By Bonnie Russell, ITA Group, Inc.
The following is an excerpt from an ITA Group white paper, “Growing and Retaining Business Through Channel Partners”.
When done right, selling through channel partners allows organizations to reach new markets, launch new products and service customers effectively. It starts with establishing clear objectives around channel engagement, value-based programs and consistent communication to partners. Identify what value your organization brings to elevate a channel partner’s business and develop the right tools and resources.
More importantly, position your channel partner as the hero in solving business challenges for customers by inspiring loyalty and developing trust with them. Consider offering a blend of training, demos, marketing tools and lead generation programs, for example. In addition, provide coaching to channel partners on identifying and positioning solutions with assessment guides, scripts and case studies. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and reward channel partners for meeting goals.
New Channel Rewards Tactics
Take a new approach with channel rewards by focusing on segmenting your channel partners and personas. Develop a blend of behavior-based and sales-based elements to increase engagement and grow your pipeline. Keep in mind that motivation is a personal thing, not a one-size fits all solution, so allow for choices when it comes to rewards. Communication is critical. Create an on-going plan to keep your program top of mind with channel partners. Track the program holistically and identify the data points that you need to capture in order to easily see what’s working and where you need to make improvements. Finally, gather on-going feedback from stakeholders including sales teams and partners to maintain a pulse on how to keep the program fresh and interesting.
Learn Through Immersive, Experiential Events
Transform your next partner conference into a unique incentive experience. Immerse them in your brand, provide hands-on experience with your products and infuse fun and interactive elements that keep them interested.
According to a report from market research firm Demand Metric, “Events are second only to email when it comes to the most effective B2B marketing tactics.” Per the report, “85% of B2B marketers say events are either ‘critical’ or ‘very important’ for accelerating the sales pipeline and driving revenue.”
Create events where partners are able to exchange ideas and hear from their peers. Craft strategies and tactics to gain their attention early on through pre-event communication, and leverage social media to create buzz prior to the event. Don’t forget about post-event tactics such as gathering feedback, providing highlights of the event and the ways your audience can continue to engage with your organization. A uniformed theme will bring all your communication and on-site elements together, helping to create a lasting impression. Nothing connects people and brands quite like an immersive experience
About Bonnie Russell
Bonnie is a sales and marketing professional at ITA Group (www.itagroup.com) with over 17 years of experience designing and operating channel programs and events. Her experience includes working in distribution creating go-to-market strategies for top manufacturers. She is focused on helping solve challenges and uncover new revenue opportunities in the fast-paced and constantly changing technology marketplace.