Zift was in Nashville, Tennessee last week as a sponsor of the 2016 SiriusDecisions Summit. This premier B-to-B conference raises the bar each and every year with cutting-edge research, analyst sessions and case studies from the best and brightest in channel sales and marketing. This year, we were on the lookout for best practices and critical insights we could bring back to Channel Chatter readers.

The Channel Program Model, One Year Later

SiriusDecisions Senior Research Director of Channel Sales Strategies, Stephanie Sissler took a fresh look at the Channel Program Model, a blueprint for building and optimizing B-to-B channel efforts. She explored how the model is helping channel leaders in five key areas of channel management, including planning, recruitment, enablement, demand creation and transacting/reporting. (Read Channel Data – Tracking Partner Program Performance to learn more.) Using case studies from the past 12 months, Sissler demonstrated several quick-win improvements all channel programs can put into play to manage activities in a more structured, productive way. Key takeaways include:

  • Partner Experience is more than just buzz. It continues to be a critical factor to success. (Learn more about best practices for partner experience in 5 Key Ingredients to a Positive and Profitable Partner Experience.)
  • All partners are not created equal and therefore having menu-based “plays” are key to give them the right tools and knowledge to drive adoption, in addition to the up-sell and cross-sell campaigns.
  • Consider having a “voice of the partner” program to get direct feedback. Many suppliers are creating advisory councils to better support their partner community.

Channel Programs of the Year

Laz Gonzalez teamed up with Maria Chien, SiriusDecisions Service Director of Channel Marketing Strategies to call attention to specific organizations that are driving B-to-B channel excellence, particularly in the areas of recruitment, partner enablement, demand creation and technology/infrastructure. I was especially excited that 3 out of the 4 companies recognized – EMC, Oracle and Intel – are Zift Solutions Customers. It was evident from the recognized organizations that are very clear themes to achieving best in class channel status, including:

  • Recruitment: Be very prescriptive and consider gamification for partner onboarding.
  • Enablement: Collaborate with your partners and use automation to drive engagement.
  • Demand Creation: Shift to an integrated marketing approach, have a clearly defined process and use nurturing to source pipeline.
  • Technology: Evolve from basic email campaigns to multi-touch campaigns with multiple tactics and integration is key to drive usage.

If you missed it, I encourage you to attend the next summit May 16-19, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV to experience new innovations across the B-to-B space firsthand and network with an elite community of sales, marketing and product leaders.