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Growing and Retaining Business Through Channel Partners

ITA Group

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With more access to data, customers are able to research products and services online like never before. As a result, digital advertising budgets have increased because of the surge in customers using social media and the ability to leverage more targeted marketing efforts.

According to Gartner, 67% of CMOs plan to increase their spending in digital advertising.

This new digital customer buying journey has also transformed the way channel partners interact and sell to customers. So how can manufacturers work with channel partners to maintain a pulse on how customers are being served?

 

Turn Channel Partners into Heroes

When done right, selling through channel partners allows organizations to reach new markets, launch new products and service customers effectively. It starts with establishing clear objectives around channel engagement, value-based programs and consistent communication to partners. Identify what value your organization brings to elevate a channel partner’s business and develop the right tools and resources.

More importantly, position your channel partner as the hero in solving business challenges for customers by inspiring loyalty and developing trust with them. Consider offering a blend of training, demos, marketing tools and lead generation programs, for example. In addition, provide coaching to channel partners on identifying and positioning solutions with assessment guides, scripts and case studies. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and reward channel partners for meeting goals.

 

Transparency is a Win-Win

Access to your channel partner’s pipeline, activity and sales data can be a game changer. The more data your partners are willing to share with you, the better. Establish a win-win relationship in supporting your channel partners’ business, provide the right resources and set expectations on what data you’d like them to share.

In Accenture’s report, “Make Music, Not Noise,” they found that, “companies that help their channel partners share customer data and generate leads are 63% more likely to exceed their revenue goals through channel partner networks.”

 

Marketing Support is a Must

When it comes to marketing support, channel partners typically do not have in-house resources. They rely heavily on manufacturer partners for support. Why is this important? Without the proper marketing support, there can be inconsistent messaging from the channel if not managed properly.

Supplying marketing tools not only provides great value to channel partners but ensures messaging is cohesive and matches what customers receive from the manufacturer. Provide marketing templates as well as support with microsites and co-branded materials.

 

New Channel Rewards Tactics

Take a new approach with channel rewards by focusing on segmenting your channel partners and personas. Develop a blend of behavior-based and sales-based elements to increase engagement and grow your pipeline. Keep in mind that motivation is a personal thing, not a one-size fits all solution, so allow for choices when it comes to rewards. Communication is critical. Create an on-going plan to keep your program top of mind with channel partners. Track the program holistically and identify the data points that you need to capture in order to easily see what’s working and where you need to make improvements. Finally, gather on-going feedback from stakeholders including sales teams and partners to maintain a pulse on how to keep the program fresh and interesting.

 

Learn Through Immersive, Experiential Events

Transform your next partner conference into a unique and interactive experience for your partners. Immerse them in your brand, provide hands-on experience with your products and infuse fun elements that keep them interested.

According to a report from market research firm Demand Metric, “Events are second only to email when it comes to the most effective B2B marketing tactics.”

Per the report, “85% of B2B marketers say events are either 'critical' or 'very important' for accelerating the sales pipeline and driving revenue.”

Create forms where partners are able to exchange ideas and hear from their peers. Craft strategies and tactics to gain their attention early on through pre-event communication, and leverage social media to create buzz prior to the event. Don’t forget about post-event tactics such as gathering feedback, providing highlights of the event and the ways your audience can continue to engage with your organization. A uniformed theme will bring all your communication and on-site elements together, helping to create a lasting impression.

Nothing connects people and brands quite like an immersive experience. Are you ready to leave your mark? Check out our immersive experiences ebook filled with ideas on how to bring brands to life with experiential events.


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