Everyone can agree that the pandemic has changed our way of life. Millions are still sheltering in place and businesses have had to quickly adapt to the new normal. COVID-19 has impacted B2B channel marketing programs and channel activities in a big way, and businesses must continue to evolve if they want to stay above water.
Although the pandemic has put a damper on pretty much everything, there is a silver lining. The new normal has also presented opportunities for channel partners to become innovative with what they offer and how they operate.
In the digital age, which channels would you think are in overdrive? If you guessed your digital channels, you are correct. Virtual engagement with customers is at an all-time high and channel partners are compelled to come up with new processes and strategies to keep customers engaged.
Here’s what you can do to bring a little life to your existing B2B channel marketing programs:
Keep Channel Partners Engaged
The key is to build partner loyalty that results in increased customer retention and ROI. Take a look at your sales funnel. Take a look at your partner incentive programs. Determine new methods to engage channel partners at every stage of their interaction. The more streamlined you make processes for your channel partners, the better.
Analyze Your Data
We put all this technology in place for a reason, and if you aren’t already, this is the time to dive into your metrics. Everything channel partners need to know about customers to adjust strategies is right there in the numbers.
Update Your Message
You cannot relay the same message to customers that you did at the same time last year. This also applies to your channel partners. Your B2B channel marketing programs need to shift the focus. Instead of boasting about how great your product is, they should focus on how your products/services can provide a solution to your customers’ problems and needs.
Present New Options
You had a great product or service that was flying off the shelves, so to speak, pre-pandemic, but the world today is completely different. Now your products are collecting dust. You need to adjust. Your customer who has been homebound for the past few months may not have the same needs they did in 2019. You may need to rework your B2B channel marketing programs with your channel partners to stay relevant. This is the time to be innovative, and channel partners may have to experiment a little to see what products stick with your consumers.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Businesses are moving away from a “catch-all” strategy and more deliberately targeting customers. The name of the game is to keep consumers coming back for more. And your channel partners will be happy with any new customers they secure in the process. Your channel partner’s sales team needs to analyze each stage of the sales funnel to find opportunities to improve customer engagement with each step. The goal is to turn these new customers into recurring believers of your brand even after the pandemic. And then the cycle continues.
Hire a CDO
If you have the budget, hire a Chief Digital Officer to lead your digital operations. This is a rather new addition to companies since the workforce has relied heavily on digital operations during the crisis. Even if your budget cannot take on a new C-lister, you should appoint someone to take the lead of all things digital.