The requirement from vendors for planned marketing activities from their partners, with a solid return on investment (ROI) before they will sign off and invest, is nothing new. However there is a growing need to align sales and marketing within each partner to demonstrate a collaborative and targeted approach that will help both parties to reach their agreed sales targets.
Vendors understand that fewer regional partners managed more closely can produce better revenue results than thousands of partners signed up across EMEA. Its quality over quantity which is much easier to manage when it comes to authorisation and programmatic elements such as marketing funding. Partners have also become more selective as to what types of activities and resources they will provide to support their partnerships. Vendors are listening to their key partners about the way that they want to work together, especially as MDF budgets seem to be shrinking year on year with even greater rigour around securing that budget.
Leveraging the investments that vendors have made in data analytics, buyer behaviour, market data and marketing program refinements the smart partners can get the jump on their competition. By working with a select numbers of partners, vendors can spend more time exploring new markets with intelligent targeted campaign messages rather than refereeing feuding partners that are pursuing the installed base customers and driving down margins on existing business.
Knowledge is power and the vendors that arm their partners with the necessary end user insight and knowledge matched with the appropriate materials for demand generation will be the vendors that benefit. The approach is not about re- inventing marketing but more about using all the available insights, tools and resources to ensure that all marketing efforts are planned, targeted and will produce actual qualified sales ready leads as a result of executing to a plan.
Focussed account planning from sales matched with small targeted campaign with the appropriate messaging for the target contacts and audiences and a simple call to action is the best approach. This will far outweigh results that would be gained by using the now dated approach of hundreds of emails followed up by telemarketing to try and book and appointment with no personalised or tailored messages for their targets.
This approach should make way for new planning cycles by offering a more appropriate and slim line mix of approved activities. It is highly unlikely that a partner will run more than 6 marketing projects with a vendor over a 12 month period, therefore the planning process should be relatively simple. Partners need to be realistic and also need to plan for what they can actually fulfil, not what they think will impress the vendor and convince them to hand over budget. The partner also needs to understand that the activities of the past won’t cut it with target audiences of today. Most IT campaigns are out of sync with the buying preferences and the research methods of audiences today.
Therefore education of the partners marketing teams is vital for success. Vendors should help here and build programs that assist the partner’s employees to develop their skills with recognised skills suppliers and educators. This type of masterclass program is a great differentiator for any vendor and will also ensure they can help mould and develop their channel partners to create and execute the types of marketing programs that will create results that will be funded by MDF.