Chatbots in the Channel

Channel Partners, Chatbots

When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, there are several applications that are becoming common due to the low cost and accessibility of AI-based platforms from Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Amazon. Among the many opportunities for sales and marketing, chatbots and virtual assistants are emerging as a way for companies to provide better customer service at a lower cost.

For brands who go to market with and through channel partners, chatbots can be utilized to service your channel partners and their customers and prospects.

7 Scenarios for Blockchain in the Channel

Channel Marketing, Channel Partners, Blockchain

With mainstream awareness of blockchain-based products and services increasing thanks to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, there’s a lot of buzz about the decentralized technology but very little understanding of what it is and its potential as a disruptive force.

I have been spending some time thinking about what blockchain-based channel tools could mean for brands and their channel partners. All relationships require trust to be successful. And transactions of any kind between two parties require trust, but it’s not always easy, especially given the ups and downs of typical business relationships.

According to Mike Orcutt writing for the MIT Technology Review, “the whole point of using a blockchain is to let people—in particular, people who don’t trust one another—share valuable data in a secure, tamper proof way.”

Blockchain-based systems are potential game-changers for indirect channels. They offer the potential for transparent, trusted and accountable partnerships. But they don’t exist yet, so for now, it’s interesting to consider the possibilities.

There Are Two Types of CMOs When It Comes to Channel Marketing. Which Is Yours?

Channel Strategy, Inbound Channel Marketing, Executive Engagement

No matter what role you hold in your company, having the support of the C-level executive you roll up into makes your job easier, especially when it comes to securing funds and resources for programs and campaigns. But before you go make your pitch, it’s important to consider who you’re presenting to. A common theme I’ve noticed among channel marketers is that they say their Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) fall into one of two categories: CMOs who “get” the channel and those who don’t.

CMOs who “get” the channel understand the role of channel partners as they relate to the strategic aspects of partners as a route to market as well as how best to leverage channel partners specifically for sales and marketing execution. These CMOs typically have a background where they have worked with channel partners at some point in their career, whether their past roles were in field marketing or in a specific channel marketing role that put them in close contact with partners.

6 Steps to Effective Channel Partner Training

Channel Enablement

Imagine you're hired as a new employee. On your first day, you’re sent off to your desk with little more than directions to the nearest bathroom. At the same time, you’re expected to hit the ground running and do your job well.

Does this sound familiar? Unfortunately, it’s true for many of us, at some point in our careers. Regrettably, the same goes for many channel partners.

Many companies neglect to ensure that their channel partners are not just receiving content but reading and using it to its maximum potential .

Drive Channel Partner Sales Success with Content

Channel Partners, Content Marketing, Channel Enablement

The digital landscape is a crowded place. Even established brands can get lost in the cacophony of content that fills the Internet if they don't have a clear content plan. Useful, helpful and engaging content is paramount. Sharing content through channel partners offers additional opportunities to stand out. Here's how to help channel partners become more successful with content:

Announcing the Channel Scorecard, a Tool to Benchmark Programs

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.

The Influence of Natural Selection on Partner Marketing

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.

When Is It the Right Time to Pilot in Channel Marketing?

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?

Alexa, Help Me Build a Great Channel Program

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.

The High Cost of Partner Sales Conferences


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.