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How Companies Can Enable Their Channel Partners with Better Marketing

Marketing

… the steps listed in Bullseye Marketing, what I call an intuitive marketing program.

  • Fully exploit their existing marketing assets. That happens by actions such as improving their website, ramping up their email programs (still ranked by marketers as one of the top marketing channels), and improving collaboration between their sales and marketing teams. These Phase 1 programs are built on marketing assets that many companies don’t even realize they have and are like forgotten money stored in a shoe box under the bed. As a result they are typically inexpensive – often free – and can produce results in weeks or a few months, helping create buy-in for expanding into the other phases.
  • Sell to people who want to buy now. Our markets are much smaller than we think they are because unless you’re selling something that people consume every day, like food, it may be months or years before a particular customer is interested in buying your product. Just as a person who bought a new car last month is unlikely to buy another one soon, a company that made a major capital purchase may be unlikely to repeat that particular purchase soon. Even service providers may not be reviewed until they displease the client. So it’s important to use tools such as search ads and third-party intent data that identify customers who plan to buy now.
  • Cast a wider net with long-term awareness and brand-building programs. This is where blogging, social media, display ads and other awareness programs come into play. While in the long run they may be valuable, these typically can take two or three years – or longer – to produce significant amounts of leads and sales.

Companies that start with Phase 3 programs (as many uninformed ones do) are likely to throw up their hands after a few months and say, “We knew marketing doesn’t work for us.” But by using the approach I’ve outlined, they can have some quick wins, build confidence and go on to marketing success.

After educating partners on these marketing fundamentals, vendors and their marketing partners can support channel partners on their marketing execution by:

  • Helping them develop marketing strategies and action plans.
  • Providing ongoing consultation and support on the execution of the marketing programs.
  • Furnishing managed marketing services, acting in the short run as a marketing department for companies as they build their own.

While procuring these execution services may seem to be the responsibility of the partners – paying for them could help the partners put skin in the game — some vendors will want to pay for them for their best partners.

This isn’t a silver bullet — just the education phase and executing on steps in Phase 1 will take some time. But, as enterprises have shown for decades, those companies and partners that prioritize marketing can generate significant incremental channel revenue.

Louis Gudema is the president of revenue & associates, and helps companies grow faster by helping their channel partners grow faster. He is the author of Bullseye Marketing, which is available on Amazon. Follow Louis on LinkedIn or @LouisGudema on Twitter.

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