Have you ever cooked a meal only to taste it and discover that a key ingredient was left out, so the meal did not taste quite right or have the intended flavor? All of the preparations and resources used to make that meal were not enough, because that one critical ingredient was missing from the mix.

In much the same way, suppliers commonly provide channel partners with sales and product training, but often miss essential marketing training. Partners frequently lack the expertise to develop and execute demand programs that align to target markets and address specific buyer needs, so they need a recipe to follow to skillfully market supplier solutions. That recipe is marketing certification.

Suppliers making the shift to partner-led marketing should invest in a marketing certification program to drive adoption within their partner network. Marketing certification combines marketing skills transfer and supplier-specific program information. Certification fulfills the role of qualifying partners to ensure that they can develop and deliver marketing programs efficiently and effectively.

To optimize marketing certification’s effectiveness, avoid using it as a standalone tactic; instead, always leverage it as a key ingredient in an overall “baking” process for engaging and enabling partners in partner-led demand programs. Too often, suppliers fail to tie enablement efforts to their demand programs and suffer from lack of partner adoption and poor program performance. Suppliers should use enablement in the form of marketing certification to engage partners in demand creation activities.

SiriusDecisions’ research indicates that partners are three times more likely to accept a supplier’s demand offer if it’s made as part of a training or certification exercise. In the channel, as in life, timing is everything.