Posted By: Mike Moore, Averetek /
While there are a lot of similarities in building partner channels around the world, there are some important regional differences to consider to achieve success. During a recent episode of Office Hours with Mike and Peter, we spoke with Marcelo Vidigal Monteiro de Barros, CEO of SalesImpact!, a marketing agency based in São Paulo, Brazil.
Marcelo and his team have worked with global leaders like Apple, Cisco, HP, IBM, Intel, Samsung, Sky, Telefonica, and Vivo, among others. Marcelo had some great advice to share regarding the best way engage channel partners in Latin America.
For some of the key points, here are four of the most important topics we discussed:
1. Don’t Think of Latin America is One Homogeneous Region
If you’re entering the region or trying to drive growth, focus on Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina.
While Latin America has some common attributes across the region, there are also many differences. Economic growth and technology adoption is much greater in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina than in the rest of the region. These countries are considered emerging and developing economies.
According to the World Bank report, Global Economic Prospects, June 2017: A Fragile Recovery, “growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is projected to strengthen to 0.8 percent in 2017, as Argentina and Brazil emerge from recessions.” The report also states that growth in Mexico is slowing amid increased concerns about trade with the United States.
The next tier of countries that are growing, albeit at a slower rate
The Caribbean islands have had an incredibly difficult season with several hurricanes and tropical storms impacting the area. Recovery of core services will take precedence over other economic initiatives for the foreseeable future.
2. Take a Long-Term Approach and Consider Intermediaries
Latin culture is known for being more social than the United States. Relationships matter so taking a long-term approach to building partnerships in the region is important.
If you’re unable to commit to hiring people in the region who will be part of your long-term plan, consider working with agencies or distributors in the region. In qualifying any agencies or distributors, ensure that they are in-country, not managing things from afar, as Marcelo points out that this approach is ineffective. Also, distributors may not deliver on all the value-added services promised so be leery about promises made and build check-points into any formal business relationships.
Networking is just as important in Latin America as it is in the United States and Europe. Consider developing professional connections to connect with the business community interested in your solutions.
3. Plan to Take an Active Role in Helping Partners
The marketing maturity of channel partners is, in Marcelo’s opinion, about three to five years behind channel partners in the United States. While through-partner marketing, where partners do the work with tools and content provided by brands, is the most desirable approach, it’s often not realistic.
Instead, plan an assisted, or with-partner marketing approach and consider concierge services delivered by your staff or an agency to help channel partners plan and execute marketing campaigns. You’ll have much greater success in terms of the amount of activity generated and more tangible lead and pipeline results than if you rely on partners to do things on their own.
Over time, the hope is that partners mature and become more self-sufficient. This evolution is something channel partners in the United States and Europe are going through now.
4. Translated Content is a Requirement
Partners in Latin America, like many other regions, won’t take content given to them in English and translate it into their language for use in customer marketing. The cost and effort required to professionally translate the content will make this a non-starter.
Worried about the cost of translating that 10-page whitepaper? You should be because the ROI isn’t likely to be very good. Like many other regions, Latin American buyers are interested in smaller, lighter pieces of content. Consider short eBooks or video content for use in Latin America.
If you’re planning to work with an agency to be the bridge between your company and channel partners, many of those agencies offer translation services as part of their work. And if they don’t, or you prefer to do the work on your own, consider a professional translation services company like Lionbridge, an Averetek partner to do the work. In my experience, translating content is like tree cutting. You could do it yourself, but it’s much safer to let professionals do the work.
In addition to translation, consider localizing the messaging and stories used in your content. For example, buyers prefer to hear about companies in their region rather than hear about American companies.