The world of marketing has become increasingly complex in recent years. With omnichannel approaches, platforms and various content approaches. Sometimes it can seem like the job of a marketer is never done. But thankfully, new ways of tackling our marketing problems have also emerged, including process improvement strategies and new ideas.
How to Create Ideal Channel Marketing Partners
You will often hear the term channel marketing used, and will often be used in conjunction with the term partner people, but what do these terms mean? How can they benefit you and how are you going to build this so-called ideal partner personality?
What is Channel Marketing?
In its simplest form, channel marketing is about participating in the total life cycle of a product; from the point of initial production to its final use by the consumer. That life cycle can consist of various levels of people, organizations, and activities. Not forgetting who is involved in the process as a whole.
Your channel marketing partners help you promote the benefits of the product, either to end consumers or to other links in the chain. This can also include distributors, affiliate partners, agents, resellers, and other third parties.
Channel marketing is based on the idea that the relationship is symbiotic and mutually beneficial. Unlike your usual way of promoting and advertising your products, your channel partners can be independent companies that are promoting the same product as you, which means that your product may reach a different audience than if you were operating alone.
Third parties benefit as well as your business, since they can receive a percentage of the total sales or, in the case of resellers, they can access discounts if they buy your product in bulk. Channel marketing can also be beneficial if you don’t have the resources (human or financial) to facilitate the necessary levels of marketing on your own.
The Partner Person
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The first thing to emphasize is that a partner is not a real person. Instead, it is a representation of who your ideal channel marketing partner can be. Most of the time it is based on market research and data analysis of who your target demographic consumers are. There are several benefits to defining that person as a partner:
- Identify – helping you find partners that are relevant to you (your type of business, your market and your target customers).
- Understand – helping you understand what drives your partners, what their perspectives are and what motivates them.
- Communication – A good definition of the associated persons means that it can be easier to communicate with them, especially if you share a common UCaaS platform.
- Commitment – It is easier to interact with partners if you have a clear understanding of who they are and what they want.
- Personalization – clearly define your partner’s personas – makes it easy for you to customize partner programs to be mutually beneficial.
How to create ideal partners
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Creating the personality of your perfect match is not just a case of jotting down a ‘wish list’. If you approach this exercise carelessly and without careful research, you could do your business more harm than good. There are a number of factors that contribute to the partner’s personality:
- Demography – ideally, they should already be working with the demographics you want to target (or be positioned to). For example, if you want to offer content writing services, it would make sense to partner with an organization that offers SEO optimization and keyword research services.
- Size and scope – The idea of bringing partners on board is to expand your reach and increase sales. There is little point in partnering with a single unit that has a limited customer base.
- Credibility and experience – you want new members to have some experience in your particular industry. Experience and knowledge of the product, or at least the type of product, means they have credibility with potential customers.
- Cohesion – When an organization offers products or services that complement theirs, they can become an ideal partner. For example, if you offer a complex SaaS package, a company that can offer localization testing could be a good partner.
- Values – Sometimes you have to look beyond the basic financial factors and consider whether a potential partner lives up to your company’s values. For example, if you are producing reusable silicone cups and mugs, you probably don’t want to partner with a company that produces a high volume of single-use plastic items.
- Profits – There should be some equality when it comes to benefits. This does not mean that the benefits are divided equally, but rather that both benefit from forming any type of partnership. This benefit does not have to be economic; It could mean increases (for both) in brand awareness, visibility, reach, and reputation. For partners, it could also include expanding your knowledge base by offering product training.
- Customer service -How does your potential partner provide customer support? Do they have a dedicated call center or do they use a high degree of automation like IVR?
- Goals – Ideally, a good partner should share some of their goals and motivations. If you both want to work towards the same or similar goals, then a successful partnership is more likely to be established.
How do you establish a successful channel partner program?
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So you’ve spent some time creating what you see as your ideal partner persona. And further research has identified potential partners that you think fit that person. How do you get started creating the channel partner program you’ve envisioned? Some factors include the following:
- Profile – Build a profile of your potential partner. Where do they do marketing / sales? What challenges will you face in marketing your product? What help, if any, do you need to be a successful partner?
- Program – Create what you think is a good reseller program. List the benefits they will receive and what support or assistance you can offer.
- Introduction – Finding the right way to introduce yourself can be crucial. Will you send a cover letter with detailed information? Or will you host a meeting (in person or virtual) to discuss this in more detail?
- Time frame – Suggest a term for the authorization and establishment of the association. This should include things like product training (if required) and an agreed start date for them to offer their products to customers. This could also include a checklist for various goals or progress points.
- Application and / or Contract – if necessary, ask the reseller to make a formal request listing their qualifications to sell on your behalf and experience. If the details are already agreed upon through meetings or calls, write a contract that defines the relationship between you and what you both expect from the agreement.
- Policies – this can be included in any contract and will cover all policies and procedures related to your association. For them, that could include how to deal with potential clients and for you, it could cover other factors as well, such as training programs.
Food to go
The successful marketing (and selling) of your product takes many different approaches. For example, you might want to combine content marketing for SaaS with a strong channel marketing strategy that includes partners that complement your product well. How you identify partners and create a program will also depend on the industry in which you operate.
Software developers looking for partners can often ask what quality control is and its place in their current business model. A company that offers organic fruits and vegetables will look for a partner that values sustainability. Customizing your partner’s people to suit you is crucial in tackling the problem.
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