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One is the Loneliest Number

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At a recent event, I overheard a supplier talking about demand creation and lead development. They were adamant that Content Syndication does not generate leads for their channel partners. And, of course, they were right – in part.

Content Syndication isn’t designed to generate new leads. It helps new leads stick when they make their way to your partners. Moreover, the marketing and sales paradigm has shifted. There is simply no ONE marketing tactic that is ever going to create a pipeline for channel partners. You’re taking your partners, prospects, and customers on a journey – and multiple, integrated marketing tactics are required to move them through the sales cycle.

Content Syndication Can’t Do It Alone

No one is going to make a significant business purchase without first checking the seller’s website. (Would you?) When a prospect visits the website of your channel partners, he or she should find engaging content that aligns with their interests and positions your partners as a credible source of information on the products and services they are selling. That’s why content syndication matters (and converts 50% more leads when it’s dynamic). But if the right, relevant content isn’t there – or doesn’t align with a prospect’s interests – the buyer may drop out altogether.

Even if a partner’s website is on point, the journey doesn’t end there. Partners must nurture new prospects and even current customers to capture and keep their attention. As a supplier, it’s your job to empower partners to nurture leads and motivate buyers. For that, Content Syndication alone won’t cut it.

In the past, sales professionals connected very early in the buying cycle and would work a deal through to close. Just one touch could get a prospect interested and then the sales person stepped in to answer questions, provide educational materials and guide the entire sales process. But with today’s self-directed buyers, multi-tactic marketing is essential, which can and should entail everything from emails, newsletters and blogs to digital advertising, events, social media syndication and more. And you’ll also need shared analytics to really see what’s working and what isn’t.

The Quest for Success

Clearly, the journey to channel success is paved with much more than acquiring net new leads. It takes multiple strategic moves. To that end, I liken a supplier’s responsibility to their channel partners to giving directions to friends heading out on a long road trip.

Let’s say your friends want to get to the beach. You need to share more than the first turn to the highway on-ramp. Otherwise, the folks you’re guiding won’t really have any idea where they are going. Incomplete directions won’t deliver them to their destination. But one wrong turn doesn’t make the rest of your directions invalid either. They may encounter detours and delays along the way. But, ideally, you can get them where they’re going with clear-cut instructions, a detailed map or even an integrated GPS system.

A fully-integrated system that automates sales, marketing and operational processes is exactly what Zift is building with Channel as a Service. We want suppliers to have everything they need to help channel partners capture and nurture leads all the way through the sales cycle so that you’re both more productive and more profitable. We know you need more than just Channel Marketing and Management (CMM) to plan programs and campaigns, recruit the right partners, enable them, generate leads, transact sales, and manage Marketing Development Funds (MDF).

Channel expert Tim Harmon of Nuvello noted in his blog that even the addition of integrated Partner Relationship Management (PRM) to Zift’s best-of-breed CMM can’t carry the weight of Channel as a Service on its own. We couldn’t agree more. Building out our vision of Channel as a Service is a journey for Zift as well. CMM and PRM are great starting points, but we know full well that Channel as a Service requires Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Configure Price & Quote (CPQ) tools. We’re excited to show everyone what’s around the next corner as we continue our quest to expand CHaaS and deliver everything you need to build and grow a more profitable partner program.

It’s like the old song says, “One is the loneliest number.” One marketing tactic is never going to be enough. Resource-strapped partners can’t make it all on their own – and, as a supplier, you shouldn’t  have to either. Stay tuned for updates on what’s next with Zift CHaaS, and I can assure you that you won’t have to go it alone.

Originally posted on Channel Chatter

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Ken Romley

As President and CEO, Ken is the driving force behind Zift's strategic vision and mission to offer channel marketing automation solutions to help global brands drive channel revenue. Ken has co-founded and run a wide range of technology and internet-based enterprises while leading innovations in marketing technologis.

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