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Building a successful channel program is a lot like building a house. This blog series from Valerie Richards, Account Manager at Zift Solutions, will help you determine the right space and resources for all of the “inhabitants” of your channel program.

It’s time to talk about Distributors as we build out our blueprint for channel success, which thus far calls for distinctive placement and tools for Referral Partners and Resellers.

Give Distributors Elbow Room

Distributors are as varied as the programs they support and they require extra space and specific tools to succeed.

Following our architectural analogy, which placed resellers in the master suite and referral partners in a guest room, your Distributors require a large and comfortable bedroom. They are sticking around for a while, so they should be made to feel at home. Distributors also need a bit of elbow room to support their Resellers as well as their own marketing efforts.

Optimizing Distributor Outreach

Today’s Distributors have a direct relationship with Vendors as well as their own Sub-Resellers, who purchase directly through Distributors. This extended network may seem complex, but it actually gives Vendors the opportunity to broaden their reach without additional costs. To optimize the marketing and sales efforts of Distributors, Vendors should provide:

  • Content Syndication: Distributors require content on multiple fronts. Providing them with fresh, relevant content for direct lead generation, their own Reseller recruitment efforts, and to educate both prospects and partners about available products and services will only strengthen a Vendor’s position within what can be an expansive distribution ecosystem. Another option is a simple widget approach, with a pre-built website page for a Vendor’s logo and a dedicated landing page to display value proposition information. These pre-built elements, coupled with a “Contact Us” button to drive “leads,” can work wonders.
  • Social Media Syndication: Vendors can further extend their reach across Distributor communities by delivering Social Media Syndication, which makes it easy for Distributors and their Sub-Resellers to spread the word about solutions and services across their social media channels. Vendors may also want to offer a Distributor-only stream that they can use to syndicate content out to their Reseller base for promos, new products launches, SPIFFs and more. If Distributors are doing their own end-user demand generation, offer Social Media streams to this group, too.
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertising: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising helps Distributors easily target and bring prospects to their websites. Low cost, high-impact PPC is much appreciated, particularly if Distributors generate their own leads.
  • Through Partner Marketing Automation (TPMA): Use TPMA to create co-branded email campaigns and reseller-focused newsletters to promote Vendor news through to Distributors’ Reseller base. If Distributors generate their own leads, providing the tools they need to develop and launch end-user newsletters, demand generation and nurturing campaigns lifts a tremendous burden from Distributors themselves and puts your products and services out in front.
  • Automated Lead Distribution Management: As Distributors may or may not be generating leads on their own, Vendors can use automated lead distribution to share leads directly with Distributors, who can then follow up on them directly or by passing them to their Resellers for follow up. Direct or 2nd Tier Lead Distribution Management benefits from automation as leads are delivered directly into the systems or hands of the right people, at the right time, to speed and strengthen lead follow-up activities.
  • Shared Analytics: Shared analytics are great for Distributors managing campaigns on behalf of their own Resellers as they can easily track, analyze and share results to optimize campaigns, save time and measure ROI.

A truly valuable asset and avenue to expanding any Channel Program, Distributors should get the message that your home is there home. Providing these tools make it clear that you are doing everything possible to make their stay within your Channel Program as comfortable as possible.

Up Next

We’ll wrap up the series in our next post and examine the impact of adding services and direct support to energize and care for all of the members of your Channel Program household.

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