Effective Channel Partner Marketing Is Now A Team Effort

Posted by Seth Jacobsen on Aug 23, 2016 1:30:00 PM

Just because your organization relies on indirect sales channels to do the selling doesn't mean your partners have to do all the heavy-lifting. Given the ways that buyer behavior has changed, the role of your partners is less about demand generation and more about closing business. This means they will be relying more on your ability to help them market your products and services.

In today's wired and continuously-connected world, vendors who go out of their way to support channel partner marketing efforts are almost certain to be rewarded in multiple ways. Besides simply increasing sales - which is really the primary goal - you can easily separate yourself as a vendor that sales partners truly want to represent. Whether you're fighting for market share, or looking to extend into new verticals, that sort of distinction can easily be the deciding factor. 

Topics: Scale Your Channel, channel marketing

Don't Follow These Steps To Improve Sales Performance

Posted by Todd Hockenberry on Aug 18, 2016 2:20:00 PM

Do you get those annoying emails daily from the latest app or software platform add-on where the spammer acts presumptively, without having proved any value or understood your situation, and asks for a 15 minute call to demo their gotta have thing? They scrape your email from a public listing like a HubSpot partners list and then assume they are so awesome that you have to listen. 
 
We are an inbound marketing consulting agency, maybe try using some inbound techniques to get my attention instead of interrupting me with your nonsense.
 
Great article here from Marketing Insider Group on this topic.
 
Below is another example of today's sales people ignoring the changes in buyer behavior and being lazy.

Topics: best practices, Inbound Marketing

The Opportunity Cost of Outdated Non-Performing B2B Sales Channels

Posted by Ed Marsh on Aug 16, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Nice Folks to Drink a Beer With...

If you work with reps or distributors, you've probably got some channel partner teams that look more or less like this. They're good people, honest and loyal. In fact they've probably been representing your products for 20 years or more.

Most firms are basically a couple industry veterans who are coasting toward retirement. They have a rolodex (in many cases, literally...still) full of industry contacts in their territory. Many of their contacts are also coasting toward retirement.

You've probably ridden many miles with them between sales calls over the years, sharing stories of family and hobbies. You've stayed in the same well-worn motels and eaten mediocre chain restaurant meals together. You're buds. You've earned your service stripes as partners over years of hard work.

Recently, they may have brought in some young blood - perhaps a child of a founder - in hopes of keeping things going.

This was an awesome business model in the 80s & 90s. You probably made good money together.

But it's no longer a business model - you, your rep partner and their contacts are from a different era. These are legacy relationships with very low future value.

 

Topics: Inbound Marketing, b2b, smb

Marketing Automation to Grow Channel Partner Sales

Posted by Seth Jacobsen on Aug 11, 2016 10:50:00 AM

In past years, resellers were just that: re-sellers. You sold a product to them, and then you hoped they could sell it to the customer on your behalf. Maybe you had some promotional flyers or brochures to provide, but that was about it. Direct oversight and involvement was often too difficult, or too intrusive, to really implement on large scales. Vendors are now much more responsible for driving the marketing efforts that will help their partners sell more successfully.

Modern technologies have been instrumental in making these changes possible. Your sales channels can now truly become part of your marketing structure, with access to most or all of the same resources as your own sales and marketing team. These automation services result in better business for you and for them. After all, the better their business performs, the better your business performs. 

Topics: Inbound Marketing, channel partners, content marketing

Great Partner Engagement Begins With The Channel Manager

Posted by Seth Jacobsen on Aug 9, 2016 5:30:00 PM

For any organization focused on an indirect sales model, one of the single most important roles is that of the Channel Manager - the direct link between themselves and all their partner channels. In a sufficiently large ecosystem, they may actually be directly responsible for more departments and workers than anyone else below the COO!

A company selling through an indirect channel cannot build partner engagement without having a great channel manager actively engaging those partners. That's why it's so important to recognize just how vital the Channel Manager role is, and to ensure they have the right tools and resources they need to do their job.

