Establishing a channel partner program takes time and effort, but can be rewarding for everyone involved. That’s why 57% of organizations report using partnerships to acquire new customers. However, not all strategic partnerships work.
Taking the right steps to create, develop, and nurture channel partnerships requires a proactive approach. When done right, these strategic partnerships can produce significant results.
By 2025, McKinsey & Company reports that a third of all sales will come from an ecosystem of cross-industry partners working together to solve customer problems. These channel partnerships can be invaluable to revenue growth.
The benefits of channel partnerships include:
- Generating more qualified leads
- Leveraging partner relationships to attract new customers
- Increasing conversion rates
- Reducing customer acquisition costs
- Extending your marketing reach through partners
- Expanding brand awareness through new channels
- Growing indirect sales revenue
By utilizing channel partners to promote your products and leverage customer relationships, you can significantly grow your customer base. The best channel partnerships can help you scale growth without having to grow your internal sales and marketing teams.
The right partnerships can help you scale your business fast. Just ask the folks at the video conferencing platform Zoom. When the pandemic opened up new sales opportunities, a referral program with channel partners is what drove unprecedented growth. More than 70% of the company’s growth with the U.S. federal government, for example, came from channel partners. In some markets, the company stopped all direct sales efforts and shifted to channel partner relationships only.
To realize the benefits of channel partnerships, you need to find, attract, and secure relationships with compatible brands.
Once you secure channel partners, one of the biggest challenges in creating an effective relationship involves aligning your goals and providing the right co-branded content. Content may be difficult to find, difficult to manage, or even non-existent. On top of that, most channel partners say they don’t have the marketing staff or bandwidth to execute campaigns for their partners. This means you need to be proactive in your marketing with channel partners and through channel partners.
Let’s break down the three phases of developing robust and productive channel partnerships:
- Marketing to channel partners
- Marketing with channel partners
- Marketing through channel partners
A great channel partnership works for everyone. You improve demand generation and lead generation. You can enter new markets and grow both partners’ customer base and sales.
When marketing to B2B channel partners, employ best practices to find the ideal partner for your products. You want to become a solutions partner with the right channel partners and build a long-term relationship.
Doing so requires you to evaluate everything you provide from the channel partner’s point of view.
- What marketing support can you offer?
- Do you provide training courses to make startup and maintenance easy?
- How does your business model benefit your partner?
- What technical support can you offer, especially to small businesses?
Most importantly, how can you create a turnkey approach that makes it attractive to a potential partner without increasing their workload? By acting as a true channel consultant rather than a seller, you can increase the channel partner benefit and provide an incentive for them to work with you.
When approaching new partners, you need to clearly present your value proposition to demonstrate how your products can help secure new customers and improve customer satisfaction.
At the partnership level, sales teams need to be convinced that adding you as a channel partner will allow them to:
- Make direct sales, indirect sales, or sell deeper into an existing customer base
- Open up new markets or niches
- Prevent customers from looking to competitors for products and solutions
- Provide solutions for customers’ problems
- Elevate the channel partner’s brand by aligning with you
Everything you do to select partners and entice them to join your channel marketing efforts should be focused on how easy it is to work with you, what you do to grow partner engagement, and how you can help their business grow.
You should market to channel partners in much the same way as you do to direct B2B customers. Using an automated marketing platform that focuses on the buyer experience, we can build personalized content to drive engagement across the entire buyer’s journey.
When you use the Folloze buyer experience platform, you can target channel partners and customize content in a variety of ways. Content delivery can be personalized whether someone is a sales rep, sales manager, CFO, CIO, systems integrator, or works at any level of the organization. Not only can Folloze create this customized journey to solicit new channel partners, but it can optimize your efforts at every step.
Folloze can help attract new channel partners by crafting a personalized approach to sales orchestration. By creating an adaptable end-to-end marketing process, you can manage each touchpoint with your marketing messages and gain real-time insights that help you optimize your efforts. This allows you to craft specific offers and incentives based upon engagement and behavior.
It also enables you to target high-value channel partners and arm your sales team with powerful insights to continuously improve your marketing efforts.
Creating joint marketing campaigns with your channel partners can improve engagement and drive growth.
When you are co-marketing, you can work together, and separately, to benefit everyone with coordinated marketing tools and channel sales resources. You can work together to launch sophisticated and personalized buyer journeys. With Folloze, you can provide all of the resources needed to increase brand awareness and increase revenue opportunities, while reducing the workload on your channel partners. This affords a distinct competitive advantage while also allowing you to maintain complete control of your marketing support.
Folloze lets you build a highly engaging and dynamic partner resource center that goes well beyond product descriptions. Folloze automatically personalizes content for each partner so visitors see relevant content that is organized and tailored to where they are on their buying journey.
You can also track the buyer’s journey to optimize performance. You can track every potential customer touchpoint to see what visitors engage with, how long they spent with each piece of content, what they shared or forwarded, etc.
As channel partnership solution providers, we make it easy to create and manage the content within the resource center that is easily embedded in partner distribution channels. This allows you to control all of your branded content across all channel partner sites.
This also saves a significant amount of time for your channel partners. They no longer have to take marketing materials and update them. This creates additional work for those managing the channel partner program’s marketing efforts. Besides making it easier for your channel manager, you also make sure information is current and portrayed in a manner that will help you more tightly control the customer experience.
You won’t be at the mercy of when your partner can update their materials, which can result in outdated or missing information within the channel program. New products get posted on your timetable and you don’t have to wait for your partner program coordinator to take action.
Channel partners simply don’t have the time or resources to create and execute marketing campaigns on your behalf. That’s OK because they may not have the expertise to do it effectively or understand the nuance of your products or solutions. Marketing through your channel partners effectively keeps you in control of the marketing message.
In most cases, channel partners will use whatever marketing materials you provide. This means you need to provide them with the right materials to make it work for both of you, and make it simple for your partners.
A report from Forrester Research showed that nearly half of brands have implemented some form of through-channel marketing, but just 17% are satisfied they are getting significant value from their efforts.
Through-channel marketing can be a challenge since you are using indirect channels. Even when people do buy your products or solutions, their relationship can remain with the channel partner. It can be difficult to build solid relationships with end-users or customers.
While your channel partner may be the conduit to sales, you can’t rely on them to market your product for you. That’s why you need to maintain control over the messaging and the marketing efforts to drive growth. By creating the right content mix, you can provide relevant and engaging content that benefits both you and your channel partner.
When you control the content for your partners, you can:
- Create more relevant content
- Focus on pain points and solutions in a manner that’s proven effective for your organization
- Be consistent in your messaging across all of your platforms and channel partners
- Deliver stage-based content for each stage of the buyer’s journey
With Folloze, you can craft the right messages and deliver them at exactly the right time. Even within your channel partner’s website, you can use Folloze’s powerful marketing and targeting tools to optimize your marketing across the buyer’s journey.
With the Folloze buyer experience platform, you can:
- Identify and target prospects
- Use first-party and third-party data to contextualize
- Use intelligent content nomination to recommend the best content at the right time
- Analyze and understand prospect engagement to optimize nurturing
- Orchestrate sales and marketing efforts to drive conversions
Folloze provides a closed-loop orchestration process to target, direct, personalize, and measure tailored account experiences.
Folloze provides the tools you need to find, secure, support, and leverage channel partners to build a mutually beneficial — and profitable — relationship.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help power your channel partnerships for greater success, request a personalized demo today.