Channel marketing is growing in importance
Through-channel marketing (TCM) has become a hot topic in the technology sector in recent years and for good reason. In 2019, Forrester uncovered that TCM delivered 7x higher conversion rates than conventional direct marketing. As a result, vendors and service providers are increasingly focused on how they can engage their channel in their marketing programmes and unlock the channel’s potential as a demand generation engine.
With Demand Gen reporting that 91% of B2B leaders expect to increase revenue directly attributed to their partner ecosystems in 2021, the importance of getting it right can’t be overstated.
However, despite the increased focus, many companies are still finding their way in this area – experimenting with different approaches to find what works and what doesn’t.
Those that excel are benefiting from increased partner engagement, higher return on marketing investment and improved channel sales performance.
What is driving the change in TCM?
- The influence of vendor and product brands is declining as customers often buy a service level or an agreed business outcome as opposed to a specific technology product. As a result, we see a shift in supplier influence with vendors turning to [Managed] Service Providers for help.
- Customers are increasingly turned off by generic messaging - they want to know how a technology solution addresses their specific issues, and whether the provider has experience in their sector. Channel partners bring a level of customer intimacy and specialist market knowledge that can't be matched by vendors.
- Today's buyer is well informed and resistant to traditional outbound tactics - more sophisticated approaches are key to generating demand. Traditionally, resellers have lacked the resources needed to invest in the tactics and tools that underpin successful marketing campaigns, making them more receptive to, and dependent on, marketing support from vendors.
- Many vendors are looking to support their channel partners' marketing efforts by leveraging their own resources and EoS. For those operating in highly competitive markets, channel GTM support is a way to differentiate, thus making it easier for partners to win new business while having an edge in attracting and retaining partners.
Driving Growth Through the Channel
Every aspect of B2B technology channel marketing has undergone profound change in recent years, and there are a number of factors driving this change.
Executing TCM effectively can be hard, but it’s not rocket science. Applying best practice, and a bit of common sense, can make a big difference to the success of your initiatives.
In this eGuide, we’ve set out the ten principles of successful through-channel marketing.
This eGuide covers:
- Why through-channel marketing (TCM) has increased in importance
- The common issues that prevent TCM initiatives achieving their goals
- Our tips for delivering successful TCM programmes
- TCM in action: OneGTM case studies
10 steps to better through-channel marketing
When it comes to through-channel marketing, what it is that separates the best from the rest? We’ve identified ten key factors that mark out the very best campaigns. Adopt these principles and the results will soon follow.
1. Ensure your partner proposition is clear
2. Add value with content
3. Support an integrated approach
4. Invest in through-channel martech
5. Offer access to marketing support
6. Don't forget partner enablement
7. Align through-channel marketing with your own marketing
8. Put in place an effective governance framework
9. Offer targeted incentives and funding
10. Don't forget about customer data policies
How we've helped
Equinix wanted to increase its penetration of key verticals across Europe by developing targeted campaigns that could be rolled out by the in-country marketing teams. In EMEA there were different levels of market maturity and some countries had already started targeting certain sectors, however there was a lack of consistency in the messages being delivered across the region.
How do you engage 2.4 million Covid-battered businesses in diverse locations across the UK and persuade them to change their vital lifeline to the outside world? The solution is to Think Local.
PFU (EMEA) Limited needed to cut through the competitive noise bombarding its channel partners in a crowded market while protecting its market-leading position. OneGTM created a long-running incentive campaign that delivered record partner engagement.
Samsung wanted to introduce their mobile device-based business solutions with the aim to grow market share and build stronger channel engagement. OneGTM created vertical specific campaign toolkits to increase channel engagement that resulted in increased reach and improved partner relations.
Going to market with partners is a central part of Equinix’s strategy. OneGTM developed a workshop-based process to help Equinix build clear go-to-market strategies and strong joint value propositions with its most important EMEA partners.
BroadSoft wanted to enable Service Provider partners to increase sales of its cloud communications platforms to SMBs. OneGTM created the insights, strategy, content and partner toolkit for an issue-led campaign targeting the end-to-end buying journey.
Avnet wanted to enable their silver partners to drive increased sales of HP Converged Storage solutions. OneGTM designed and built a through-channel campaign toolkit which helped dramatically shorten the time to revenue for silver partners.
SALTO wanted to recruit new channel partners for its new product, Clay, the world’s first cloud-based, wireless electronic locking solution for the SMB market. OneGTM developed a series of impressive playbooks that successfully recruited and educated various channel partners.
AboveNet wanted to raise brand awareness within targeted organisations through the development of a European partner programme. OneGTM developed the partner proposition and messaging framework, as well as sales enablement toolkits that effectively met their goals.
Symantec wanted to refresh its channel strategy for its Cloud business in order to drive increased sales through MSP partners. OneGTM developed a new value proposition to MSPs, as well as a series of co-branded marketing tools that successfully enabled Symantec’s channel partners.
UKHO wanted to extend their recent success to the digital navigation channel. OneGTM developed a progressive and engaging multi-tiered platform as well as a core sales and marketing toolkit to support the channel.
More channel content
Welcome to the new age of through-channel marketing
The go-to-market model for vendors and channel partners is more complex and fluid than ever. Vendor-centric, product-focused, one-size-fits-all campaigns are out. Joint propositions, collaboration, and customisation are in. Through-channel marketing is a fast-changing area and an increasingly vital one for vendors to get right.
The seven deadly sins of through-channel marketing
Through-channel marketing has become a vital weapon in a vendor’s go-to-market armoury. Many vendors are still on a steep learning curve in this area. So what are the pitfalls to avoid?
10 steps to better through-channel marketing
Through-channel marketing has never been more important. Vendors use it to get cut through in competitive markets by leveraging channel partners’ unrivalled understanding of customer needs. But not all through-channel marketing campaigns are equal, and it can be all too easy to get things wrong.
Campaigns-in-a-Box: gifts that keep on giving or disappointing fails?
The concept of a Campaign-in-a-Box has become a popular component of vendor through-channel marketing programmes in recent years. However, what’s in the box isn’t always a source of delight for expectant partners; sometimes it can result in disappointment and frustration.
Channels are going vertical, vendors need to get aligned
In our recent eGuide, The Power of Verticals, we highlighted the growing importance of vertical specialisation as a way to differentiate and protect margins. The IT channel is at the forefront of this trend. Over half of MSPs now specialise their services for specific industries, with healthcare, finance and legal being the most popular.
Helping Equinix partners respond rapidly to the new reality
In a recent blog we discussed the importance of vendors and service providers proactively supporting their channel partners during the current Covid-induced crisis. OneGTM client, Equinix offers a great example of how a company can move quickly to help partners, and by extension those partners’ customers, to respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19.
Got a specific go-to-market issue you’d like our opinion on? Not sure if we can help, but think it might be worth checking us out anyway?
We’re always happy to pick up the phone, jump on a video call or talk by email.
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