So how do you reach your channel audience? Brainshark held its quarterly online Channel Communications Exchange last week entitled "Communication Secrets of Channel Leaders". I was joined by three channel thought leaders - Pete Koliopolous from EMC, Sharon Chumash from SAP and Mike Dubrall from the Gilwell Group - for an information packed hour about all the ways to communicate with channel partners and what's working and what's not. View the replay.
One thing was clear from our speakers - email and webcasts are becoming much less effective by the day. Channel partners are inundated with emails from loads of vendors, as well as customers, internal and more. At the same time, as many as 2/3 of people that register for online events don't show up - when the time comes, they forget or can't attend and they know they will probably get a replay of it that they can view at their convenience - interesting.
Here are four communication secrets that topped the conversation.
Communicate where your channel partners are. Sure, email and webcasts are part of that. But more importantly, you need to be using video, discussion groups, interactive events, and social media. Interestingly, all of these mediums are available on-demand rather than live and scheduled. It's clear that people want to learn and converse at times that are convenient for them - about subjects they care about.
Make sure your message is concise and relevant for your audience. Pete talked about the incredible value of your lists. Not only do you need to make sure they are up-to-date and scrubbed, but make sure they are segmented by your different audiences so you can speak with them about stuff they care about, information that supports their business and helps them do their job. If you don't, they won't even "pick-up" the next time you reach out to them - or worse, they will filter you out and opt-out.
Make sure you use mediums that they want. The way you interact with your partners was another hot topic, which is about offering choices as people have their own preferences. Sharon illustrated this point when she polled the attendees on how they best retain information and learn: whether seeing (visual), hearing (auditory), or touching (kinesthetic). Over 70% responded with seeing and visual as their primary preference. Now that we have overcome bandwidth issues, have embraced mobile and have the means to create on-demand multimedia, there are lots of options to converse with your channel partners in ways they want.
Make sure you get feedback and can measure the impact of your channel communications. How else are you going to make sure you're doing the right things? Whether that's surveying your partners, talking about relevant topics that allow you to engage with them or using communications tools that provide the feedback you need on how your message is received....make sure these are all part of your strategy.
Brainshark provides a multimedia content creation and distribution solution that provides impactful channel partner-ready communications. Brainsharks are online and on-demand, and provide you with feedback every time one is viewed. It allows you to repurpose existing content, such as white papers, videos and presentations, or easily create new communications that are delivered online, in flash format - anywhere your audience has web-access, whether mobile, wi-fi, tablets. In blogs, websites, tweets, discussion groups and yes - email.