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.
Channel Maven Blog
I’m not sure if you remember, but in 2014 (or so), Google made a significant statement regarding the evolution of mobile devices. They basically forced everyone to create mobile-friendly websites or risk losing page rank. Of course, as avid smartphone users, we appreciated this move. Our Channel Partners however – not so much. Back then many were just figuring out the do’s and don’ts of web pages and basic SEO. So, the idea of mobile-readiness, was added to the bottom of an already long list. Of course, about a year later, in late 2015, mobile devices officially replaced desktops/laptops as the preferred route to the Internet and mobile-first indexing was born.
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.
With the virtual event market predicted to reach $4 billion over the next five years, our ability to engage Channel Partners through online events is more powerful than ever. Of course, the time and resources required to successfully plan and execute virtual events do not come without challenges. Working with Vendors daily, the major hurdles we discuss center around delivery tactics and low attendance.
With the event season upon us, I’d like to share a few best practices we employ when working with Vendors to engage Channel Partners via online events:
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:
The Channel has shifted significantly in the past few years. Channel Partners are working with multiple Vendors; end-users are driving digital transformation, and customers want business outcomes instead of solutions. In addition, new IT channels are cropping up across the landscape as S-a-a-S and other as-a-service Vendors enter the market with always on, from anywhere, cloud-based platforms to address user pain points.
Hiring the right Channel Account Managers (CAMs) can make or break your relationship with Channel Partners, increase (or decrease) their ability to drive revenue with your solutions, and greatly impact their willingness to engage with your teams. In a recent presentation at the 20th anniversary of Channel Focus North America, Heather K. Margolis gave details on the top traits of world-class CAMs. Here are three to look for when hiring an effective CAM:
Twitter is one of those love-it-or-hate-it social platforms. It can be time consuming and confusing but historically it’s been a significant driver of traffic to websites, which impacts SEO and Search Engine rankings. We love that part - but lately, Twitter’s been noticeably sluggish, engagement is more difficult to come by, and followers don’t stream in like they used to.
This week we were honored to sponsor the 20th anniversary of Channel Focus North America in San Diego. It was the best Channel Focus event to date; smart panel discussions, expert presenters, tons of networking with Channel executives and a killer view!
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?