Best Practices, Channel Strategy

One of the themes we discuss in Marketing Multiplied: A real-world guide to Channel Marketing for beginners, practitioners, and executives is that many of us in the channel are somewhat unsure of whether we’re performing well. After all, like many careers, there’s no manual that comes with the job.

In discussing this challenge with some channel peers, we came up with the idea for a scorecard tool that channel professionals could use to self-assess their efforts across a series of categories. The premise is simple enough: answer a few questions, figure out where you stand, and get some advice about how to get to the next level.

Channel Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Channel Strategy

In a recent LinkedIn post, Larry Walsh, CEO and Chief Analyst of The 2112 Group shared his perspective that brands aren’t responsible for transforming their partners’ businesses. As the tech industry shifts its delivery of solutions to the cloud, and as customers shift their buying preferences from purchases (capital expenses) to subscriptions (operating expenses) channel partners must evolve their sales processes, compensation, and solution delivery models to suit the needs of modern buyers. Not making these changes will cause partners to lose relevance in the market and they’re likely to shrink rather than grow their customer base.

Walsh suggests that there is a role for brands to play, but it’s different than taking responsibility.

Channel Strategy

There are times when running a pilot is the best way to move an idea forward.

Calling something a pilot gives it a particular connotation.

A pilot is an experiment. A pilot is temporary. A pilot involves risk.

Your internal standards for approving budget may be different for a pilot versus a full-fledged program.

The external reception for a pilot may be more forgiving.

But you may also see hesitation when recruiting participants.

Why get too invested in a pilot program that may never come to fruition?

Partner Communication

Half the battle in the channel is attracting and holding partner interest. If you can connect with partners, share a message of value with them – something that will help them in their jobs, then you will gain loyalty and support for your initiatives. Creating content that partners will consume is the goal, but it’s also a moving target. Like any marketing audience, you need to put content where your audience will consume it.

For our own marketing, as well as to test out ideas that we think will work for channel marketing, we’ve expanded our communication channels in the last year. Since we know email is challenging, we focused on channels that incorporate on-demand consumption of audio and video content.


Among brands, it’s quite common for large reseller partners to ask you to sponsor their sales kickoff events. The primary reason resellers seek brand sponsors is to pay for the event. The travel costs to fly in their sales reps, the venue for the conference, and the food and beverage expenses add up. The secondary motivation is to get brands to fund sales incentives to motivate their sales reps. With their direction and approval, sales incentives become a powerful tool to help resellers motivate their teams. These aren’t secrets, but it helps to understand that the brand's primary objective (driving more revenue and growth through that partner) isn’t directly aligned with what the reseller is trying to do at their conference.

Channel Marketing

After more than a year of writing and editing, we’re excited to announce that our book, Marketing Multiplied: A real-world guide to Channel Marketing for beginners, practitioners, and executives, will be available in early 2018.

At Averetek, we believe in a marketing approach centered on teaching. We try to share what we know with our clients, prospects, and partners every day. We do this through conversations, emails, blog articles, and eBooks. But all that teaching content comes in small parts. No single piece of content laid out a complete framework for how best to deliver channel marketing, not one that we had created, and nothing from other sources.

We searched Amazon to see what books already exist on the topic of channel marketing and there were none. Knowing that no one goes to school for channel marketing (and we have yet to find a college course that contains this subject) and seeing how hard channel professionals work to figure out how to be successful, we saw an opportunity.

Channe Incentives

As you plan for the new year, consider the role that incentives can play in driving interest in your programs. As marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk says often, we’re all day trading on people’s attention. Want to capture the attention of your channel partners or channel managers? Put together The Big Box of Awesome, a ridiculous prize package comprised of a 4K television, a gaming console, headphones, games, and DVDs and create ways for people to earn chances to win the ultimate incentive. For a couple thousand dollars in prizes, you can motivate people to participate in learning activities, create marketing campaigns, and generate sales opportunities from leads.


For any company who markets to citizens of the European Union, GDPR compliance presents a new set of challenges.

The European Parliament adopted The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in April 2016. GDPR has provisions that require businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of European Union (EU) citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states.

GDPR is scheduled to take effect on May 25, 2018. The penalties for non-compliance are severe. Organizations can be fined up to 4% of annual global revenue for breaching GDPR or €20 Million, whichever is greater.

GRPR affects companies of all sizes, whether they have a presence in the EU or not.

Channel Management, Channel Incentives

In my post, Channel Managers: What’s In It For Them?, I suggested using incentives to try and capture the interest and focus of channel managers to drive partner engagement in channel marketing programs. After all, many channel partners rely on their channel managers to help them figure out what to focus on. So, if you incentivize the channel manager to get the partner to focus on marketing you should see an improvement in partner engagement.

Based on several recent discussions with channel professionals, I’m changing my suggestion to a recommendation. Channel manager incentives are no longer optional for driving channel marketing success. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say it’s risky to start any kind of channel marketing program without including some sort of incentives for channel managers. Incentives can also be vital to stimulating activity during those times of year when it doesn’t come naturally.