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.
The way brands and channel partners think about marketing together is changing. The change is being led by the modern digitally-driven buyer who does much of their research online rather than through sales engagement, as has been the case previously. Brands continue to get a ton of traffic on their websites through their own marketing as well as receiving contributions from their channel partners' efforts.. Brands collect leads but generally don't share them with channel partners as many sell direct as well as through-partners.
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.
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.
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.
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?
It takes a village to build a world-class channel program. You know this better than anyone. You and your team partner with a variety of vendors to keep your channel program humming.
When marketers talk about tracking buyer behavior, it's typically within a B2C context. But there's no reason that channel marketers can't use the same tactics to engage partners that have made B2C companies so successful in attracting consumers. Channel marketers who learn how to read their channel partners' digital body language are in a better position to provide those partners what they need to generate leads.
We’re delighted to share the following guest post from Stephen Denny of Denny Marketing, an Averetek Partner.
The single biggest macro trend we could put our finger on in 2016 and beyond is what we call “Seeking Control in an Out-of-Control World.” Its implications should inform everything we do as marketers, communicators, and salespeople. Seeking Control tells us that our trust in the institutions around us—from the media to big business to technology to the government and even sports—has collapsed, ushering in a populist “people-first” wave that encompasses everything from political nationalism to data security to changes in media consumption.