Channel marketers are being squeezed between the proverbial rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they’re doing anything they can to assist in the recruitment of new partners, contributing to sales and marketing enablement efforts, and ultimately attempting to attract partners to participate in demand generation programs. On the other, they’re being held accountable for sizable channel revenue goals, and can be asked to contribute at least 40 to 50 percent (or more) to net new pipeline.
Yet, fast-tracking demand in B2B channels is not about random acts of enablement, marketing or sales that can individually contribute to this effort. It’s much more about how an organization profiles its partners, engages them in a marketing enablement process, and then offers them – through concierge-like services that can guide them through the demand process – an easy-to-follow menu of activities.
There are six stages that act as mile markers on the road to fast-tracking demand in the channel. However, realize that this is a continuous process; each stage must precede the next in order to effectively engage partners in marketing activities they can use to drive pipeline revenue.
The six channel demand mile markers that SiriusDecisions recommends are:
Profile partners. Gather data on partner marketing capabilities, relative targets, verticals and marketing requirements before building anything. Learn what works best and what to avoid in order to deliver effective programs that partners will want to run.
Enable partners on how to market effectively. Teach partners through short training “bursts” (e.g. webcasts, self-paced learning) what core marketing fundamentals they should know (e.g. buyer’s journey and demand type for products they will sell). Don’t forget to teach them how and where to find program assets.
Certify them on marketing. Include the benefit of marketing certification in order to keep partners engaged. Our data shows they will be three times more likely to stay engaged if there’s something in it for them in the short run.
Apply concierge services. Using internal or external teleservices, assist partners in selecting and executing marketing programs, letting them know what to expect in terms of cost, time frames, expected outcomes and what’s included in each play.
Offer partners a menu of marketing plays. Instead of having them construct the marketing program, have them customize assets and preassemble programs so that all the partner has to do is order.
Measure performance. The last step requires that channel marketers measure their performance, most notably marketing contribution to pipeline, tactical ROI and percentage of pipeline spent on marketing. These metrics will offer the transparency needed to make course corrections.
SiriusDecisions research has clearly indicated that decoupling any of these channel demand stages causes them to be less effective. The journey to rapid revenue growth is not an easy one, but it’s reachable for companies that follow this process.