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What’s fresh and effective in marketing to B2B channel partners

Channel partner marketing refers to initiatives taken to find and assist outside partners in order to increase a vendor’s access to the market. Training, data-sharing, co-marketing initiatives, rebates, MDF (market development funds), and sales enablement tools like events, sales playbooks, and content are examples of traditional support techniques.

However, with the advent of digital marketing, marketing automation, modifications in consumer behavior, and the current speed and complexity of business, things have changed.

Let’s look at these modifications and how partner marketing has evolved along with them. The three categories in which these concepts are arranged are strategies, tools, and tactics.

Segmenting partners

The increased complexity of the partner types involved is a significant development in channel marketing, according to Rick van den Bosch, founder and CEO of automated partner marketing platform Channext. Up to ten distinct partner types, including alliance partners, managed service providers, systems integrators, resellers, and more, may be dealt with by vendors. Each has knowledge of its own target market and tastes in products. In order to optimize their value, suppliers must categorize partners based on their types, comprehend the unique requirements and preferences of each partner group, and offer the necessary marketing support services.

Become structured.

Following years of using channels to reach customers, suppliers are discovering that their partner assistance solutions are either excessively complex or too many. At that moment, it’s necessary to stop and make sure that partners can easily locate and obtain the resources they require to operate at their peak efficiency. That’s just what Amazon Web Services has accomplished, led by worldwide distribution chief John-Marc Clark.

Using a two-tier channel structure, AWS first distributes its products through over 30 global distributors, including TD SYNNEX and Ingram Micro. Over 100,000 VARs and resellers who assist their clients with cloud migrations are recruited and managed globally by this tier. It was inevitable that complexity and redundancy would start to appear. In order to provide services effectively, AWS examined the partner journey and created a Partner Profitability Framework.

The most well-liked is the Distributor Development Fund, which assists distributors in finding, energizing, and expanding their network of new resellers. Distributors are given a team to work with in order to use the Partner Central website to create an annual marketing strategy and maximize the programs’ benefits.

Collaboration between partners and direct reps

When a partner is active at every stage of the customer journey—from discovery to post-sale—the customer retention rates in the SaaS industry are higher. As a result, John Murphy, partner development manager at HubSpot, works to break down obstacles that prevent the vendor’s direct sales representatives and the channel partner from collaborating. A few examples of this include giving partners advice on lead creation and teaching them effective co-selling techniques. This strategy creates chances for partners to upsell and cross-sell while facilitating a seamless sales process for the customer.

The fundamentals of marketing

It might be simple to become bogged down in the minutiae given the complexity of today’s marketing landscape. According to Dror Liwer, co-founder of the Israeli cybersecurity company Coro, focusing on the fundamentals of marketing is the secret to success. According to him, the most crucial aspect of partner marketing is making sure your partners are aware of your product and ideal customer profile, or ICP. Can your partners effectively and honestly describe the value proposition to the ICP, as well as the product’s capabilities and limitations, to the target audience? “If that’s not there, the sale will fail, which will demoralize the partner and damage your company’s and product’s reputation in the partner community,” he says.

Then, according to Dror, a strong partner portal with content and templates that have been tried and tested in the market, as well as an MDF program that runs on pre-agreed criteria like leads, revenue, growth, number of seats, and other success factors, rank as the second and third most important focus areas. Suppliers can achieve 90% success in channel marketing if they have these three components in place.

There are videos everywhere.

Partner marketing has adopted video, much like all other B2B marketing communications these days. According to Publio CEO and founder Keith Reynolds, suppliers should conduct interviews with partners and customers to gather material for “mini content ecosystems” that include blog posts, social media posts, email content, and both short- and long-form video. These ecosystems should be organized using a workflow tool such as Asana. “This is a great way to yield valuable thought leadership that both partners can share and showcase your channel partners,” he says.

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