Every single day we speak with Vendors about infrastructure to help them better engage and enable their Channels. Luckily, we’ve never built our own and refuse to take referral fees so, we remain unbiased when working with Vendors to discover what’s best for them. Putting together a robust infrastructure is typically a huge undertaking but it doesn’t have to be. It’s possible to take baby steps or take on some elements and not others.
These conversations usually begin with which type of platforms are worth considering and why you might need them so, let's start there:
Probably the original infrastructure, portals have come a long way and they remain the best way to automate the recruiting, tracking, and enabling of your Partners. There are several out-of-the-box options, which I highly recommend. I definately can’t see a benefit to building your own (which we did at EMC in 2006). Trust me, you’ll thank me later when you realize what a painful undertaking it is to build your own CRM! Thankfully, many of the out-of-the-box solutions can take care of that for you.
Marketing Automation (To and Through Partner):
Marketing automation (MA) has a couple of uses. If you are mass emailing TO your Channel, you are using one tool, if you are enabling your Partners to drive demand for your solutions, you are using THROUGH marketing automation. I won’t make friends saying you can use any one of hundreds of options for the former. The latter? There are several things to look at including, the different types of Partners driving demand, ability to create content for syndication, support you receive from the MA platform, and their ability to integrate with Partners’ own MA tools.
Usually, this goes hand in hand with a marketing automation tool. While it’s important, you don’t want to go too many pages “deep” on your website with syndication and the most useful piece is the ability to drop a call-to-action for downloadable content onto your Partners’ website page. Some syndication platforms are great at that but others need your help.
While many marketing automation tools also include social syndication, it’s usually tied just to the content they send out via email. But if you follow us at all, you know that’s no way for a Partner to build their audience. Partners need to post consistent content to drive engagement from prospective prospects and social syndication helps them do that.
Whether you’re jumping in on all fronts or taking baby steps, it’s important to take the right perspective and ensure you have a point person. A lot of our clients have recently realized it doesn’t make sense to have a single person focus on the implementation project 100% of their time for 3 months then go back to their day job. We’re seeing more and more requests to project manage an implementation. Call it Channel-Enablement-As-A-Service. We’re happy to help!
Before any infrastructure implementation, Vendors need to ensure their Channel Program is up with the times. Check out our latest eBook to see where yours stacks up.