The trouble with the channel is that there’s never enough time, resource or budget available.
You want to plan activity and build a better partner experience and yet you also have to fit in with what corporate are doing. You have to respond to requests from partners, maintain an inadequate partner portal, then profile, look for and recruit new partners. You have to on-board new partners with as good a first impression as possible and get them transacting – but what is in your welcome pack? Do you even have a welcome pack?
At the same time, you have to motivate and reward existing partners (and the new ones), find new ways to engage and enable them and make yourselves stand out from other vendors that are competing for mind-share. Oh hang on, in comes another request for MDF - an event to organise with a partner - so you better get that sorted and there are several new partner plaques to send out. You have a partner award entry to approve, you need to re-write a load of corporate end-user assets (or just “simply channelise them”) and get them translated and artworked into 12 different languages, and you need to sort that disti out! Have you collated all that content for the latest, already late, newsletter that very few people will read anyway?
It’s a good job you have a decent sized team around you to help get all this sorted… But wait, there is just one of you?
The trouble with channel marketing is that sensible, strategic marketing is often overlooked and replaced by reactive, tactical activity based on the (partner) priorities of today.
We see a lot of people consumed by the tactical approach to channel marketing and communications, needing to react to what is required (internally from corporate and externally from distis and partners), often at the expense of normal marketing habits… planning and execution.
And guess what folks… it’s not just a case of taking what corporate have done and “using it for partners”. Seems like a good idea, but in reality it just doesn’t work. There are too many things that are different in terms of what has impact with partners vs what has impact with the end user.
It’s easy to get mixed up in the day to day ‘trouble’ that the channel causes. Short term bits and pieces often get in the way of ‘better thinking’. The needs of the channel must be addressed. Products need to be launched. And at the same time, long term channel objectives can be fitted in and must be attended to.
This is where “trouble” becomes opportunity. There is a real tendency to put things off, to delay and to lose sight of the ultimate channel objective – to provide your channel partners (and distis) with the best experience possible that will enable them to sell more of your stuff. Bottom line, that is it. Ask yourself this question “Are we doing enough to enable them to sell more of our products/services?” I am confident that quietly, to yourself, your answer will be “PROBABLY NOT” - (publicly and sat around a board table you will do all you can to justify a Yes, understood).
The opportunity lies in the fact that you are not in this alone. Our experience suggests that it is very common to not be offering the best possible experience for your partners. Therefore, there is a massive opportunity for you and currently, it is bigger than ever. Now could be the time for you to really stand out!
This is essentially where a good channel agency comes in. purechannels understands the need for rapid response. We operate in many cases, for most of our clients, on a 24-48hour turnaround. We lead strategic discussions and have recently completed an 18month partner program over-haul, creating an “industry-first” with a major vendor. At the same time as we are supporting clients at this level, we will turn an email, a pdf, a PPT around in 24hours. We will design event stand graphics in a couple of days. We will speak to one of your partners and advise them on some short-term lead gen activity – and even carry out the campaign for them.
This is the channel. We understand the complexities of it. We can help simplify it and we can help you to turn trouble into opportunity.
It’s what we do.
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Partner Relationship Management (PRM) platforms (or ‘Partner Portals’) have long been the foundation of vendor partner programs throughout the channel and should be classed as a business-critical system. Read more