Industrial manufacturing is in the midst of significant change with mergers and acquisitions (M&A) volume on the rise. With a rapidly consolidating distributor base, manufacturers absolutely require consistent processes and reliable systems to collaborate with and get the most from their channel partners. Unfortunately, most manufacturers still rely heavily on manual processes and their systems for sharing content are outdated, so dealers and distributors lack the content they need to drive demand.

A new study from the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) and underwritten by Zift Solutions, shows that while industrial manufacturing is primed for growth, manufacturers themselves are missing big opportunities to engage their dealers/distributors (i.e. channel partners) – and underutilizing modern digital marketing tactics and collaboration tools that drive channel sales.

That’s not the only distressing data turned up in this round of research.  Under serious pressure to measure and demonstrate results, chief marketing officers in the manufacturing sector are also under-performing. While they share marketing development funds (MDF) with channel partners, they simply lack the visibility to measure marketing ROI across the channel and can’t really tell whether or not MDF spend is paying off.

“Even the best content in the world is meaningless unless the channel partners get it in the right format at the right time,” notes MAPI Senior Vice President Cam Mackey in a press release about the study results. “More than half of the companies are still emailing updated content to their distributors.”

The news isn’t all bad. Of the 56 mid- and large-cap industrial manufacturers surveyed, those with connected systems are successfully engaging their channel partners, effectively measuring ROI and capturing more market share. The study shows that digital marketing, channel partner alignment and engagement platforms can give manufacturers the edge over competitors, lift the burden of reporting and positively impact profitable growth.

The full report, “Collaborating with Channel Partners to Drive Faster Growth,” offers critical insight organizations of all types can put to work. Also included in the study:

  • Why and how manufacturers are missing key opportunities to drive partner alignment and growth
  • How better lead visibility provides the fundamental building block to better partner engagement
  • The impact of digital marketing and how connected systems can improve visibility, empower collaboration and help measure ROI
  • Key CEO expectations confronting the CMO and other channel sales leaders

The report is available for download here.   We encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments below.