Rising Above Partner Channel Challenges

A recap of our latest webinar on optimizing your partner channel.

Last week, we were thrilled to host Tim Harmon of Forrester as a guest speaker for our webinar “Turn Your Partner Channel into a Marketing Engine”. His expertise about all things channel, marketing and technology is impressive. As I listened to Tim speak, I couldn’t help but feel like we were only touching the tip of the iceberg of his knowledge. For those unable to attend, I’ve shared some of the highlights below. You can also access the webinar recording here (login required).

Having joined the Televerde marketing team three months ago, I’ve been very impressed with the specific client work that we do to help streamline and grow partner channels. I’ve worked on marketing teams from both the manufacturing and the reseller perspective, and through these experiences, I identified closely with the partner channel challenges outlined in the presentation (27:00) at slide #19. From quantifying the marketing spend to crafting a great marketing program to ensuring a seamless partner experience, I could vividly remember the same difficulties at previous jobs.

Throughout the webinar, Televerde CMO, Ray Kemper, highlighted the work that Televerde did to help some of our clients address specific channel challenges. Ranging from strategic marketing planning (19:05) to demand generation (31:55), it showed that no company, big or small, is immune from channel trials.

One of the most interesting parts of the presentation was how Tim was able to break down the types of B2B partners (46:55). Every channel executive has experienced those partners that want you to do if for them, those that will sell with or without your help to those that need a little hand-holding. This range of partner needs makes it difficult to know where to focus resources for the best return. But by categorizing and regularly updating partner profiles, companies can understand where their partners sit on the spectrum and what level of engagement and marketing support they need. Side note: my new favorite term is “turtlerockets” (slide 35).

That brings us to the technology component. While Tim did an excellent job summarizing the partner channel technology landscape, I recently had the opportunity to see a demo of a leading Through Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) platform.

Wow, was I impressed with the ease of use, slickness and functionality! The three characteristics of a TCMA platform means that companies aren’t restricted to the 80/20 rule that traditionally governs both sales and partnerships.

  • Federalism: the platform splits the power between the partner and the OEM
  • Syndication: OEM’s create once and distribute to many
  • Latitudinal discretion: the majority of the marketing content created is locked down, but some remains flexible for co-branding.

As with most things in life, ‘you get out of it what you put into it’. In my experience, this is especially true for partner channel strategies. An off-the-cuff question from Ray along these lines resonated with me. Before transitioning to slide 9 (13:00) Ray asked Tim, “Partner channels come with a certain underlying tension between the Company and its partner network, and I think it centers around trust. From your point of view, how much of this is ‘healthy’ tension and what are some signs you’ve tipped over to the unhealthy tension side of things?” As Tim addressed healthy and unhealthy tension in terms of alignment in a brand/partner relationship I thought about how, at the core of it, trust is the key to mutual success for any successful alliance. What do you think?
Celeste Jacroux

Televerde is a global sales and marketing outsourcing company that works with companies to get the most out of their demand generation programs and partner channels. We work across industries, including technology, healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, venture capital and more. If we can be of service for meeting your revenue and performance goals, please call us at 888-787-2829.

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