A look at channel marketing technology
How martech supports growth through partners
Many companies, especially software vendors, are shifting their focus to building growth through their partner networks. These partners are either implementers, consultants, value added resellers or distributors who are closer to the end client and can bring leads back to the vendor.
Martech can be categorized into the following buckets:
Partner Relationship Management (PRM)
PRMs are most commonly used to manage partner contacts and the onboarding process. More advanced solutions also manage Market Development Funds (MDFs) and allow partners to register deals and leads.
Partner Marketing Management (PMM)
PMMs allow partners to run co-marketing campaigns across different channels (email, social, virtual). The software vendor makes several campaigns available for partners to use so they can align on the strategic message.
Partner Sales Management (PSM)
PSMs provide channel sales organizations and partners with the tools, processes and methodologies to work together to close deals. These include rapid dialers, configure price quote functionality and sales rewards management.
Similar to the App Store on your mobile phone, you can manage your partners via an online catalog that lists your partners. These marketplaces allow your prospects to compare and select their partners based on their needs.
Channel Learning and Readiness (CLR)
CLRs offer learning and certification management to your partners. This establishes trust with the vendor and differentiates partners.
Channel Incentives Management (CIM)
This allows the management of incentives for your partners to support your technology. These strategies can associate the performance of partners with incentives and can often be gamified.
- Rewards: financials or exclusive invitations
- Commission: percentage on net new business or upsell
Trends and recommendations
It’s common for companies to use several channel marketing technologies that offer combinations of these solutions. With this in mind, here are a few notable trends that have been identified:
- Tech stack bloating
- The channel marketing tech stack requires the same management practices and rigor as the rest of the IT tools
- No partner triage
- Partners should be categorized in terms of their size, capabilities and value
- Lack of capacity to operationalize the channel marketing strategy
- Dedicated resources must be allocated to operations
- No assessment of partnerships’ mutual benefits
- Companies would benefit from performing annual partnership evaluations
- Partners take advantage of too many incentives
- Companies should be selective when it comes to allocating incentives to partners
- Partnerships require different approaches and dedicated staff members at times
- Agencies should pay close attention to the partnerships that require high touch