By Daniel Graff-Radford, CEO, Allbound
There are any number of ways that the benefits of participating in a channel marketing program can be effectively communicated to your partner ecosystem. But few members of your team can have as much impact on partner engagement in through-channel marketing programs as your channel or partner account managers.
In personal communication with your top- and second-tier partners, channel managers can be a vendor’s most influential partner marketing evangelists. The key word there is ‘personal’ for communication. We are all tired of formulaic messages. This is your company’s shot at something personalized for that partner. All personalized messages from your channel account managers should have 3 elements:
I bet you think your channel account managers have a great handle on your latest marketing initiatives and product updates. How can you absolutely know? I recommend a belt and suspender approach here. First, relay the information the way you do – video training, email, webinar, carrier pigeon. Then do a ‘Call Calibration’ review. If you are like almost all companies, the calls your CAMs are having with your partners are recorded. Review one call as an example (rotating who gets picked evenly) for feedback from leaders on each relevant department. What did they do great, what can be improved? Post the recording with recorded feedback for all team members to learn from.
Great channel managers are great advocates for their partners, many times working on or in their business. There is a grey line in some of the best relationships. Some great behaviors here include:
Without a doubt, channel managers should also advocate for their partners, helping them communicate what kind of marketing support they believe would be effective. Too often, channel marketing teams operate in a near-vacuum, leading to decision-making based on limited information.
While channel marketing may see the analytics on a given campaign’s performance — using the metrics on A/B tests to hone their promotional materials and so on — channel managers can serve as a fount of auxiliary information to bring into the fold and inform marketing endeavors. Folding channel manager knowledge into the marketing team’s repertoire can help improve not only sales-directed marketing collateral, but can give the marketing team new and more effective ideas for the brand as a whole.
Channel managers can help partners share what they learn in the field. Partners communicate directly with customers, giving them unique perspectives about content effectiveness with various audiences. In fact, if they hail from a different industry or geography than the vendor really understands, partners may be the best inside source at your disposal!
Qualitative insights aren’t the only item in a partner manager’s toolbox; some partner portals enable them to measure engagement and assisted conversions to make informed content decisions. The right data can help channel managers and marketers deduce:
Partner managers and channel managers should not necessarily base important content marketing decisions on these KPIs, alone. Instead, unexpected data points can steer conversations with partners to root out opportunities for improvements.
Like the partners they support, channel managers have a lot on their plate. So encouraging them to be flag bearers for channel marketing programs might require suggesting some winning tactics. Here are a few:
Allbound is a software as a service (SaaS) PRM platform that gives its customers and partners real-time access to sales enablement, marketing tools, and resources. Users can manage the partner life cycle from onboarding, training, enablement to pipeline management.