six-steps

How to Improve Channel Partner Marketing Fundamentals

By on 27th June 2013

Welcome to the next episode in our “Six Steps” series, where we look at how you can drive higher adoption and performance rates from your channel programs.

In the last post we explored who really represents you in your marketing channel (Hint: it was your channel partners). And, how best to assess your channel partners’ capabilities before moving to Step 2. If you missed it, you can find the post here.

Moving on, we now focus on the second stage to better channel marketing—enabling your channel partners by strengthening their marketing fundamentals.

What do we mean by ‘marketing fundamentals’?

We’re not talking about the basics of marketing, so you won’t need to teach them how to conduct a SWOT analysis, draw a magic quadrant or memorize Maslow’s Hierarchy.

In this context, strengthening marketing fundamentals is about ensuring your partners’ functional understanding of their specific role inside your marketing channel, and how to get the best out of their current levels of experience and expertise.

In the article “Six Steps to Driving Higher Adoption and Performance in Channel Programs”, written by Elastic Grid (that’s us!) and SiriusDecisions, we identified a few key points that you need to cover with your partners, before turning them loose on your target market.

That’s why we conduct the skills audit mentioned in the previous post —to make sure we know with certainty what they can do, and what you need to help them with.

Common actions include:

  • Aligning the partner with the buyer’s journey—show your partners the common stages their customers go through both before and after the purchase decision is made, and show them how they can assist in this process.
  • Educating partners on the types of demand present in the market—what needs they can tap into, and how to get the best results in these areas.
  • Outlining common obstacles—give them a breakdown of the questions and objections they’re likely to field when engaging with customers in this solution channel.
  • Demonstrating marketing assets—show your partners which assets match their use case, and show them how they should deploy them to get the best possible results.

Following the above points helps you to make sure that channel partners understand how your channel works, and how their actions can align with their buyers’ journeys. These foundational activities will go a long way toward ensuring that partners use their identified skill-sets from the previous step to best possible effect—helping them to close larger deals for you, more often.
At Elastic Grid, our clients use our Solution Enablement Toolkits to deliver effective marketing enablement to their partners. What they’re able to achieve has a high level of synchronicity with recommendations for successful channel marketing made by SiriusDecisions.

Join me next time as we explore a closely linked topic—marketing certification—where we’ll see how you can effectively train channel partners on how to sell your solutions.

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Meghan is Marketing Manager at Elastic Grid. Having previously led the project management and account management teams, Meghan knows first-hand the impact Elastic Grid can have on demand generation for clients. Now, she gets to use the platform to market Elastic Grid itself.

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