Every single day we speak with Vendors about infrastructure to help them better engage and enable their Channels. Luckily, we’ve never built our own and refuse to take referral fees so, we remain unbiased when working with Vendors to discover what’s best for them. Putting together a robust infrastructure is typically a huge undertaking but it doesn’t have to be. It’s possible to take baby steps or take on some elements and not others.
Channel Maven Blog
Today’s Channel Partners are more often than not born in the cloud, driving recurring revenue models, and they don’t typically refer to themselves as your “Partner.” In their minds, they are just one of many technology companies leveraging (your) IT solutions to drive success for their customers. It's all part of the shifting Channel.
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.
If you’re content strategy nerds (like us), you might agree, blogging to a Partner audience is fascinating. No, seriously, think about it.
There’s no shortage of arguments for and against paid vs. organic traffic. They both have advantages, associated costs, and expected outcomes (when done right). For Channel Partners considering PPC for their Channel Partner marketing strategy, it can be frustrating, time-consuming, and daunting to learn the nuances of PPC. However, if they execute a marketing strategy for PPC before fully understanding where to begin, it can be an enormous waste of money.
As Twitter says, “You are what you Tweet.” Sad but true; more than one reputation has been built or destroyed in 140 characters or less.
Channel Partners are pulled in many directions. They’re working with multiple Vendors across many solutions, tending to the needs of their customers, leading a team, and driving their business towards success; which usually means revenue growth. On the flip side, Vendors are vying for Partner mindshare and doing everything they can to make programs simple and profitable in hopes their Partners go to market with them. That’s today’s Channel.