What’s holding your channel marketing efforts back?
Why is channel and partner marketing such a tough egg to crack? Let’s take a brief look at the main barriers to success:
A lack of control
It’s a simple truth that partners don’t necessarily report to the vendors they’re selling for, especially if they’re promoting multiple product lines. What’s more, if they don’t depend on any one vendor for a significant % of their revenue, they’re likely instead to focus on those vendors who offer the most immediate benefits – or where relationships are strongest.
A focus on the ‘immediate’
While wanting to avoid sweeping generalisations, it’s probably fair to say that most partners tend to focus on short-term, tactical activities – and lack the resources needed to map out multi-quarter campaigns. As a result, the tendency can be to focus on activities deemed ‘safe’ (events etc.) rather than delivering a well-planned strategic approach.
A large section of partners are going to have 1 or maybe 2 marketing headcount, which means if you’re not providing dedicated, proactive support they’re unlikely to truly engage. That’s why the investment in tools like marketing automation and ‘campaigns in a box’ are so essential for helping drive forward activities – and for demonstrating ROI.
The challenge of funding
The problem with marketing development funds (MDF) is that not every partner is created equal, and ensuring these resources are favourably distributed (and actually used!) is never guaranteed. In addition, many partners don’t want to spend budget unless the ROI is easily achievable. As a result, vendors can struggle to sell in a programme – and end up working with a few dependable partners.
The Pareto Principle is certainly at work in channel marketing, where it’s common to see 80% of revenue come from 20% of partners. The challenge here is that vendors will focus efforts on this 20%, but due to a large ‘share of wallet’ see little in terms of growth. Where opportunities do exist (within the 80%) they’re often held back by poor coverage.
Helping partners navigate the buyer journey
Gone are the days when partners fought to establish their credentials with a large vendor. Today, it’s the vendors themselves who are under increasing pressure to ‘wow’ partners who themselves can have multiple relationships with multiple tech companies. So what’s your ‘next best move’?