Partner program managers are on notice to change their ways. The Channel Doctor, Mike Dubrall, in his eChannelLine blog this week, admonished channel executives for sticking with the same old channel marketing and sales programs when products, business models and buying behaviors have changed.
“It’s time to forget partner Web sites, e-mail, PDF attachments, and lead generation programs; move away from Webinars and breakfast meetings; and, kick traditional marketing support activities to the curb,“ he wrote.
OK, Doc, what’s left?
The next generation of channel programs will be based on Web 2.0. That means social networking, virtual communities, Web-based collaboration, etc.
Why is that? These social networking sites are the way buyers interact. That, in turn, impacts the entire value chain, he reasoned.
The Channel Doctor went so far as to argue that virtual communities will replace partner portals, and thus facilitate partner collaboration and eliminate “vendor-controlled knowledge transfer.”
Already channel communities are forming organically in existing social networking sites like Linked In. And, they are shifting to more specialized platforms. Motorola told PHONE+ it’s about ready to launch a closed social network for its nearly 10,000 enterprise mobility partners.
So the question is, will you be like Motorola and lead your partners into the Web 2.0 World or let them drag you kicking and screaming? Or worse, leave you behind?