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5 Marketing Best Practices for Your Channel Program

matthew-henry-49707-unsplash.jpgRecently, I presented at Viavi’s Americas Partner meeting, and I’ll be covering part of what I talked about there in this post. In short, my presentation was on key trends to drive marketing performance in your channel program. The most important thing to point out is that any combination of these will help make your program more effective. Pick and choose what works for your specific set of circumstances. There’s no one route to marketing success, but these best practices are good starting points for your roadmap.

 

ONE: Marketing Planning & Strategy

First, you’ve got to think about your marketing strategy. What are you doing to plan it out? A good way to collect data to feel out interest is partner surveys. Get basic partner data first. You’ll want to find clear-cut ways to sort and segment your partners in your program. Gauge what partners would like out of content and campaigns from this as well. Ask the right questions: what their buying process is, their goal market and demand type, for instance.

Once you’ve segmented your partners out, you can provide different segments with tailored marketing campaigns they’ll want to use. Different partners will want to use different campaigns, e.g. social, inbound, email, events, etc. based on their offerings. A large organization will have different needs than a smaller one, and different types of partners will vary as well. As for strategy, create demand based on key requirements you will uncover as you survey your partners.

 

TWO: Digital Marketing

You’ve got to be certain your partners have the necessary skills to execute digital plays. Otherwise, you’re posting content that won’t be used to its fullest extent. You should be focusing on inbound digital marketing most, since it’s the largest source of net new leads by far. Blog and social posts will serve you well here. Social syndication, in particular, has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. B2B companies will benefit greatly from a regular posting schedule, so be as consistent as you can. Make it clear that you’re a thought leader to your audience.

 

THREE: Integrated Marketing

Do you tend to favor familiarity over integrated marketing tactics? Many suppliers do. However, integrated tactics, or using both inbound and outbound marketing, is your best bet for effective marketing. How can you use this effectively? Avoid the one-and-done approach and provide partners with plays for every step of the buying cycle, from awareness to demand generation to dealing with competitors for the final sell.

 

FOUR: Content Aligned to the Buyer’s Journey

Related to our last topic, you can accelerate the buyer’s journey by giving partners content that helps them at every stage. Let’s outline each of those stages briefly:

  • Education: Customers want to learn more about the product, but they are not committed to buying. At this stage, you should not be framing your content around the “sell,” specifically. Show customers that you know what you’re talking about through high-level thought leadership like blog posts, whitepapers and events.
  • Solution: At this stage, customers are narrowing down and debating their options. It’s time to advertise what makes your solution special. Help customers lean into your solution with case studies and testimonials
  • Vendor Selection: You’re in the final stages here — it’s time to get down to business. Give customers specific materials around the value of your solution, like an online demo that clearly demonstrates the ROI.

 

FIVE: Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

If you’re not making use of account-based marketing, I suggest you consider it. Many suppliers’ partners are trying to upsell and cross-sell existing accounts, and ABM is the perfect way to manage that problem. In addition, account-based marketing supports sales realities by focusing on the best opportunities for you and for the account in question. Delivering customer-centric experiences is also a huge advantage of ABM. It gives the account a taste of what being your customer would be like. Delighting future customers can only help you out.

I hope these best practices help you to better market your solution. Do you have something to add to our list? Leave a comment below with your take.

Don’t miss more from Laz and other channel thought leaders on ChannelVisions.tv.  You can reach Laz at lazgonzalez@ziftsolutions.com or follow @lazgonzalez and @zift on Twitter.

As a prominent thought leader, Laz brings unparalleled channel expertise to Zift as Chief Strategy Officer. Before Zift, Laz was Group Director of Channel Sales & Marketing Strategies at SiriusDecisions serving as a strategic advisor to leading B2B channel programs worldwide.
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