Sales and marketing

Make Sure Your Channel Marketing Core is Solid

Author: Heather Margolis
Author: Heather K. Margolis

I recently pulled out my back. Stay with me, this will make sense for the Channel, I promise. If it doesn’t I’ll blame the muscle relaxers, but stay with me anyway.

I pulled out my back, like walking bent over and not able to pick up anything more than my laptop and immediately sought help from a few resources. Namely a chiropractor, massage therapist, and physical therapist. All of them said, “Well, you need to make sure your core is solid before you do anything else.”

Let me back up; for those of you who don’t know, I had a baby almost a year ago (a nine plus pounder at that). Let’s just say, I’m also an exercise junkie but my abs aren’t what they used to be. You name it, I’ve tried it; my current obsession is Orangetheory. Lots of treadmill, strider (abs can’t handle the rower), and weight room.

I thought my core was gaining back some strength, but pulling my back out made me realize it’s not, and adding other exercises didn’t help. Instead it made everything collapse. Kind of like a Channel program (see what I did there). If your channel marketing core program isn’t solid, it doesn’t matter how many communications, resources, or incentives you throw at it; it’s going to collapse.

Years ago, Channel Maven Consulting provided managed marketing services (then called One-2-One Partner Support) to a mid-market Vendor enabling 23 of their Partners to better market their solutions. We started by building a channel marketing plan including: drip emails, social media outreach and nurturing, and demand generation programs including website calls-to-action and content creation.

Of course all of this is geared to focus on the Vendor. Imagine our surprise when we started conversations with the Partners only to hear that the Vendor wasn’t their primary business focus. We were asking them to create a plan with a Vendor whose solutions they didn’t want to market. When we asked why they weren’t better aligned with this Vendor, they all gave some version of the same story…the Vendor’s program wasn’t designed for ease of use or to help Partners make money.

Similarly, we talk with Vendors that have best-in-class programs but feel they don’t need “extras” such as incentives, marketing automation tools, demand generation support, or enablement resources. While your program might entice the perfect Partners, what keeps them focused and successful is the ability to lean on you for enablement and demand generation.

What I’m saying is, your channel marketing core needs to be solid and “extras” are needed to help Partners drive success. Oh and also, definitely don’t try to show off in Orangetheory when your baby belly isn’t totally healed.

Heather K. Margolis is CEO of Channel Maven Consulting. Read more Channel Maven Consulting blogs here.