How to Provide Partner Marketing Concierge Help in Bite-Sized Chunks
Most channel partners don’t have a marketing department, a marketing specialist, or even an outsourced marketing provider, and even if they do, these resources tend to operate not as marketing strategists, but more as vendor interface managers – handling multiple vendors and a variety of product lines. This is where a partner marketing concierge comes in.
It is fair to say that most channel partners don’t really have the capabilities to execute vendors’ marketing programs or even specific campaigns effectively. What’s more, most channel partners don’t receive enough market development funds (MDF) at the right time to hire dedicated resources for a specific campaign or program. While some large distributors and a few, very large channel partners may receive funding for certain marketing resources on an annual contract; this is more of an exception than the rule. It looks like an impossible dilemma, but there is an easy way around this: provide the channel with partner marketing concierge services in bite-sized chunks.
Setting aside their lack of marketing resources, most channel partners don’t even have any kind of marketing automation infrastructure to drive a flow of leads in a consistent fashion. As a result, most partners, if they do any kind of marketing at all, tend to default to running events from time to time, coupled with random email or telemarketing campaigns. When these don’t produce leads or results, partners get frustrated with marketing and abandon their own efforts, as well as ceasing to engage on co-marketing efforts with vendors.
Over the past decade – following the lead of larger organizations like HP, Cisco, IBM and other major players – mid sized IT vendors have also started providing marketing tools, campaigns, assets and collateral to their channel partners. However, lack of dedicated resources on the channel means that adoption of these assets is very rare. The only way to overcome this impasse is to provide partner marketing concierge services to the channel base as an add-on capability. While the first step in enabling channel partners should always be the introduction of an end-to-end integrated channel marketing automation platform, without the provision of additional marketing enablement services, for the most part the potential of these platforms remains unrealized.
While top tier partners usually have access to market development funds (MDF) (please read our article What Can You Do to Drive Your Market Development Funds Utilization?), most do not take a strategic approach towards marketing. They tend to engage on transactional campaigns like email marketing or event marketing, which may work for small and medium deals but fail to deliver for higher value solution selling. We have recently seen some of the larger IT vendors starting to provide partner marketing managers to channel partners via their field organization, but this is not a scalable model above and beyond a handful of partners.
So, if your channel is doing 80% of their sales via 5-10% of your partner base, and the revenue generated per partner is in excess of a few million dollars per year, then dedicating marketing personnel to specific channel partners can provide ROI. However, that leaves hundreds or thousands of partners with no meaningful marketing support. (Further information is available in our article – How Partner Profiling Can Increase Your Channel Sales.
One resource-efficient way to resolve this issue is to provide outsourced partner marketing concierge services which partners can acquire on a temporary basis – say for a quarter or two – for an affordable, modest sum that could vary anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars and is funded by vendor MDF. When a vendor aligns their market development funds (MDF) process behind such a concierge effort, they can create a menu-based marketing catalog, incorporating pre-approved campaigns and activities which partners can select and execute independently, requiring very little support from the vendor’s sales or marketing organization.
Using a outsourced partner marketing concierge service, a channel partner will be able to run integrated campaigns using various types of marketing tactics, e.g., search marketing, social marketing or social content syndication, web content, event marketing and email marketing. If needed, a partner marketing concierge provider can also enhance the program by providing telemarketing or tele-prospecting services, setting up appointments with qualified leads that partner sales teams can engage with and close.
This outsourced partner marketing concierge structure is gaining rapid popularity in small and mid sized IT vendors, following the lead of larger IT vendors who have already deployed this structure across all geographies. ZINFI’s Partner Marketing Concierge services can enable a small and mid-size IT vendor to rapidly deploy one or more campaigns globally and fund them with market development funds.