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featureed image Published 2016-12-08, by Seth Jacobsen

Sales Channel Challenges - and Opportunities - Facing Today's CMOs

Chief Marketing Officers have a lot on their plate these days. Markets and technology are changing rapidly. Their job is to stay on top of both and find ways to keep their organizations on track  toward better ways of doing business.

Recently, SiriusDecisions conducted a survey of CMOs around the world, and got a lot of insights into what’s on their mind these days. We found it very interesting, in large part because many of the challenges facing CMOs today are magnified by the complexities of supporting a sales channel. 

 

A Look At Major Challenges and Opportunities Facing CMOs Today

1 – Account-Based Marketing

One of the hottest concepts in marketing today is Account-Based Marketing (ABM), which focuses on specific industries, accounts or buyers. In effect, ABM is about treating a company’s biggest customers as each being target audience—with its own unique challenges—and looking for better ways to position directly to those needs in particular.  

A vendor must be able to:

  • Identify those target audiences..
  • Understand their needs and solvable problems.
  • Create content that is specific to each audience.
  • Keep individual sales staff well-informed.
  • Actually find and implement the desired solutions.

This is an even bigger challenge in channel sales, given the “distance” that often exists between a top-level vendor and the end customer. However, keeping them happy and targeting their specific needs is effective in growing revenue through the channel.

2 – Brand Positioning, Strategy, and Management

The rise of Internet-enabled buyers has suddenly made good brand strategy a far more vital concern than it had been previously. Until brand loyalty is truly achieved, buyers can be far more deliberate—after all, they have access to all the information and purchasing options at their fingertips. But, as ABM demonstrates, once they are captured their lifetime value increases significantly.  

This makes positioning and distinguishing one’s brand a very important consideration. Companies have to find ways to make it absolutely clear how they differ from the competition, and make their value proposition clear.

Likewise, this brand-focused effort also extends to partner interactions as well. Touches with sales or customer service reps at the partner level have to be considered, so that every interaction is cohesive.

READ MORE: Ensuring Partner Portal Success Using Automated PDF’s for Co-Branded Collateral

3 – Choosing Technologies

Along with the Internet boom, there’s been an accompanying boom in software and online service offerings designed to try to streamline any and all areas of business. This has resulted in an absolutely overwhelming list of technology companies targeting various areas of marketing.  

Just one survey found more than four thousand major providers in the marketing tech landscape, not even counting smaller companies and startups.

CMOs don’t just need technology, they need guidance to help them sort through the maze of possible software solutions. Additionally, they’ll tend to be attracted to those which meet as many requirements as possible. The glut of standalone systems is starting to strangle large-scale technology ventures due to the need for so many interfaces. Consolidation of product features is desperately needed.

4 – Change Management

Perhaps underlying all this is the basic need to find ways to implement change, throughout an organization or an extended ecosystem, in a relatively smooth way. It’s no coincidence that smaller startups these days like to use “dinosaurs vs mammals” analogies. Because everything about marketing and business is changing so quickly, large-scale organizations need to find ways to be as agile as possible, or else they risk being outmaneuvered by those smaller firms.

Vendors that do not take the time to consider the needs of their sales channel partners in their overall strategy will have a very hard time adjusting to changing business conditions, whereas those who have found ways to remain tight-knit will have a far easier time adjusting. This must weigh heavily on CMOs who worry their organizations aren’t up to the challenge.

PRM: Bringing Cross-Channel Marketing Issues Into Focus

Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software is designed specifically to consolidate many of the functional elements for improving channel partner support into a single interface. From tracking key customers to providing the sales, marketing, and training tools that make partners more successful, a PRM system links vendors and partners together more closely than ever before.

To see for yourself, contact LogicBay to see a demo of our cutting-edge solutions.

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