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How many partners do you have in the NFL cities? How do you think their customers feel when they get the exact same channel marketing collateral from all of them? Your partners don’t want to use your materials because they don’t do enough to promote each partner’s own unique differentiators. Here’s how to shift strategy and become their favorite vendor.

If you have partners in Kansas City, Boston, and Florida, would you send them all a message about looking forward to the Bills game? Of course not – you’d customize it to them.

Your partners may not even be saying it, but for many of them, your collateral just isn’t working.

If you were to ask why, they might come up with a million excuses. But the ones who are being honest will tell you, “because they’re all about you!”

Gain Perspective

That may sound odd at first but think about this from your channel partner’s perspective. They’re in business to make money, which means they need to sell themselves first. Then they can sell your products.

Also, if they’re in a sizable market and there are several other partners nearby, the last thing they want to do is look the same to customers. If they’re all sending out the same materials as the competition, they lose. Nobody likes to lose.

So what’s the answer? As a Channel Account Manager, get creative, get innovative, and start producing templated channel marketing collateral your partners can customize to lead with their message. Let them promote their quality services and then promote the value they can offer customers using your products. This paves the path of progress from your warehouse to full utilization of the product by the customer. In other words, it gets the whole job done.

An Easy Template for Customizing Marketing Collateral

We’re talking about way more than leaving space for partners to crash imprint their logo on your collateral.

While every marketing item is different, they all follow a fairly standard, predictable path.

The Hook

  • This is where most amateur marketers make their first mistake. Many will start with “Hello, my name is…” or “Thank you for giving us the opportunity to propose…” If that’s your opening, its very likely that’s as far as anyone will read.
  • Give your partners a provocative first sentence that will grab the reader and show them you and your partner understand their problem, and follow up in the rest of the first paragraph assuring them you’ve got the right stuff to solve it.

The Evidence

  • In the second sentence, present evidence of your claims. Show how your products resolve the pain described in the hook. Be sure to speak in terms of benefits, not just product features. What is the value your solution provides to them?

The Opportunity

  • Here’s the partner’s opportunity to explain how they leverage your product to deliver real value, as well as express their preference for your product.

The CTA

  • The Call-to-Action must be easy for the customer to accomplish and put them directly in contact with the partner.

Your channel managers may not have the marketing or writing experience to help partners customize these, so consider having your marketing people coach them, or make those marketing resources directly available to the partners for such help.

Integrated Strategy

While important, providing customizable collateral is just one aspect of an overall solution that will help your partners be more successful. The rest of the solution starts with conveying the mindset to your channel management team that you and your partners are truly collaborating and co-marketing to leverage each others’ value propositions in order to sell both your products and services.

If your channel management team are not marketing oriented, considering positioning a regional marketing resource who helps partners craft effective marketing communications. When paired with a tailored marketing material strategy, these investments will pay off handsomely with sales dividends on both sides.

(Josh Allen just scored big with some partner-first channel marketing collateral in 2021…but the big game will have to wait until 2022.)

Go Bills! Go Channel Marketing!

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