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Guest Blog: MassTLC Hosted Sales & Marketing Seminar: Channel Marketing ROI

By: Steven Perry, Owner/Founder of  Pereion Solutions, LLC
MassTLC held the
Sales & Marketing Seminar: Channel Marketing ROI at the Iron Mountain
headquarters in downtown Boston to discuss channel marketing best practices on
Wednesday July 30. I had the opportunity to moderate the panel
discussion, and the panel of speakers included sales and marketing executives with
deep channel experience from firms with strong partner programs:

Throughout the discussion, there
were 4 significant themes
that kept coming back up, I have tried to
summarize the discussion around those themes.  
1. Partner
 Segment the Partner Community & Know Your Target

It’s just as important to segment the market of
potential partners, as it is to segment the market of your potential customers.
 Not all partners are created equal, partner
segmentation is essential since their needs will be different. When recruiting
channel partners, set strict requirements upfront, so you bring aboard the
right ones for you from the start. Jeanne Hopkins shared how the Continuum marketing team is able to apply
segmentation to partner segments, that they are ultimately able to link back to
partner yield. You’ll need to:
  • Identify the specific DNA of the channel partner
    you want
  • Differentiate your business from the thousands of
    other vendors
  • Recruit partners who are the right fit, with the
    right resources, and believe in the system you’ve implemented

Once you recruit the partners, it’s all about
building scale but maintaining intimacy with your partners.  You can also use social media sites like Facebook,
LinkedIn, and Twitter to help develop those relationships with your partners.
Through this, you’ll be able to gain customer trust on a personal and
professional level.  

2. Content
Marketing: Establishing Thought Leadership
Another crucial aspect of channel marketing is the educational
content you distribute to your partners. Quality content provokes thought
leadership. Develop relevant content
and activate them across digital, traditional and social media environments. Provide
your partners with whitepapers, solution briefs, and blogs that feature high
value content. Using partner events like conferences, seminars, or webinars
where you participate and present. These can be considered as value-add
marketing offerings for your partners as well.
Creating volumes and
volumes of standardized marketing collateral or email blasts for your partners
to just slap a logo on is not viewed as a high value marketing offer. As Deanna
Estes stressed, “Marketing in a Box” content offerings from vendors do not help
solution providers, like
Gordon Flesch, develop their brand and differentiate their
3. Marketing
Planning & Execution:
Individualized Plans with Your Partners

There was absolute consensus among the
panel members that the best approach is to work with your partners on a 1:1
basis to build individualized marketing plans. It starts with understanding
your partner’s business plans, and then providing the proper resources to help
develop that plan. You need to understand who your committed and successful
partners are, and then work with them in a collaborative and flexible way. 
Cynthia Stephens shared a process where
ByAllAccounts leverages their own marketing
automation tools to build drip email campaigns for their partners, and actually
provide unique, “request a quote” capabilities from individual partners on
their website. This way, they’re directly helping individual partners with
demand generation.
There was a lot of discussion about co-marketing
funding and the use of market development funds. Again the feedback was
consistent, broad-based programs are not as effective and can be very
expensive. If you’re building individualized plans with your partners, and as
part of that process you provide some shared investment that can be very
effective, then you know exactly how the money is being spent.
4. Management
System: It’s Possible to Build a Repeatable Process with Consistent Outcomes
Scott Barlow shared the management system they established at Reflexion Networks to manage their channel program, which includes thousands
of solution providers. They sell exclusively through channel partners and have
a well-defined management system with the key performance indicators outlined
  • Partner
    : Total partner registrations
  • Partner
    % of partners that sell services every month
  • Partner
    Average # of subscribers/partners
  • Partner
    Average revenue per subscriber
  • Partner
    Partner renewal rate

Scott emphasized that
they are able to drive specific activities through there channel plans to
address gaps in different areas. There was good discussion about the critical
elements in growing and managing a channel program, and how that can build a
loyal partner channel with predictable outcomes.
In closing, I thought
the session raised a lot of very good questions from the audience. There was
definitely a lot of interest in the topic and discussion about how they could apply
these channel marketing best practices to their own businesses. Hopefully, we’re
be able to hold more sessions on partner channel sales and marketing in the
future. It was a pleasure to moderate the panel with such a great group of
Thanks again to Iron
Mountain for hosting and to the MassTLC team for pulling this together.
MassTLC would like to
thank Steve for moderating and our sales and marketing community sponsors
Dassault Systemes
About Pereion
Pereion Solutions helps technology companies to grow and develop their
partner channels, including providing channel consulting and marketing
services.  Steven Perry is the owner and
founder of Pereion Solutions.  In
addition to channel development, Pereion Solutions is also a provider of
customer analytic solutions.   

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