Laz Gonzalez, Darren Bibby, and Tim Harmon?
What else do they all have in common? They will be contestants to my “Alex Trebek” in our “Channel Jeopardy” session at the ‘Leveraging New Technologies to Amp Your Channel's Effectiveness’ symposium being put on by Nuvello May 8th and 9th. I assure you, you will not want to miss this! [And NO, I will not be wearing a mustache (sorry, Alex).]
The Channel Maven team has a collective 100 years experience in the channel so, it’s probably no big surprise that we often converse about best-in-class Channel Programs and which components lead to a successful Channel. Lately, we’ve been looking at it from the Partner journey perspective and how this point of view can help build an ideal Channel Program.
When looking for Vendor options, there are of course some common elements Partners identify and review. But beyond those, how (other than looking at sponsored award winners) can they define channel success or rank channel opportunities in order to make the best decision for their situation?
As a Partner looking to add a Vendor to your portfolio, or as a Vendor trying to attract Partners, here are some factors to take into consideration: