In my previous post, I discussed the importance of including departments other than corporate marketing and direct sales in marketing automation stakeholder interviews and described some key interview questions for the services and support departments.

Channel marketing and channel sales are also important stakeholders for marketing automation platform selection. Although many of their needs and focus areas will be similar to those of field and program marketing and direct sales, others are quite different. Interview channel marketing and sales on the following topics:

  • Channel programs. Channel marketing initiates programs to, for and on behalf of channel partners. Ask about the types and number of lead generation or nurturing programs provided. Also inquire how current channel programs can be enhanced through automation and if any additional programs are planned or desired for the future.
  • Channel contact and lead management. Only certain types of leads are managed via the channel. Ask about the determining factors that push leads into the channel and the degree of qualification these leads must have achieved. Ask how leads are routed to channel partners, how channel deals are reported, and how channel partner contacts are entered into and updated in the sales force automation or partner relationship system.
  • Sales process. The sales process to potential original equipment manufacturer and channel partners differs from the process for traditional direct sales. Ask channel sales to describe the sales process and stages for each partner type.
  • Reporting. Determine what reports and analytics the channel sales and marketing functions currently use, and which reports and analytics they would like to access that can be generated directly from – or in combination with – a marketing automation platform.
  • Responsibilities of marketing. Just as you asked your services and support functions, determine what channel sales and marketing believe corporate marketing is responsible for as it relates to their roles.