Leads: Fill Your Funnel Without Drowning in Data


James Anderson**Editor’s Note: Register now for the Business Success Symposium Preconference, sponsored by Verizon, as part of your Channel Partners Conference & Expo package.**

A digital environment and eager vendors can create challenges for partners who don’t know which leads they should prioritize.  

So says Heather Margolis, CEO of Channel Maven Consulting.

Channel Maven Consulting's Heather MargolisMargolis will lead a sales and marketing track workshop at the Business Success Symposium on April 10, the day before the full start of the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. The track is titled, “Leads, Leads, Leads: How to Fill Your Funnel Without Drowning in Data.”

We asked Margolis four questions about her presentation. The transcript has been edited for clarity.

Channel Partners: What obstacle are partners are facing?

Heather Margolis: Channel partners wear many different hats and are pulled in multiple directions. Whether a small solution provider or global systems integrator, finding nurturing and qualifying leads has always been a huge challenge. Many of those partners with limited resources look to their vendors to provide sales qualified leads (SQLs) and either never see them, or, if they do, receive a lead or two, have no context and instead spend their time nurturing business they feel more confident with.{ad}

The largest obstacle is prioritization and communication. Do I spend my time nurturing folks on LinkedIn to ensure when I send an email they’ll take action? Should I focus on the lead that was tossed over the wall from my vendor and try to pick up where they left off, knowing I need to sell myself to the prospect all over again? Can I gain any traction at events, or email campaigns, or good ol’ cold calling?

CP: What is one attribute partners should be looking for in a vendor program?  

HM: Pinpointing one attribute is like buying a car because you like the seat heaters — though I do like a good seat heater. It’s incredibly important to look at the entire picture.

Ensure that the vendor …:

  • understands their business and goals.
  • provides resources to enable their success including a portal, marketing automation tools, demand generation materials, CAM/PBM/PAM.
  • develops programs and promotions that will help them grow their business and manages channel conflict.
  • has helpful partner facing teams who understand the channel.
  • has solutions that are sought after by customers. Do they work?
  • is a company that’s a good fit for you and your customers.

You can sum it up by saying the one thing to look for is …


… whether or not this vendor will be beneficial for your business.

CP: What lessons related to this topic have you learned in your own career?

HM: There is no “one size fits all” solution. Vendors need to provide options around partner demand generation to ensure the small, nimble solution provider and the massive SISOs have the resources they need to be successful.

Second, listen to what partners want. Vendors should have an active two-way conversation with partners either through their PAM or hosting an event like partner advisory councils where vendors hear feedback and get to know the partners’ businesses better.

Finally, partners need to do the work. If vendors go out of their way to listen and provide the resources asked for, it is vital for partner success and the relationship that they take time to execute on the activities, nurture leads and close business.{ad}

CP: What do you hope partners will take away from your talk?

HM: Relationships are the key to a successful business, including demand-generation strategy. People do business with people they like, not with companies. We are living in a digital world and relationships now start online; so whatever you would have done face-to-face or through the course of a relationship has an online equivalent. Be sure you incorporate that point of view into your integrated demand-generation strategy.

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