Breathe New Light into your Sales and Marketing Strategy with Channel Partners.
If you sell through multiple channels, communication can get easily tangled.
It’s likely your partner network is comprised of multiple solution providers, each possessing different objectives, value propositions, services, markets, attributes, needs, etc.
That’s why it’s essential to map out your distribution funnel with practical information that segments and profiles your channel network.
Your “Master Channel Map” will help you identify weaknesses and road blocks, prioritize resource allocation and budgeting, generate productivity, and ultimately, contribute to your bottom line.
Here’s a mock “Master Channel Map” you can use to better visualize this concept:
Once you have a better understanding of each channel, you can use this information to rethink your indirect channel sales and marketing strategy.
Given the competitive nature of today’s channel industry, it’s important to not only position yourself as a thought-leader but as a solution provider: A strategic partner that adds value and contributes to a more productive, successful channel relationship.
The following tips are aimed to breathe new light into your sales and marketing strategy with channel partners:
1.) Leverage your channel partner’s digital networks
Synchronizing your social media strategy with partners can dramatically influence brand awareness and thought-leader amongst partners’ diverse audiences. Your partners may not have the experience or resources to effectively leverage social media’s dramatic potential.
That’s why it’s important to not only empathize its value but also advocate your proficiency to help create co-branded campaigns. Share your content such as blogs, best practices, promotions, eBooks, case studies, etc., with channel partners.
You not only perpetuate brand awareness and industry authority but also strengthen partner mind share, loyalty, and business longevity.
2.) Establish a methodical ‘buyer journey’ process for partners
Are you making life harder for channel partners than it needs to be?
If you simply recruit and onboard partners without standardized sales or lead-building process, you are likely hanging partners out to dry.
An inconsistent buyer experience leads to underwhelming channel performance and disgruntled partners.
Implementing a structured and methodical system for qualifying leads and tracking the buyer journey (throughout your channel network), creates a cohesive, consistent process for leveraging partners’ services and customers.
3.) Channel conflict is strategically and equally managed
Existing within a crowded, competitive, and eroded marketplace all but ensures channel conflict to the surface. This unfortunate and common occurrence is frequently indicative of whether or not a channel partnership is successful.
As such, channel conflict is an integral part of business operations and must be monitored accordingly.
Solutions and strategies must be in place in order to reduce conflict and maintain fair trade. A diplomatic, well-thought strategy for managing channel conflict may consist of:
- Deal registration – an incentive program that rewards channel partners for registering qualified opportunities; exclusive access to communicate with lead without risk of interference from direct sales or competing partners.
- Fixed price point – direct sales team cannot undercut channel partners due to adjusted pricing structure made internally
- Reward direct/channel sales equally – set up compensation for direct sales team where rewards are the same for selling either directly or to channel partners
- End-customer exclusivity – associate only certain partners (e.g., consultants, VARs) access to selling to specific end-customers or territories.
- Forgo direct sales altogether – adjust sales process where direct sales can only sell to channel partners