All vendors want their channel partners to sell more. To reach this objective, the vendor needs their channel partners to properly promote their solutions to their end-customers. This is so much easier said than done!
Typically, vendors create some marketing pieces and encourage their partners to slap on their logo and customize to send to their customers. This could work, but results are never predictable nor sustainable. Too many variables that can easily derail success!
The only answer is to consistently collaborate with the partners to market the products throughout the year to their customer base as well as expand to reach net new prospects. Some vendors work with their select partners to do this job, but typically to only a small fraction of their base and it is not easy.
Some vendors offer their partners to do special events or webinars to their end-customers. Some sponsor their partners for various trade shows. Some do vendor direct marketing to generate sales leads and pass them on to their partners. Some vendors offer their partners to send out marketing materials in a campaign, if the partner uploads their customer based into their marketing automation system.
All of these activities have some merit, but it is not difficult to see that it is not really sustainable and which partners like to upload their customer base to a vendor. The end result of this mix of activities is more like giving a fish instead of teaching how to fish.
Here are two of the best options for predictable and sustainable awareness and end-user sales demand:
1. Do-it-yourself marketing:
Create and push a variety of end-user targeted content that are not blatant sales pitches to your partners. Content has to be well written and more towards newsworthy. It has to make the case without sounding like a sales pitch. The vendor also needs a wide variety of content so that their partners can leverage without all sounding the same and reeking havoc with their SEO results (when the same content is regurgitated too often, it looses its ranking on search engines).
With the right content feed and variety, vendors can feed their partners with relevant rich content that they can pass on to their end-users. It also matters what tool the partners are using to deliver the content to their end-customers. Today, the marketing platform must deliver content through e-mail, on their web site and social media, and of course track all activity.
The folks at e-mailPlatform has a simple yet robust marketing automation platform to help any channel partner to do this job right. TechnoPlanet news media division eChannelNEWS has partnered with them by building a resource of original content that vendors feed into. eChannelNEWS, edits and curates the content to ensure it meets the highest standards. Resellers pay a monthly subscription to access the resource to pull down the content that they need. Vendors subscribe to the resource for access to a private onramp to feed in as much content as they wish into the system.
This platform is sophisticated enough to allow the reseller to connect their web site to offer high-value gated content like e-books and white papers. End-users can download the content for free by simply providing their contact information. The system then traps the contact details and generates personalized automated communications to nurture the lead to close. The system will even score the leads.
Of course there is a full admin dashboard that allows the reseller to view all activities from all campaigns and communications. It even shows all of the activities from social networks. Managing and measuring the success and ROI of campaigns is automatic.
For 70% of the resellers who do not have any sophisticated marketing automation platform or digital marketing strategy, this tool can be a big game changer for them. It will generate solid awareness and sales demand.
Spring boarding from this to do campaigns in LinkedIn or Facebook to drive more traffic and leads is easy. With the right landing pages and lead nurturing process, these resellers can become marketing powerhouses.
2. Outsource marketing:
For 30% of the resellers who are already doing some level of sophisticated marketing but just cannot generate the results, then they need to consider outsourcing the work. They could use the eMailPlatform as outlined above, but they may be really looking for a deeper and wider digital marketing game.
If your internal staff is simply not already generating the desired results from their digital marketing game, then something is wrong with their skills, tools, content and/or process.
However, outsourcing your marketing to any third-party is a tricky challenge. Think 3 times before you outsource off-shore. Many Digital marketing “experts” sound good and because you may not be up to speed, they may fool you. Their websites all look and sound similar. Unfortunately, the vast majority of digital marketing “experts or agencies” that we have seen work for IT resellers or vendors are just not worthy.
You need people who understands the tech industry inside out and not looking to learn on your dime.
We have identified some of the best organizations that we can recommend. They are not many and they are just as picky in choosing customers. Be warned, they are also not cheap and you have to remember that you will get what you pay for. They do not work for free to get paid when you sell.
Our outsource partners cost between $1,000 to $10,000 per month and they are worth every penny. At the top end of $10K per month, you are getting everything you need as they do all of the heavy lifting – 100% outsource! At the $1K per month level, they will set you up with the right tools and path then hand over the keys so you can do most of the daily work. Whatever they do, it is always 100% managed and measured for ROI! It is easy to see their value.
I can also tell you that teaching marketing to anyone is not easy. It is a lot easier to teach how to sell, than how to market! It is part skill, part art and part risk-taking. Mistakes are always made but the key is to learn fast from mistakes and improve the game. Even seasoned marketing professionals are failing in the new digital World. This is one skill that you need to be wise how you find and leverage.
What type are you? Are you a do-it-yourself or outsource type?