When it comes to channel marketing, we consistently see that channel partners faced with the challenge of managing many vendor brands often opt to market and sell what’s easiest for them. Notice we didn’t say opt to market and sell the largest or most well known brands, or the brands which invest the most time and money in them.
In general, whether a partner will actually engage in marketing a vendor’s solutions relies heavily on 1) The time investment required (partners are busy) 2) The ease of marketing execution (partners aren’t marketing experts for vendor brands) and 3) The expected return of the marketing activity. Basically, from the partner’s POV the process of marketing a vendor’s solutions needs to be short, simple and rewarding. Expected revenue is often the major determinant here, but if partners perceive the path to potential revenue as too timely an investment, or too difficult to execute, ROI diminishes and they are less likely to engage in marketing.
The solution to through partner marketing execution stems from simplifying channel processes. By simplifying and automating channel marketing processes, vendors create a “path of least resistance” for channel partners to market their brand and solutions, which leads to a path of great success.
So how, one may ask, do I create such a pathway for my partners? Great question.
Luckily, we’ve outlined the answer below.
1. Access to the right content
Present marketing content to partners in an organized way which makes it easy for them to navigate and locate the content which is relevant to their business and local buyer market. You likely have a lot of marketing material; not all of it is relevant to each partner. Be the gatekeeper of your content and only provide partners with the assets they want and need. Limiting the content available to certain partners not only simplifies the partner’s experience, but it also ensures that your content is leveraged more effectively to communicate with end customers. You can achieve this simplified partner experience by tagging assets with specific attributes as they are uploaded to your content library (think languages, product lines, campaign names, industry verticals, etc.) this way partners can easily find the content they are looking for. Advanced CMM platforms, like the one StructuredWeb provides through it’s Partner Demand Center, support this capability. If there isn’t a clearly defined path to relevant content and a means of execution, partners can get lost along the way and end up not executing at all.
Provide your partners with ready-made (yet still customizable) campaign templates that require little marketing effort and expertise for execution. Partners often lack the time, skills and resources that it takes to create marketable content. The easier it is for partners to slap on their logo, contact information, and value proposition and be good to go, the more marketing that will actually be executed. For bigger partners, the easier it is for them to take a vendor-focused marketing asset and turn it into a partner-centric asset, the more likely they are to use it.
3. Provide a Playbook
Once partners have access to the right materials and assets, provide them with the “how and when” of execution. You can provide the most relevant, appealing marketing assets, but if partners don’t know what to do with them, they still won’t be executing (or at least not in an efficient, effective way). Handing partners a strategic playbook which aligns campaigns with tactical execution helps them quickly
understand what they should do, and how they should do it.
4. Syndication Tools
When it comes down to it, many partners would be happy if they didn’t have to market for you at all, providing they still generate leads and orders – so why not market on their behalf?
Social Syndication: Based on our findings, less than 5% of partners
choose to post voluntarily on a daily basis for a vendor. When a vendor
syndicates posts through their partners that percentage jumps to 30%.
Content Syndication: By syndicating content, vendor updates to product,
service and promotional offerings automatically display on a partner websites.
This ensures all product information and promotions are up to date, consistent
and most importantly accurate.
5. Take the “marketing” out of partner marketing
By this we mean Marketing Concierge. This service creates the ultimate path of simplicity for partners since the marketing is done for them and there is very little time invested on their end. This also circumvents the partner execution gap. You can appoint a resource internally to market on behalf of your partners or utilize a third party agency to do so. Either way, by taking the marketing work out of the hands of your partners, it allows them to focus on what they do best, and what they want to do most – sell!
Here is a quick use case from one our global customers who have been with us for over six years; based on the steps outlined above, they created a path of least resistance for their partners with StructuredWeb’s platform. The results were staggering. When this customer first came to us, only 7% of their partners were actively executing marketing for them on a monthly basis. After simplifying marketing processes for their partners with our technology and services, that number rose to 75% That is almost a 1000% increase! Just imagine what that did for their sales…
We’ve provided the essential guidelines of simplifying partner marketing and creating a
path that partners will be more likely to engage on, but there are many other
intricacies involved. To dive deeper into creating a path to success for you
and your partners, contact a channel marketing expert at StructuredWeb today.
When two roads diverge, which one will your partners take? Make it yours.