Many tech companies establish alliance partnerships with complementary products, but they fail to monetize these alliances to their full potential because they focus on joint activities rather than the bigger opportunity – activating their joint channel.
For many channel partners, their entire marketing strategy is based on hosting events. Steakhouse dinners, golf outings, and sporting events account for the majority of their "marketing" activity. There are at least two ways to evaluate this approach. From an optimistic point of view, the events can be looked as a fun way to engage prospects. From a more pessimistic point of view, these events can be seen as a huge waste of money and time on an unqualified audience.
Whichever side you sit on, these events don't support scalable growth because of several fundamental flaws:
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.
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.
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:
Many companies who seek to increase the revenue contribution by channel partners think that adding new partners will bring new revenue. This may work in some situations, but before you rush out and recruit a new group of partners, consider whether you’re getting the most out of your current channel partner relationships.
It’s rare to find a software or cloud company that doesn’t offer some type of trial of its software that prospective customers can evaluate before making a purchase decision. Whether your application is for business users or technologists, having the opportunity to tinker with the software can help quickly advance the sales cycle. There’s a frequent problem, however, when it comes to the intersection of trial software and your channel partners, but it is solvable.
Most brands offer Market Development Funds (MDF) to help VARs with their sales and marketing efforts. Each year almost 50% of MDF goes unused. Here's where VARs can get MDF and how you can use it. You can share this advice with them to help them make the most of your program.
To be clear, MDF is free marketing money that you can use to help with lead generation, with very few strings attached. A Gleanster study found that VARS leave $30 billion in MDF on the table each year!
Maybe you didn't know about Market Development Funds and sometimes they're hard to find initially. But these funds will improve your marketing and extend your reach, so don't miss this opportunity. Using these funds will also demonstrate your commitment and partnership with the brand, helping you move up levels in the brand's channel program.