Ed. Note: This latest article in the Zephyr 47 Expert Blog Series is provided by Alan Feldman with Winn Technology Group. Channel sales and marketing are critical for the vast majority of B2B organizations and here Alan highlights 7 key areas for channel marketing success. These details are presented in greater detail in their latest white paper which is linked below.
The continuing paradigm shift in the IT market shows steady movement towards a greater focus on the Channel — to increase sales, achieve increased market penetration and enhance brand recognition. More and more, large vendors are announcing their intent to bolster their Channel efforts and direction, recognizing the substantial growth that can be attained. The bottom-line is truly the bottom-line – how to increase revenues while reducing the overhead and direct costs of driving those increases. Businesses today have many more options in their buying cycles – from research tools, analysis, social media, and an expansive reseller community. This has changed the sales process dramatically, and technology vendors are racing to adapt. Potential customers are expecting more competitive pricing, improved value, and consultative services to complement their process.
The Challenges – The channel model presents a number of challenges that must be identified and overcome in order to realize the full benefits and revenues. These challenges are both internal to the vendor, external with the partner, and ultimately, reflected at the customer-level as well. Some of the more recognizable challenges include identifying, on-boarding and training new partners, aligning messaging and solutions with partners, managing MDFs and Co-op funding, managing leads and follow up activity, and ongoing nurturing and cultivation.
The Solutions – There are some key steps that can be defined and implemented to help accomplish a successful channel marketing infrastructure and process.
- Identify your optimal channel partner profile – evaluate alignment, corporate culture, growth, vertical markets, solution expertise, support, etc.
- Assign dedicated resources to manage the relationship and marketing funding – nurture the relationship to a mutual partnership, leveraging knowledge, materials, and solutions.
- Continually evaluate partner performance – Ensure partners maintain an agreed-upon performance level and contribution.
- Develop Lead Nurturing Strategies – establish specific pilot programs to help the partner and VAR community develop a cost-effective framework for lead nurturing and cultivation.
- Design, structure and implement a “Demand Center” framework – provide packaged campaigns, with centralized repositories of campaign information, preferred vendors, services, templates, lists, etc.
- Host co-branded events – draw attendees based on the vendor’s brand recognition, and add further credibility to the channel partner.
- Create and maintain ongoing feedback mechanisms and tracking – ensure continual two-way communications on all activity to create a teamed approach to close deals, through status reporting as well as automated tracking systems.
Addressing and implementing these 7 steps will help to build partner loyalty through support, knowledge, funding and programs, while ultimately increasing the revenue stream for both prime vendors and their channel partners. The complete whitepaper can be downloaded from Winn Tech HERE.
Author Bio: Alan Feldman is Sales and Marketing Manager at Winn Technology Group, and has focused on the design, development and execution of direct marketing campaigns for many of the leading technology vendors in the industry over the past eight years. Prior to Winn, he spent nearly 25 years as a Sr. Management Consultant in the technology, government, retail and education markets.
I invite you to join our LinkedIn channel marketing discussion group, WinnDemandCenter, to share your thoughts, contribute to critical discussion, and learn from others in the industry – all with the intent of improving processes and success in IT Channel Marketing. Please click on the following link to join: http://linkd.in/e56Njb.
Winn Technology Group is a privately-held marketing solutions company headquartered in Palm Harbor, Florida. Exclusively providing marketing support to the technology industry since 1990, Winn has partnered with leading IT firms to develop and execute B2B marketing solutions. For more information, visit www.winntech.net, or contact them at email@example.com