Make Channel Marketing Count: Building better relationships with your partners

Working with a third party provides extra resource and a fresh perspective, however, managing the relationship in an effective and successful manner is not always easy.

Speaking with a broad cross-section of channel marketing experts at a recent roundtable event, we uncovered some interesting insights into managing the relationship.

Here are a list of the top tips for marketers to bear in mind when managing your partners to get the most out of your channel marketing programme.

Accept no excuses

It’s quite a common perception that indirect marketing is an accounting black hole. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is no excuse for agencies to not provide detailed campaigns regardless of the format, so don’t accept it. Email marketing has huge potential for measurement, so should come with click-through rates at the very least. Make it clear from the start how you need to report back internally and ensure that the agency can fit into this. If they can’t deliver on this, then it’s time to readdress your contract. Whilst marketing is often seen as more of an art form, finance and budgets are very specific, and unfortunately this needs to be reflected.

Get systematic

Systems must support the selling process from start to finish and span across departments. Bureaucracy is a bugbear no matter which industry you work in, so make sur that it is as simple as possible but allows users to access any relevant data that they might need. There is nothing worse than an ill-informed marketing machine. Information about Sales activity and the business must be easily accessible without being overwhelming.

Sort the wheat from the chaff

 Do an audit of your partners – identifying the good and bad partners will allow you to allocate budget accordingly, and take more strategic decisions as to which sort of partners you need in the future. Not all partners are created equal, which is fine but ensure that the investment in terms of time and money reflects this.

Relationship management

Sales and marketing working together can be difficult. Marketing is often perceived as a blocker and marketing can sometimes feel that the sales person doesn’t represent the vendor they work for, they represent the partner they work with. It’s an interesting dynamic, but how do you solve it? Good old fashioned time, respect and hand holding. Recognising you all want the vendor and reseller to drive more revenue. Understand each other’s metrics and decide a plan.

In short, sit down together, communicate, decide and then actually deliver on your commitments. Don’t leave any room for miscommunication. Sound familiar? It’s a bit like any relationship really.