It’s a painful fact of channel marketing life that resellers will fail to use the vast majority of content created for them. Vendors waste significant amounts of time, effort and money generating collateral that customers never see, or developing programs that partners just aren’t on board with.
Recently I joined Martha Stuart, Director North America Marketing at Sophos, for a Baptie webinar on what content works in today’s channel, and why so much content doesn’t work. (You can view a Brainshark presentation of the webinar here.) CRN rates Sophos among the top channel marketers, and their success is no accident.
So why don’t resellers – who frequently have little or no capacity to create their own collateral – not use what vendors send them?
Partners want to focus on building their unique brand identity.
They don’t want to look like their vendors, or their competitors who also work with those same vendors. They want to be perceived as trusted advisors and experts in their marketplace, with a proven ability to provide clients with the best solutions for their needs.
Vendor content usually doesn’t promote the partner’s business.
It promotes the vendor’s business. This doesn’t lead resellers into the kind of professional or managed annuity services that generate revenue and cement ongoing value-add relationships with their customers.
The reseller’s sales staff wants to safeguard their top clients and prospects.
Partners understandably want to keep valuable client relationships to themselves, to ensure their value proposition is not diluted or confused. They don’t want these key people to receive conflicting or non-relevant communications, or simply too many communications, such as mass-marketing campaign outreach.
Partners have little or no marketing resources.
According to a recent market study, 63% of reseller organizations have no marketing staff. This makes it a challenge for them to repurpose or effectively leverage content that isn’t properly targeted “out of the box” to their specific business needs or in a format they can use.
So how can channel marketers get their partners’ attention and get their key messages in front of end customers and prospects? Going a step further, how can vendors get direct access to the top customers and prospects that have traditionally been kept off-limits to them by partner sales teams?
As I outlined in a previous blog post on the topic of “content that works,” vendors need to deliver content that partners can and will use. Which means content that:
Supports partners’ value propositions and business goals.
Is accessible to end customers in the mediums they want to use – e.g., social media -- over mobile devices.
Offers insight into customer and prospect interest levels, to facilitate prioritized follow-up and informed conversations to support all points in the selling/buying cycle.
Can be easily and effectively repurposed by busy sales staff. Ideally (as with the Brainshark Channel Solution) the content should be easy to co-brand and wrap with messaging, so that partner sales teams can continue to build “trusted advisor” status with their top customers and prospects.
Increasing the quality of communications to your partners – and ultimately to end customers – will result in higher conversion rates to qualified leads and opportunities. That means delivering more revenue through partner sales.
How does your organization give partners “the right stuff?” Please comment and share your experiences.