Topics: Build Your Channel, channel manager

Collaborative Channel Partner Marketing

Posted by Seth Jacobsen on Aug 4, 2016 11:40:00 AM

If it seems like we talk a lot about inbound marketing on this blog, it's simply because it's that important. The days where vendors can sit back and let their channel partners handle all the heavy lifting are long gone. Or, at least, those who continue to use the old tactics are greatly disadvantaged in a new world of changing buyer behavior. 

Further, being able to effectively contribute to channel partner marketing is a great way to boost partner engagement. Just about anything you can do to help them boost sales will make them more enthusiastic about working with you. It's also a great recruitment argument when looking to differentiate yourself from other vendors in your field.

So let's look at a few more ways you can get involved in channel partner marketing and help ensure better sales across the board.

Topics: Scale Your Channel, Inbound Marketing, Channel Marketing Strategy

Examining The Phases Of Sales Channel Development

Posted by Seth Jacobsen on Aug 3, 2016 12:30:00 PM

In our years working with vendors to create effective channel partnerships, we've identified several key phases which just about any vendor will pass through at one point or another. Three of these are good, the other indicates areas of concern.

If you're looking for best practices at various stages of your own channel development, this is a good place to start.

Topics: Scale Your Channel, Optimize Your Channel, Build Your Channel

Growing Your Business: Best Practices For Accelerating Channel Sales

Posted by Seth Jacobsen on Jul 28, 2016 10:05:00 AM

The world of indirect sales is booming, and there's probably never been a better time for a vendor to look towards the indirect sales model. Embracing an indirect sales model allows for a business to grow itself more quickly, spend less on marketing and sales, and dedicate itself to continually improving its core products and services.

The issue here, of course, is that the current growth in indirect-sales businesses is creating even more competition for partners. From the point of view of a local sales operation, it's very much a "buyer's market." There are far more solutions and products in almost every field than they could ever embrace.

Additionally, once they're onboard with a vendor, nothing guarantees they'll stay in that partner relationship unless they continue to see the impact on their bottom line.

Therefore, it's critical to build and maintain great partner relationships throughout the entire vendor growth process. A vendor which caters to the needs of its partners, and builds a reputation for doing so, is one which will have a far easier time meeting their growth and sales goals year after year.

Topics: Scale Your Channel

Rules Of Engagement to Keep Partners Motivated And Engaged

Posted by Seth Jacobsen on Jul 26, 2016 10:40:00 AM

Few aspects of indirect sales models are more crucial than achieving and maintaining high levels of partner engagement. Simply getting new partners into your channel is only the first step. The long haul is keeping them onboard, enthusiastic, and continually looking to promote your product - even above other products they might offer from the competition.

Anything you can do to make partners feel more supported, and make their jobs easier, will go far in maintaining this level of engagement. We have compiled a few guidelines that can help you readily achieve these goals.

Topics: Scale Your Channel, channel partner engagement

Evaluating Sales Support in the Indirect Channel

Posted by John Panaccione on Jul 21, 2016 10:30:00 AM

My colleague Ed Marsh (@edbmarsh) wrote a great piece last week commenting on a recent HBS article.  He made the point about how marketing automation is key to supporting a sales force in general.  I'd like to add to that sage advice.

The team of McKinsey consultants who wrote the HBR article stated:

"We found that devoting 50%–60% of sales employees to support functions is optimal. Many companies with low sales ROI devote less than 30% of their sales staff to support functions. But having too high a share of sales support has a negative impact on sales ROI, as it simply increases the cost base without adding additional support to the front line. Most of the companies with 60%–80% of sales support are in the bottom 75% of sales ROI."

The findings were based on research the authors conducted with 40 companies with direct sales forces - not a huge sample, but large enough to draw some valuable conclusions for sure.

Topics: Optimize Your Channel, indirect sales, prm technology, sales support

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