Striking the right balance...
Making channel management work
It’s an old adage – if you try to please everybody all of the time, you’ll wind up pleasing nobody, ever.
And if you lack a clear channel marketing strategy, that’s the reality you’ll face. Resources spread thinly across many partners, not all of whom will understand your business and products as well as you need them to. Effort wasted trying to keep those partners engaged, while you also maintain a steady stream of marketing programmes across the channel to generate leads and drive sales.
I’ve worked in channel marketing for both resellers and vendors. I have a lot of experience in this area… and I really appreciate the value of a solid partnership.
For resellers, a poorly organised channel is a recipe for failure. A significant amount of time and money goes into choosing and working with a vendor. You invest in aligning your stories, training your sales team, and creating marketing programmes.
It’s a mutual investment and must be perfectly in sync. No matter how you categorise your partners, everyone should feel like they're in a mutually beneficial relationship.
But while every one of those partnerships will be unique, there are a few key elements that will set you up for a happily-ever-after kind of relationship.
Balancing each other’s stories
Any partner worth the trouble has invested in you and your story for a reason. It’s vital you understand how your product or service fits into their strategy, too.
Part of this means understanding how what you do solves the specific problems their customers face. What are their strengths in terms of target markets and industries? How do they plan to promote your product?
Too often, vendors overwhelm partners armed with features and technical details. To prevent this happening, you should consider developing a channel-focused message house and playbook – tools that will promote clear, non-technical messaging.
Messaging that resonates with partners and their customers.
Balancing goals and expectations
Even your smallest partner deserves attention. For each partner, you should establish clear guidelines to ensure their expectations are always clear, and they know what’s expected of them. This will let you suit your support to their needs and their commitment.
Such guidelines might include detail on:
Joint objectives and targets
Service level agreements
Market development funds
Balancing the books
You can’t tell your partners how they should go to market.
But the more tools and resources you can offer them, the more likely it is that your market development funds will be used effectively.
Engaging an agency to support your channel messaging and go-to-market programmes means even your smaller partners get the help they need. Helping them align their messages and execute marketing campaigns with clear sales goals in mind.
At Ivory, we’re here to help you build fruitful relationships across your channel. Making sure every individual partner is engaged, energised and well-informed. Getting everyone totally set up to deliver effective campaigns with measurable results.
Our experts are well-versed in the complex world of channel marketing.
We know it can be tricky to balance your attention between established partners and those with growth potential…
But it's a balance we can help you strike.
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