Friday, July 12, 2024

Building a successful channel program

How are you building your channel program? 

“We didn’t talk to the channel, we are building them a better solution”

”We want the partners to tell us who the customer are they are working with”

“We have a challenge since we have fluctuated between direct and indirect selling”

These are all things we have heard from vendors. Sound familiar? Have you been a part of a program that didn’t take the time to understand the audience, what motivates them, and how to give them what they want? 

Building an effective channel enablement solution requires understanding the requirements of the three audience segments- the vendor, the partner, and the end-user- and defining where they converge. 

At ContentMX we define success as allowing the following: 

  • Create a behavior based on setting and meeting expectations
  • Provide a process that is easy to consume
  • Offer results that improve business

Set expectations.

Weekly episodes set up expectations that not only are being delivered to partners, but to the consumers who grow to expect the content being shared by the partner.  As the content is made available in multiple formats and locations it becomes easy to consume and engage with. In the end, consistent programming drives results. 

The solution was built from the ground up, we worked to understand the decision process for the consumer, how and where they engaged with the content, and we studied what type of content was most favored by the consumer. 

Make it easy.

Next, we surveyed and worked with the partners to understand what would trigger them to engage with the application and the content enclosed. A key behavior that we wanted to align ourselves with is that people will set aside time to perform specific tasks if it becomes predictable. One user told us: 

”This has created a new behavior for me, every Monday I receive notifications about the content, which triggers me to set a weeks worth of marketing in 5 minutes”

We realized the importance of providing support and marketing training to our users in order for them to feel empowered to keep using the platform. Here are some things partners have said…

“I’m really excited about the new social reporting. That is going to help with leads.”

“This is pretty self-explanatory. One big thing I like is all the support in the resource library, the videos and articles as well as access to support.”

“Thank you for helping me learn about hashtags and social media.“

And with our ears to the ground, we are able to take the feedback we are given and use it to help us continue to invest and evolve as a company:

“I want to know how to locate the content by topic like Prisma for Palo Alto Networks. “ 

There was a need for customizable messaging, so we provided it, and the feedback we received was just what we hoped for:

“The combination of custom messaging and the microsite is going to transform a boring tab on my website into an attention-grabbing page. Thank you, this is great.”

Results keep the program running.

The last step was understanding the needs of the vendors or suppliers. They want to know how we tie real business results to our program. In other words, what content grabs the attention of buyers and how is the content that is being shared related to deals that are closed.

Keeping that in mind ContentMX has continued to add methods of reporting back real numbers.  Surveying partners on the phone and online about actual closed deals. 

“We closed a $40,000 deal of M365”

“We closed a $125,000 deal for Dynamics TMS Business Central Cloud”

We also want to provide information about how well the content was received by the consumers, and we measure that from a few points including clicks and Social MQL’s which are identified reactions to content. For example, we can see that a video from IBM Power received over 70 Social MQLs and that an analyst paper from IBM Security received 50 Social MQLs. 

This type of data can be converted into named opportunities that the vendors/suppliers can use to co-sell solutions with the partner.  We are providing real actionable business results. 

So what have we learned? Channels need collaboration at all levels from researching and understanding the consumer up to the vendor.  So, how are you planning your channel programs? 

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