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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.

Hotel Concierge/ServiceEvery great host knows that different guests require different levels of hospitality. Some are low-maintenance, asking little of their hosts and happy to take care of their own needs. Others need a little more TLC or handholding to make the most of their stay. The same goes for channel partners, whom we’ve established as guests or residents within the home of your channel program.

After architecting your program and once all of your channel partners, including Referral Partners, Resellers and Distributors, are segmented and settled in with the right tools, it’s your job to make everyone as comfortable and productive as possible. Doing so entails providing customized services to meet your partners’ varying needs and levels of expertise.

A Menu of Services and Support

Think of partner support services like a hospitality service menu designed to ensure partner engagement and success. The ideal channel program offers partners a menu of services to meet their tastes and desires. Suppliers should look for a Channel Marketing Automation (CMA) provider that understands the complexities of today’s channel landscape and offers a variety of support options that cater to the broad spectrum of partner needs.

Basic Support: Roll out the welcome mat for all partners with basic support services. Basic support should come standard with any and all marketing automation solution deployments. It should deliver on-line support plus easy access to on-line help and training, so that all partners can get fast answers to their questions and effectively use the tools that you are providing to them.

Premium Support: You wouldn’t hesitate to break out the fluffy towels and higher thread-count sheets to pamper your guests. By the same token, consider offering a premium level of support to partners that may lack resources or require more hands-on direction and training to thrive. Providing more proactive outreach and strategic direction to your partners will optimize their potential and marketing efforts.

Managed Services: Keeping partners continually engaged may require ongoing, hands-on support. Like a morning wake-up call or room service, Managed Services deliver ongoing and on-call expert support to help partners define priorities, execute campaigns and achieve more. Partners with access to Managed Services excel well beyond those left on their own, detailed in this infographic. The impact of Managed Services over self-service is striking, including 93% more new leads and a nearly 50% boost in email outreach.

Concierge Services: Perfect for partners that need a bit of extra attention, direction or pampering, Concierge Services deliver white gloved support on a one-time basis. Experts are on hand to help partners actually create and execute campaigns to capture qualified leads, nurture prospects through to close and promote your brand. They can also tweak campaigns, add extended services, such as telemarketing and analyze results.

Delivering services and direct support that aligns with varying channel partner needs is the best way to energize and care for all of the members of the channel program you’ve carefully constructed. This extra level of care demonstrates to partners that you’re putting their interests first, maximizes marketing automation investments and ensures the ultimate success of your program.

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