Posted By: Mike Moore, Averetek /
While discussing plans for the year ahead with a channel-focused tech company, their global channel marketing leader talked about how their team was incredibly focused on using their channel marketing platform as the destination for all their programs and initiatives. That’s not an uncommon goal that I hear when talking to channel marketing leaders. What was uncommon is that this leader referred to their company’s use of the platform as a key piece of their noise-reduction strategy.
For too long, this channel marketing leader felt their team had been run ragged by partners looking for information, content, resources, etc. through a near constant stream of emails and questions during regular meetings with partners. Only after some discussion and self-reflection did this channel marketing team realize that they needed to make some changes if they ever wanted to escape from being randomized by their inboxes.
As they examined the situation, they saw some recurring themes:
- Which website? Like many companies, content for channel partners was distributed around a variety of websites and tools. Some content lived on the partner portal site, some on the marketing platform, while other content was on the learning tool. And of course, there were missing pieces on all those sites that could only be found by asking someone for help, usually via email or by waiting for an upcoming meeting.
- How many programs? While they had invested in tools, each program offered to partners had inconsistent content, tools, and instructions. Without consistency, partners were left to wander, and they often needed to ask for directions which only served to add to the volume of email and questions the channel marketing team received.
- Standard vs. Custom? Many of the requests that came to the channel marketing team from partners appeared to be custom requests for content and support. Upon further review, the team realized that many partners were asking for the same or similar things in a slightly different manner. What appeared to be custom requests were relatively standard, but without a centralized process for fulfilling these requests, each team member was trying to answer their partners’ needs independently.
For those of us who work in channels, these issues are quite common. Coming back to the “noise-reduction strategy,” the noise that the team was trying to reduce was all the back and forth with partners via email. The team didn’t blame the noise on the partners. In fact, they took responsibility for it saying that if they had offered a more consistent playbook for campaigns, a single destination for all programs, and clear and consistent marketing content offerings, partners would be more efficient in their sales and marketing activities. By taking ownership of the noise, the team was also able to own the solution.
Enabling partners to be more efficient in their work was the team’s primary goal, figuring that if partners had what they needed to meet the needs of their customers and prospects, the brand would benefit through increased market awareness, pipeline, and sales results. By implementing their noise-reduction strategy and delivering on the needs of their partners, the team also benefited by getting a significant amount of time back. Using the recovered time to work on coaching partners rather that spending time searching for what partners were asking for has led to improved results and greater job satisfaction for the team. Because the team is using their expertise to help partners, they feel valued and they see greater reward in their work.
How would your company and your channel partners benefit from a noise-reduction strategy? What common questions or requests from partners could you support in a more consistent way? Software can play a role in the solution but success hinges on having a team bought into this plan to really deliver what partners need.