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If you’re managing a channel program or some aspect of it, you are likely thinking about the impact Coronavirus may have on your company’s ongoing interactions with partners. It’s commonplace — almost a requisite — that PAMs meet with partners regularly to support them in their sales and marketing efforts. So, what happens when those meetings are deemed non-essential travel?

Here are three things channel leaders should be thinking about in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

 

1. Amp Up Partner Marketing 

Why emphasize partner marketing now, especially if your partners aren’t engaged? Virtually every analyst or marketing consulting firm will agree, events are not dead. While the buyer continues to consume more and more digital content, in-person or virtual events are still a leading tactic when selling B2B solutions, especially for offerings with an ASP over $50K. Except under the current situation, you’ve got to be thinking more digital and less in-person. Like the viral “Wuhan shake” that’s replaced handshakes and fist bumps across Asia, channel leaders should also be thinking of a broader variety of tactics — social, content syndication, support for virtual events, etc. that can help partners attract buyers and build digital relationships with them.

 

2. Don’t Lose Partner Mindshare, Especially Now

All of the tech conferences that channel programs typically rely on for Spring leads have been canceled. However, this is the perfect time to think about using alternative methods of communications, and where automation really shines. Many programs were timing key announcements to coincide with their partner conference. How will they get the message out if their conference is postponed? If you’re a channel leader, you need to be thinking about increasing your to-partner communications and delivering multi-layered messaging using a robust platform that can support a few hundred or several thousand partners.

 

3. Use the Portal to Consolidate

The partner portal is still the best place to provide information to partners of all types. Don’t confuse partners by sending them to different websites, providing different logins, etc. to access information or benefits like training or incentives. This should be all done on one platform through one portal. If you’re offering them the ability to attend a virtual partner conference, do it from the portal. If there’s a new training offering, make it virtual and deliver it through an LMS via the portal. Remember you’re likely to be one of seven suppliers working with a single partner. Like the World Health Organization (WHO), there’s one place partners need to be sure is providing accurate information about what is happening in your program, and that should be the partner portal.

As of this blog’s publication, Zift has issued a non-essential travel notice, along with recommending all the prudent precautionary measures. Many of us are still attending conferences, but thankfully we are optimistic about our ability to succeed and help companies in the channel make it through this time. If you’d like to learn more about ZiftONE and how it’s helping companies like you adopt these best practices, feel free to reach out on Twitter or LinkedIn