For businesses that rely on channel partners to promote and sell their products, marketing is rapidly becoming a critical strategic risk. The more technology migrates to the cloud, the more it disrupts old partner business models. Reliable partners who generated sales yesterday may not be the partners driving sales tomorrow, putting millions of dollars in channel revenue at risk.
If you’ve ever managed a big project you know many little things can go wrong on the way to that moment of truth when you hope, ultimately, everything goes right. If you’ve managed a lot of big projects, you know how painful it can be when that ultimate moment of truth blows up in your face.? In business, big projects are a part of daily life. We make products, we launch campaigns, we engineer production processes. Big money is at stake, as well as careers and companies. So how do you avoid falling flat on your face?
Have you ever stopped to consider the terminology of marketing, and how it both reflects and affects the way we think about our relationship with customers? Marketing activities are organized as campaigns (often launched with advertising air cover) which focus on targets for the sales force to acquire. These terms are not only militaristic, they betray an attitude of control over customer and channel relationships that is an artifact of a bygone era. Businesses no longer control relationships the way they once did, and channel managers and marketers needs to adapt.
The new world of channel marketing is inbound over outbound—instead of putting a target on the backs of? customers for partner sales team to hunt, you help partners attract customers with relevant content that addresses their interests and needs. You do that by enabling partners to engage with the market, cultivating peer connections, collaborating with influencers and driving dialog with customers.
Over the past several years, inbound channel marketing has grown to be one of the most influential approaches to modern marketing. Inbound marketing addresses a number of key challenges in marketing today, most notably the need to engage with customers in a more productive and sustainable way. ? Although inbound marketing has been growing by leaps ands bounds among both B2B and B2C businesses, it hasn’t yet taken hold in the channel, largely due to the challenges of scaling quality content for a distributed network of partners. Bits and pieces of inbound marketing have been adapted for the channel, such as social media syndication and content curation, but it’s high time for a true? Inbound Channel Marketing solution.
Chris Becwar at Channel Management published a post last week that points to? one of the central challenges channel partner marketers face today, a challenge we discuss frequently at SocialRep: how do you enable channel partners to market most effectively?
It’s a seemingly simple question with a time-honored answer: sales incentives! If you provide the right incentives, channel partners will? move heaven and earth to close deals. What’s missing from that simple equation is the depth of disruption rocking the global IT channel, reducing the effectiveness of? traditional incentive approaches.