I’m pleased to introduce Service Director of Channel Management Strategies for SiriusDecisions, Laz Gonzalez, as a guest blogger. During a career spanning close to two decades, Laz has gained extensive executive, front-line and international experience implementing solution-driven sales programs with OEMs, strategic alliances, distributors and value-added resellers.

speed-skatersOlympic athletes know something about reaching high-performance. What sets them apart though is their razor focus on refining every aspect of their sport to reach a singular goal. Shaving off .003 seconds can make the difference between gold and silver. However, sometimes not keeping the bigger picture in mind will actually not deliver the desired results. This was likely the case for the Team USA speed skating team in the Sochi 2014 Olympics. They focused much of their time and money on the skater’s suit, but with no apparent advantage.

But as experience often teaches us, it’s not how we do what we do, but what we do to get things done that matters most. Channel marketers can learn a lesson from this. For example, it’s not which tele-services agency is used to qualify leads for a partner marketing campaign as much as making sure the program includes a nurturing process beforehand. Then once a lead is handed over to the tele-services agent, there’re some behavioral data they can refer to when making them an offer.

Knowing which activities drive better results for different types of channel marketing programs can help optimize the effectiveness of these programs and help partners generate and follow up on leads.

Here are some of the initiatives we see high performance channel marketing organizations employ when contributing to partner pipeline and revenue.

Use a demand waterfall

They don’t just track hand-raisers and call them leads, leading channel marketing teams break down the lead process into stages that include inquiry, marketing qualified, sales accepted, sales qualified and closed. In doing so, when conversion rates fall – like poor conversion rates from marketing qualified to sales accepted stages – they can quickly remedy a situation by offering an incentive to partners to register deals.

Leverage propensity data

They use analytics to uncover propensity data that can help them target better partners and customers. These analytics are either developed in-house using tools or offered by distributors who are beginning to mine big data to provide more accuracy in their demand programs.

Focus on inbound to generate net new

As they evolve, leading channel marketing organizations begin to build a broader portfolio of tactics to their partners. We see them shifting their efforts to helping partners use inbound tactics, such as social syndication or ad retargeting.

Be fanatical about reporting

Like flour in a cake, channel marketers use reporting as a key ingredient in their marketing menus. But many have learned you can’t wave a magic wand between the supplier’s and partner’s CRM platforms (if they exist) to get them to report data; sometimes you just have to reach out and speak to someone.

Don’t invest in what you can’t measure

“We don’t fund what we can’t measure” is a phrase we often hear from results driven channel marketing organizations. As a result we see them using dashboards that offer them not only insights into what is going on, but also why. Using a mix of leading indicators (e.g. trained partners) and lagging metrics (sales per partner), they take a holistic approach to measurements.


Now that you have a solid baseline for what matters to these channel organizations, watch our on-demand webinar “Unveiling 5 Hidden Secrets of High-Performance Channel Marketing.”