The second interview in our webcast series on The Channel’s Biggest Marketing Challenges? is with? Sridhar Ramanathan,? COO of Aventi Group. A channel marketing veteran, Sridhar now? advises clients like Symantec, Atlassian, SAP and Arrow on both direct and indirect sales and marketing. We discuss the disruption of cloud migration and how it’s impacting? channel revenue? strategy from? incentives to pipeline metrics for measuring? channel partner performance.
Just a few of the best points from our conversation with Sridhar Ramanathan:
- Cloud migration is creating a huge impact on business models and channel revenue streams for suppliers. ? What used to be the big value-add of integration, help-desk, and on-site services is now “Hey, it’s in the cloud. Why do I need you again?”
- Channel partners at all levels really need to focus on their value proposition, and migrate from pushing speeds and feeds to solution selling–they need to understand and address the customer’s pain.
- Value add for partners is now less focused around professional services, and more around advisory services, compliance, insights and best practices.
Partners are migrating from just fulfillment to solution selling and advisory. MDF is not enough to drive partner behavior anymore, much less channel revenue. Partners need marketing support and thought leadership to be successful.
- As cloud migration drives technology? decision-making from IT to the business unit, partners need to develop new relationships with business managers. The partners that are able to develop these new relationships, outside their traditional comfort zone, will be the ones that thrive.
- Successful partners are focusing on developing a core competency–a solution area where their SEs and Sales Reps can be trained to provide insight and advisory to business unit managers.
- Successful suppliers are focusing on supporting partners with more than just incentives. Partners need training, thought leadership content, and marketing materials that go beyond glorified data sheets, and speak to the customer’s business need.
- Measuring the performance of partners has to go beyond just past revenue numbers, and look at forward looking indicators, like Sales Qualified Leads and pipeline as a multiple of channel revenue targets. Suppliers can also look at the level and breadth of training that partners are have in solution areas.
- Thought leadership is becoming the currency of the successful partner, not cold calling and outbound marketing. Why? Because business decision makers are smart, they want to educate themselves online long before they will sign up to be pestered by a sales rep. Thought leadership content puts you on their radar.