The most commonly asked question – and even multiplied when a customer is new to the world of enabling their partners with marketing. There is no more efficient way to grow vendor revenue than through your partners/affiliates. Partners essentially magnify the reach of your vendor’s products, enabling a large global company to affect even the smallest, most niche markets.
But, how do you enable these partners in an efficient and cost-effective way? Here are 5 considerations to implementing a best practice channel marketing program:
1. Different partners will need different things.
A best practice channel marketing program has different content and tools for various partner types. From your small VAR to a mid-market solution partner or DMR, to the ISV and OEM partners to the distributors – they all need different support to make them effective at selling your products. Many VARs may not have the time or resources to dedicate a team to marketing. As a result, they will require more turnkey campaigns and appreciate access to an easy-to-use marketing automation system (but not your Marketo or Eloqua); the large DMRs may have a robust marketing organization, but will need easy access to vendor content that is customizable enough for a CDW or a Presidio to feel comfortable using.
2. It makes simplicity and accessibility a lot easier.
Partners are busy. Partners want to sell. Partners represent countless brands and products. As a result, vendors needs to make it easy for their partners to market on their behalf. Simply adding tools and content won’t compel partners to do more marketing. Give them an easy way of finding and accessing marketing content, allowing them to do all of their marketing from one system.
3. If you just build it, it is unlikely they’ll come.
Through partner marketing starts with to partner marketing. Best practice is all about keeping partners updated with what’s newly available. Engage your partners through social media, webinars and live events to effectively capture their attention – marketing them as if they were your customers. After all, if effect, they are.
4. B2B marketing today is complicated. Make it easy for partners to be good marketers.
There’s no doubt that with the increase of marketing tools and explosion of marketing data, effective marketing has become a mountain many partners are challenged to climb. Email alone does not work. Social media is great, but it doesn’t generate leads. Webinars are incredibly effective, but they are time consuming and onerous to produce. Instead, package all of these multifaceted channel tools into integrated campaigns, allowing partners to execute them in one click! With the potpourri of tactics you have for your direct marketing, brainstorm what you would like to extend into the channel.
5. It’s not all about leads!
Within the best practice channel marketing I have come across, vendors understand that success isn’t just measured by transitions (number of emails/social posts/leads). Countless vendors want to track every lead, and every marketing metric – all in search of the elusive channel marketing ROI. This is shortsighted (and very difficult). Success is a manifold, and the KPIs the successful moniker can vary from company to company. For one company, partner engagement (actually having the ear and eye of the partner) may be the first milestone. For another, the goal may be expanding the reach that the vendor has through the partners (focusing on improving partner mailing lists, increasing partner social connections, etc). By simply providing better and more effective marketing support to partners, vendors can go a long way in gaining and retaining the attention of their very busy partner ecosystem.