All vendors want their channel partners to be selling more, but what are the best ways to do it?
Here are 5 ways to consider:
- Do a breakfast and learn with your partners and their clients. Lunch and learns also work. Maybe do both on the same day to give attendees the choice. If the travel is too heavy, do a webinar. Create the invitation, registration and do the presentation. The only thing that the partner should do is work their customer list to invite. At the same time, use the event to teach partners how to do it right. Measure results.
- Do buddy calls with partners. Try to do several in one day with one partner or several partners. Ensure these meetings count by properly pre-qualifying the end-users with the partner.
- Do specially targeted local events like trade shows or small group meet-ups with your partners. Targeting a group of specific industry-related businesses seem to work best. For general businesses, the local chamber of commerce can be a great choice, but don’t forget associations and other community peer-groups.
- Do digital and social marketing, but only if the plan is right. The opportunities are huge with digital marketing. Unfortunately this is way too deep to explain in this article. If you are interested, ask for more info.
- If you can, do a deep dive with the partner to align your sales goals with their marketing capabilities. If you simply do not understand what this means, maybe get some professional help to do it. It is NOT easy, but magic happens when the vendor and partner are align.
The end result of whatever you do should also lean towards teaching them “how to fish instead of giving a fish”. It should all be about generating predictable and sustainable awareness to their end-users.
Content has to be well written and tend towards newsworthiness. It has to make the case without sounding like a sales pitch. No one wants to read a brochure. Always deliver high-value content and eventually you will earn trust that leads to sales opportunities.
TIP: Generate a very wide variety of content so that many partners can leverage without all sounding the same and reeking havoc with SEO results (when the same content is regurgitated too often, it loses its impact and ranking on search engines).
With a good stream and variety of relevant content, vendors can continually feed their partners valuable information for them to pass on to their end-users through blogs, social media or all sorts of digital communications. Hopefully, the partners have a proper marketing automation platform to effectively disseminate content and of course track activities.
TIP: emailPlatform offers a simple yet robust marketing automation platform that is also affordable to help any channel partner to do this job right. They also help partners to get up and running. We liked it so much that our news media division eChannelNEWS partnered with them to build a resource of original content that seamlessly feeds into the system. eChannelNEWS, edits and curates the content. Partner can click-to-add all sorts of tech news content. Vendors can subscribe to the resource to submit their content (Of course, the platform does a whole lot more)!
For most of the partners who do not have any sophisticated marketing automation platform or digital marketing strategy, this tool can be a big game changer! It is easy to springboard from this to more sophisticated partner to end-user campaigns to target marketplaces like LinkedIn or Facebook to drive more leads. With the right training, tools and support, partners can become marketing powerhouses.
NOTE: Relying on the limited marketing functionality on PRM platforms for partners to leverage may not be wise. Partners are reluctant to upload their customers into any vendor-controlled platform and most partners need to promote a wide range of vendors to their customers. How could any partner use 10 different PRM portals from 10 different vendors to market properly to their customers?
Unfortunately, without solid marketing, sales growth will never be predictable or sustainable! Marketing is not optional!