An asset recommendation engine can add tremendous value to partner marketing efforts: Here's how
Salespeople spend a lot of time looking for the right assets to share with prospects when instead, they should be selling...
This year presents several strategic growth opportunities for companies. Considering the impacts the previous years have had on staffing and routes to market, its partners play a key element in the companies' ability to scale and achieve their 2022 revenue objectives. Efforts to better utilize partners require that you do not forget that channel partners are very different from your internal direct sales teams. This blog discusses 4 key strategies that companies should focus on this year to drive more value for their channel partners and consequently add more value to their partnerships.
Next-gen Partner marketing software programs allow vendors to create learning curricula, course catalogs and similar training and educational coursework within the partner marketing software to share with the channel partners.
When it comes to making channel partnerships stronger, you have to start with the basics of partner education and training. Partner education and training needs span across various areas including-
Another aspect to educate your partners on is your brand and vision. Since your partners are representing your brand in the market to end-consumers, it is important that they understand your vision as an organization, and their core values, voice, and market presence resonate with those of your brand.
Make sure you train your partners on your product and help them understand your offering as well as you do. Offer your partners the training, education, and support they need to clearly understand what you bring to the table as a company and how your offering addresses the pain points of the end-consumer. This is essential, because only when they are well-versed with your product/service, will they be able to pitch it with conviction and drive sales.
You know your company's market very well. You know what your ideal prospect/customer profile is, what their pain points are, and what the buyer's journey typically looks like for your product/service. But, are your partners on the same page as you when it comes to these elements? In order to ensure that the answer to this question is an unequivocal, "YES", your company needs to educate their channel partners on the buyer's journey for each of their offerings. Educating your channel partners on the buyer's journey helps them align their sales and marketing communication and tactics with the buyer's position in the sales cycle, which provides optimum results.
When partners sign up with you, it is because they expect to gain something from the partnership, the most common element being, revenue from selling the company's product. Apart from that, there's one other thing that Companies can do to help their channel partners see value in the partnership-help the channel partners build their own brand. Companies can help channel partners grow their business by helping them establish a strong local presence. Companies can do this through-
By providing partners with co-branded marketing and sales assets that allow the channel partners to leverage the company's brand, while also putting their brand in front of the end customers. At the same time, collaborating with the channel partner helps the company's brand also gain a strong foothold in the local market.
Companies can help channel partners boost their brand presence in the local market through on-behalf marketing. Sophisticated partner marketing automation tools allow Companies to engage in web, social and email marketing campaigns on behalf of their channel partners. This means, even when the channel partners are busy dealing with clients, their brand is being put out there in the market by the company, in front of prospects.
One of the biggest challenges of the channel-based sales model vis-a-vis direct selling is, channel partners are generally not exclusive. Unlike the company's direct sales teams that work exclusively for the company, channel partners have multiple Companies. Companies too have multiple tie-ups with different channel partners, and often find it difficult to support all their partners just as well as they support their sales teams. Companies can improve their relationship with channel partners by working with them as a team and by supporting them all equally, just as they would support their internal, direct sales teams. Transparency plays a key role in this regard. Companies can ensure transparency in the channel sales process by investing in tools that minimize channel conflicts and support all channel partners equally. Here are some examples-
While leads that originally approach a specific channel partner are attended to by them naturally, there arises the question of how Companies can ensure the leads that flow through the corporate channel are distributed evenly. Companies can address this question by investing in automated lead routing tools that work to pass on the leads to the right partners based on various predefined parameters. For example, all leads within a 10-mile radius of a particular zip code to go to partner A (based on partner A's location) automatically.
Along the same lines, is deal registration support. By offering a dedicated deal registration mechanism Companies can eliminate unhealthy competition among channel partners. Deal registration tools allow partners to log a lead as their's in the company's lead database through the partner portal, thus ensuring no two partners compete for the same lead.
Another way in which Companies can bring about a greater transparency between them and their channel partners is by investing in tools that offer a shared, 360-degree view of the prospect's activities, across the spectrum-including sharing of information about any interaction the prospect may have with the company's brand at the corporate level, to their channel partners. When channel partners have an unobstructed view of their prospects, it naturally helps them sell better, as they can address the very specific concerns of their leads based on their behavior.
Finally, Companies should help channel partners close their leads successfully. Usually, Companies provide onboarding sessions, training and education and marketing support in terms of marketing collateral and MDF and then expect channel partners to go ahead and generate leads and revenue. However, it is not that simple. Partners need end-to-end support to convert the leads successfully. Not having the right sales support from the Companies at the final stage of the sales cycle results in a leaky sales funnel which affects the ROI of the channel negatively. Companies can mitigate this challenge by helping partners close leads by offering them a well-documented, repeatable, guided sales process.
Two ways to do this are-
Sales playbooks provide your channel partners with everything they need such as sales and marketing collateral, tactics, campaigns, etc., to engage their leads at each stage of the sales cycle. Playbooks work as a map or a GPS for channel partners, guiding them throughout the sales cycle, helping them align their sales efforts with the buyer's journey for maximum impact.
One of the key motivators for channel partners, when they sign up with Companies, is the opportunity to leverage the company's experience, industry expertise, market presence and brand. Companies can help channel partners make the most of this opportunity by offering them business planning support. Sharing best practices, industry insights and forecasts that help channel partners prepare themselves for what's ahead on the road in terms of the industry performance, helping channel partners utilize MDF funds effectively, etc., are some of the ways in which Companies can provide business planning support to their channel partners.
Every Company wants their channel relationship to work out, nobody wants it to fail, obviously. However, very few Companies really make the effort to set their channel partners up to truly succeed. Providing channel partners with training, marketing and sales collateral and partner-portal-software, but then leaving them to figure things out on their own isn't the road to successful channel relationships. Companies shouldn't lose sight of the ultimate goal of the partnership: To generate sales and revenue, meaning, to help partners sell for them. In a highly competitive channel ecosystem where partner exclusivity is rare and Companies have to vie for partner mindshare, Companies can't leave any stone unturned in making it easy for their channel partners to sell their offering, because, ultimately, the company whose product/service that's the easiest to sell will naturally become the channel partner's most preferred vendor.
Mindmatrix is the Leader in Enterprise Partner Enablement through Innovation, Automation, & Great User and Partner Experience. Our new Platform, Bridge 5.0, is a unified platform built to engage and enable your entire direct, channel, alliance partner ecosystem. Bridge takes the complexity out of selling by delivering PRM, Partner Marketing, Sales Enablement Tools, Alliance Collaboration & Marketplace in a single user interface.
Mindmatrix is a leading provider of PRM software, channel partner marketing software and sales ecosystems enablement solutions including partner portal software. Since its inception in 1998, Mindmatrix has been focused on helping companies sell more, faster. A pioneer of sales (direct & indirect) and marketing enablement technology, today Mindmatrix is the only company offering a fully unified platform (Bridge ™) that connects and enables sales (direct & indirect), marketing, alliances and partner ecosystems. Backed by Mindmatrix's innovation and expertise, Bridge expands sales ecosystem enablement beyond its traditional boundaries to cover not just Sales Ecosystem Enablement, but also Partner Marketing and Multi-vendor Solutions Management