Last week we asked is it time the channel created their own partner portals? To which the response from the LinkedIn floor was, perhaps understandably, divided – right down the middle in fact!
On the first Channel Drop-in of the new year, we delve deeper into some of the issues that the discussion threw up around portals and partner engagement with Rick van den Bosch, CEO and founder of channel SaaS vendor Channext.
Our inaugural guest of 2022 describes himself as 'born and raised in the channel', and he offers a refreshing perspective that comes as music to Purechannels CEO Glenn Robertson’s ears. Of course partner portals are still essential to channel vendors in many ways, but the challenge for vendors who invest heavily in a PRM is that their success depends on the partner visiting and engaging, over and over again. And with that comes many challenges, on and offline, across both people and platform.
This is why, Rick says, vendors should focus on getting the portal to the partners rather than trying to get partners to their portal. He relates how, before writing a single line of code, the Channext team spoke to numerous partners to find out why they didn’t use the marketing campaigns and assets that vendors make available – often at great time and expense. The majority of feedback was unsurprising.
‘We have so many vendors to manage, and they all have great content – but I only have maximum one FTE (or zero) marketing resource, so it’s an impossible job to activate and monitor marketing for every vendor.’
Since launching three years ago, Channext is disrupting the market by connecting vendors’ systems to partners’ marketing and sales systems. It’s fascinating to hear how switching up the through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) focus from opt-in to opt-out, has saved partners time while also allowing them more choice and control. The model gives vendors a total overview of what's happening in the channel and has increased partner participation from 10% to as much as 95%. A number most Channel Managers can only dream of – until now!
The last two years may have been exceptional in their full-scale pivot to digital for the channel, but a focus on putting the partner first makes Rick confident Channext will continue to drive change. Not least because, with integrated data systems in place on a given vendor portal, there’s room for a shift from 'partner engagement input metrics' to 'partner engagement impact metrics'.
Listen to the podcast or watch the recording to find out how the emergence of niche, activity-focused solutions in the tech stack alongside the evolution of the all-in-one portal will pan out, according to Rick.
Watch the latest Channel Drop-in with Rick van den Bosch in full.
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