Breathe New Light into your Channel Sales and Channel Marketing Strategies with Partners
If you sell through multiple channels, when it comes down to channel marketing plans communication can get easily tangled.
It’s likely your partner network is comprised of multiple solution providers. Each provider possesses 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 areas that will help contribute to your bottom line. Areas such as:
- Weaknesses and roadblocks
- Prioritize resource allocation and budgeting
- Ways to generate productivity
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 channel marketing plans.
Given the competitive nature of today’s channel, it’s important to not only position yourself as a thought-leader but as a solution provider. Be a strategic partner that adds value and contributes to a more productive, successful channel relationship.
The following channel marketing plans are aimed to breathe new light into your channel sales:
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 as a channel marketing tool.
That’s why it’s important to not only empathize its value but also advocate your proficiency to help create co-branded channel marketing campaigns. Share your content such as blogs, best practices, promotions, eBooks, case studies, etc., with channel partners. This way, you not only perpetuate brand awareness and industry authority but also strengthen partner mindshare, 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 channel marketing plans, 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.
Consider 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. 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 – the direct sales team cannot undercut channel partners due to adjusted pricing structure made internally
- Reward direct/channel sales equally – set up compensation for the 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