Sign Showing Channel Marketers That They Must Change
To lead, channel marketers must commit to change.

Our research shows that the average channel partner juggles between five and 13 vendor relationships. This means it is not enough just to sign up a channel partner. Significant effort still has to be invested in making sure they engage. This is the challenge facing vendors: how to become the preferred vendor for partners and drive partner loyalty.

Reframe Partner Relations

The channel marketer’s goal is to become the go-to vendor—and to lead the pack by the widest possible margin. Making the partner a valued ally is the key. Treating partners as equal go-to-market collaborators—not merely as links in a supply chain—is the differentiator that works.

Walk in Their Shoes

Savvy vendors will feel their partners’ pain—by providing help with services and solutions that alleviate strains on resources and save time for over-worked partner CEO’s. The difficulty of tapping into vendor marketing programs and the fear of being smothered by the vendor’s brand are chief obstacles to partner buy-in. These barriers are magnified by the shear volume of marketing activities and materials vendors are pushing the partner to undertake.

Channel marketers need to show that they understand and appreciate their partners’ difficulties.

Make It Easy to Maximize Vendor and Partner Results

Because partners are so busy, the key is to minimize their work in jointly selling your solution. Channel Marketing Automation solutions must be easy to use, employ best practices, generate leads and support the channel partner’s brand. If a system meets these requirements, the collaboration works for both vendor and partner.

Specifically, is the user interface intuitive and quick? Does the solution address fears by giving the partner “top billing” (personalization) in all marketing communications? For example, do vendor marketing activities leave room for each partner to promote its own value proposition? Does the partner have easy, real-time access to analytics that track meaningful metrics? Does the solution integrate smoothly with the partner’s preferred CRM application and sales process? And a crucial detail: do all links in co-branded activities and communications take leads to the partner’s rather than the vendor’s website?

Lead the Pack

The vendor that provides partners with a co-marketing program that reduces costs, is easy to use and saves time will lead the pack. The advantages of reframing the vendor-partner relationship are many: gaining and retaining partner loyalty, reducing costs and boosting profits for both businesses.

Finally, vendors who want to effect real change in their relationships with partners must commit to a real change in attitude. To make true believers of partners, vendors must first become true believers in this mutually beneficial model. Taking on and surmounting this challenge can set in motion a new and lasting market dominance for adaptive vendors and their channel partners.

Supplier:  What changes are you making to your program in order to “lead the pack?” 
Partner:  Have you noticed a difference in relationship and loyalty from your supplier?