In the past two blogs, Defining Channel Intelligence and The 3 pillars to increase channel success, we looked at how traditional channel management has been replaced by Channel Intelligence. We believe that your partners are central to your channel success, so let’s focus on creating that scalable, predictable channel strategy that you use together.
We’ve mapped this strategy as a symphony with four key elements, each working in perfect harmony: partner recruitment (orchestra), campaigns & assets (form), partner engagement (composer), and channel orchestration (conductor).
We previously saw how the three pillars of Channel Intelligence – Campaign Collaboration, Partner Participation, and Market Insights – will guide you on your journey to a scalable, predictable channel. Hopefully, we completely shifted your mindset by demonstrating how data is the foundation of your channel.
So, what makes Channel Intelligence different from your usual program? The fact that we use data to create a deep connection between you and your partners. We do this by diving into your program together to uncover your true goals, instead of simply helping you to recruit partners.
Before setting up your custom-made Channel Intelligence strategy, we need to understand the four key elements of your channel symphony:
- The orchestra: What kind of partners do you want?
- The form: What kind of campaigns will you provide?
- The composer: Who will activate your partners?
- The conductor: Who will orchestrate your channel?
1. The orchestra: partner recruitment
First things first. What kind of partners are you looking for? Managed or unmanaged?
Managed partners are often larger partners with a few thousand employees. They have their own brand, marketing teams, and social following. We’ll call them the brass section. Managed partners will take up a small percentage of your overall partnerships but will be responsible for a large portion of your revenue. Not to mention, these are the partners most likely to claim your channel marketing dollars.
On the other hand are the unmanaged partners. We’ll describe them as your string section. These partners can be everything from mom and pop shops with a handful of employees, to solution-based companies with a few hundred or thousand employees. Most likely, these partners are fully-focused on following up leads, installation, and servicing products. Time or resources for marketing efforts? Nope!
Helping you find and connect the right partners are your distributors. If you’re working with a large number of partners, having one-on-one conversations with each of them simply isn’t a viable option. Among their many other roles, distributors can help advise and excite your partners about your products. They will require the right assets and information from you in order to do that. Which brings us to…
2. The form: campaigns & assets
Are planning a full-production opera or will an aria do just fine? We often see our vendors afraid to press play on Channel Intelligence because they don’t think they have the right kind of content to convert.
They think they will need to spend a lot on hiring an external marketing agency to create campaigns for them. But is that true? While having professional campaigns created by agencies that know and understand your market is always a great idea, it doesn’t have to be the first step in your journey.
Instead, take a second to reflect on the content and campaigns you already have :
- What content do you have on your website?
- What content do you have in your partner portal?
By using this as your basis, you won’t need to hire that agency – just yet.
Campaigns and assets that you use to speak to your partners are often placed inside a partner portal and are considered to be to-partner communication. Press releases, product updates, brochures. Small tweaks can elevate this kind of content into through-partner communication that is suitable for your end-users.
The most difficult part of campaigns & assets? Creating structure and sharing it with your partners. We have seen time and time again that partners really appreciate getting an overview of what’s to come. Setting aside a little time to plan a whole quarter of campaigns in advance leads to optimal reach. Who will do that?
3. The composer: Partner engagement
We’ve already looked at the different types of partners you can recruit and how to look for campaigns to give to them. Now let’s identify which composer’s melody your orchestra will be playing. Who will engage your partners?
Let’s say you have sparked the interest of a partner and they have applied to take part in your sales and marketing campaigns. Now what? First and foremost, you will need to connect your systems in order to create a flow and exchange of data. But who will do this for you? Your distributor, a channel agency, or a partner success manager like we have at Channext?
It may seem obvious, but connected partners (i.e. those who have connected their social media and ad channels, and have installed a website widget and banners) tend to have higher revenue than non-connected partners. Simply because they are becoming more visible online. A second benefit is that they are strengthening their personal brand, by promoting yours. Third, is that we see vendor brand preference go up with better-connected partners. More connections equal higher engagement.
Identifying who will be creating these connections is a vital step in your symphony.
4. The conductor: Channel orchestration
It seems as though your symphony is almost complete: you have your instruments, you’ve chosen a form, and know who’s music you will be playing. Now it’s time for the last, yet crucial, step: the conductor.
This person will be responsible for leading and carrying the entire symphony; your channel champion if you will. Here at Channext, we often see channel marketers take on this role.
Then it’s all about tuning your instruments or training your channel team. Explaining the new way of working to your partners and distributors and using the data and feedback you receive to continuously improve your channel strategy.
How Channel Intelligence will help you create your ideal symphony
In this article, we saw that there are many parts to a symphony and none less important than the other. Channext has created the Channel Intelligence platform where your players can work together. Allow your partners to sign-up and immediately get campaigns pushed through their channels to end-users – saving time to follow up their new-found leads.
Vendors get access to actionable insights based on 60+ data points. See who your end-users are to create the kind of campaigns that will earn you a standing ovation. Have better conversations with distributors and partners thanks to an overview of high-potential players. We made having those conversations easier too, thanks to real-time messaging and NPS feedback from partners.
All these features – and a few more – are designed to get you to scalable, predictable channel revenue, raving partners, and boost your end-user demand.