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How to activate your channel partners

7 min read By December 9, 2020 July 5th, 2021 No Comments

Supporting and managing channel partners on a marketing level is not easy at all. The list of responsibilities seems endless. Think of developing strategies, identifying opportunities, developing marketing assets, creating reports, etc (here’s a complete overview of tasks) whilst time is scarce. 

So are you, as a channel marketer, doing the job you’d like to do? Such as one of the most essential things: running campaigns with your business partners. According to a study performed by Forrester and OneAffiniti, especially on the reseller side, there are quite some challenges preventing you from doing this. 

They interviewed over a hundred business partners and gathered some significant information. It turns out that most resellers don’t have a dedicated marketing department. Furthermore, sales and customer service takes up almost all of the available time of their staff. 32% declares that it’s that lack of time that prevents them from executing through-channel marketing campaigns. And because of these obstacles, resellers find it difficult to come up with a healthy mix of suitable content anyway.

Vendor challenges

But the channel partner network isn’t the only one to blame. To get an understanding of the channel marketer point of view, we did some research of our own. We conducted several in-depth interviews and asked questions like:

  • What does a typical day in the life of a channel marketer look like?
  • What are your top three frustrations?
  • And, what do you read/watch/listen to develop your role?

Guess what most of your peer competitors gave as an answer to the first two questions. Do you have a hunch?

A typical day in the life of a channel marketeer consists of meetings, meetings and…meetings. The number one frustration? Having so many meetings, and losing valuable time over it. And that’s ok if you actually feel it contributes to your plans. 

Let’s go back to the beginning of this blog a bit. Because the number two frustration is that channel marketers feel they’re not really getting to the point of performing their duties. It’s time-consuming tasks like meetings, trying to keep up with scheduled (corporate) themes and all kinds of product updates. A combination of not hitting your revenue goals and not being in direct contact with the end-users of the product you’re trying to promote will probably lead to some stressful situations. 

The partner game intensifies

We know that resellers can be quite protective of their (potential) customers. And as a result partner relationships aren’t always on point when it comes to marketing. Next to the challenges mentioned earlier, this too can lead to situations in which partner marketing channels are underused. And seeing beautiful well-thought-out campaigns left on the table, or not being continued, aches your marketing heart.

Image: Forrester

And as if your life wasn’t busy enough already, Forrester’s expert on Channel, Jay McBain, forecasts that you and your partner managing colleagues will be facing ten times the amount of partners in five years. It’s projected that roughly 80% of the new ‘resellers’ will be non-transactional. So you’ll have to find new ways of managing and motivating these types of relations. A way this could be done, McBain states, is through communities that incorporate and influence big parts of your network. 

Let that sink in for a while. 

Can you turn this around?

Is there a way out of this reality in which both channel marketeers and partners are dealing with time-consuming processes that keep them away from running traffic and lead generating campaigns?

Yes!

Because business partners fully understand that a consistent marketing approach boosts their sales. But, “they simply don’t have time or money to invest in marketing at this point.” This means that the key to success lies with you as a channel marketer. “You’re basically looking for a marketing platform that makes it as easy as possible for partners to participate in brand-provided marketing efforts,” says OneAffiniti CEO Joel Montgomery. 

Facilitate and activate

We strongly feel that’s only half of the equation. Because you’ll also need to stimulate your network of resellers. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to activate your A-level partners, let alone the long tier ones, in a scalable and time-saving way? And finally do what you’ve wanted to do: run those campaigns.

We know for a fact that the success of a lead generation campaign stands or falls with the number of actively participating resellers. In these past years, we ran hundreds of reseller campaigns and we gained some valuable insights. So we’re sharing our top three learnings with you:

In this video, our CEO Rick van den Bosch goes over the three steps we’ll be discussing.

Number 1: talk about the benefits of a campaign instead of its contents

Too often, we tend to talk purely about the content of the campaign and forget to mention what’s in it for your business partner. How do they benefit from joining this campaign? When you point out that you’re willing to invest both marketing capacity and budget to generate more business, a reseller will definitely see the benefits. Give them more context. Explain that the campaign’s purpose is to generate leads and that you’re applying an advertising budget to increase their web traffic. This way you’ll have a completely different conversation with your resellers. 

Number 2: involve your resellers in time

Remember that 32%? When launching a campaign, it’s very important to involve resellers in time and give them a first impression of what it contains. This way they have enough time to gather a team that can get the most out of your campaign. Especially when it comes to strategically handle MQLs or SQLs.


Number 3: Enable the reseller to personalize the campaign 

Our final advice is that it’s very important to give your resellers the opportunity to personalize the campaign. Think of a reseller in AV that talks about optimizing your at-home workspace during COVID-19, or a partner in the IT field that talks about securing your network in a scalable way. This will provide you with the best campaign results.

 

Looking for a method and a tool that enables you to do so? Look no further. Channext can take away a large portion of your challenges. 


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