Regardless of your political or religious affiliations, 2017 has been an exhausting year. Whether your team won or lost, I think we can all acknowledge we’re fine seeing 2017 come to a close and hope that 2018 brings collaboration, cohesiveness, and maybe even a little calm? #1 in Chip Cutter’s 50 Big Ideas for 2018 is taking a digital detox and I, for one, am in! Along with the next health craze, the unforgettable public social blunders by a celebrity, and the next fidgeter’s best friend, here are our predictions for the Channel in 2018.
Channel Program Makeovers Proliferate
There was a ton of consolidation and business model shift in 2017. Whether vendors were finally shifting offerings to entice and enable MSPs and the move to the cloud they’ve been telling Partners about for years, or the need for that shift made them join forces with another Vendor, it’s been a busy year for reestablishing Channel relationships and promising Partners everything is good (whether it is or not) and they are still Channel friendly.
2018 will see many of those Vendors revamping their Channel programs. Hopefully, in this process, Vendors will do away with cantankerous requirements and hoops to jump through and finally think about what’s right for their Partners’ businesses. We also plan to see (and suggest) that programs better mold to a Partner type as opposed to a one-size-fits all model.
Channel Infrastructure is in the Spotlight
In the early 2000’s everyone had a portal or what we referred to as… a dumping ground (stay with me, it has a happy ending). Then Vendors tried doing without them, or just calling them something different thinking Partners wouldn’t still think they were a dumping ground.
In 2018 the portal is back and actually useful. Portals, PRMs, marketing automation, social and website syndication, are taking up more and more Channel budgets every year. But are they worth it? If it increases your ease of doing business from a Partner’s perspective, yes!
How do you make them successful? A successful implementation and launch is key! We’ve project managed smooth and challenging ones and it comes down to the implementation team and how well you planned your launch. Oh and the platform makes a difference so, give us a call and we’ll tell you what has worked well!
Inbound Partner Recruitment™ Eclipses Dialing for Dollars
You don’t buy things from a cold caller so as a Partner, why would you join a new Vendor program a cold caller suggested? The old model was: develop a program value proposition that fit any and all Partner types, buy 10,000 names and start calling! That just doesn’t work anymore. We create a true inbound campaign and at the end, Partners don’t feel “recruited” they feel like they’ve made a decision that’s right for their company. They will be enabled and productive faster and the old 80:20 rule will slowly shift in your favor.
Communication Strategies and Execution Plans are no Longer a Nice to Have
If a new program, resource, or event fails 90% of the time it is due to the communications plan. Simply bombarding with email doesn’t work any longer. I’m not saying stop emailing, you just need to do it right. The right format, timing, cadence, tone, subject line, and so much more. That paired with other communication mediums all saying the same thing, is the best way to get your message across.
To ensure your Partners receive the message you need them to, say the same thing with a combination of email, newsletters, speakers at events, video, webcasts, and social media. Internal communication is key as well to ensure your Partner-facing teams, who are your megaphone, are saying the same things you are.
We want to thank you all for making 2017 great and less stressful despite what is going on all around us! Here’s to a fresh start and everyone getting along in 2018!
We’d love to hear from you and share what we’re seeing and hearing! What are your biggest challenges for 2018?
Check out our previous predictions, how did we do?
2017: Channel Marketing Trends
2016: Channel Marketing Trends
2013: Channel Marketing Trends