How to Support Your Channel Through Challenging Times
At a time when we’re all trying to make lemonade out of lemons, channel leaders across the B2B universe are realizing the need to strengthen and enhance their partner relationships.
During these uncertain times – focus on being the consultative, supportive partner your channel needs.
Supporting your partners
Most channels are made up of small-to-midsize companies focused on delivery and execution, with minimal internal marketing or demand generation. These companies are at high risk in the current economic climate. Now, more than ever, your partners need your full support.
Like many companies at this time, your partners are struggling to remain afloat. Productivity is hindered by (understandably) conflicting priorities as employees shift to working from home. Once-so-promising pipeline and deals have stalled – as needs and budgets are shifting. Revenue projections may be altered as partners are struggling to maintain revenue continuity.
As much as we want to continue “business as usual”, for most companies, that’s just not even a remote possibility right now. At this time, focus on assisting your partners to the other side of this crisis.
Having a ‘partner brand-first mentality’ doesn’t work right now
What’s going to happen to your channel partners during this pandemic? They need leads and opportunities in order to survive. If you truly want to put your partner’s future first, refocus resources on a marketing strategy that leverages your brand.
The vast majority of times your brand has a much stronger presence than your channel partner’s, so the brand recognition resonates with the prospective customer and typically has a higher response and conversion rate – while also giving you the flexibility to position your entire portfolio of solutions.
In this time of companies in the market preserving cash, limiting spend, and being extremely conservative with initiating projects, it’s imperative to find the projects they WILL be spending on this year.
An unfortunate situation with channel partners is many times they are only able to resell certain solutions to certain industries in certain markets (which means a project could be identified that a partner cannot support, so it falls by the wayside).
Brand-centric messaging allows you the opportunity to approach a prospective account and uncover where the money will be spent and match the initiative with the right partner to pursue.
Making the most out of your MDF
Some companies have a rule that all MDF has to be spent on the marketing specific activity that the individual partners dictate, however most companies have the flexibility within their MDF to spend it on whatever will drive channel business forward.
If you can, reallocate your MDF to drive leads for the channel as a whole. At this time, we’re seeing companies switching focus from building out their channel partners’ marketing strategy and focus more on building a consolidated broad reaching program to drive industry specific and persona specific messaging.
By consolidating your MDF and putting a program in place where you’re marketing your brand; you can focus on feeding your partners with opportunities to close.
Lasting channel loyalty
Use this time to establish meaningful relationships with your partners that create lasting channel loyalty. Here are a few ways to show your support:
Gain visibility into the fruit of your channel marketing investments
Your channels are a key component of your organization. And the health of your partner channel ecosystem can make or break your organization.
If you’re like most channel leaders we work with, you struggle with lead follow up and visibility within the channel. To give you visibility into your MDF results, assurance your product is being positioned and sold, your partners are driving expedited sales cycles, and enable closed-loop reporting, add-in a layer of Televerde SDRs to generate, nurture, and track quality leads – ensuring full visibility into MDF ROI.
Our SDRs work alongside your partners to assure that no opportunities fall through the cracks. The result is alignment between you and your partner channel, a shorter sales cycle, and increased revenue for your company.