Pereion Solutions Blog

Four Themes from the MassTLC Channel Marketing ROI Seminar

Posted by Greg Jackman

Wed, Aug 6, 2014 @ 11:08 AM

Last week, MassTLC held the Sales & Marketing Seminar: Channel Marketing ROI to share some of channel marketing’s best practices. With the panel of sales and marketing executives from reputable companies, four themes emerged:  

 

  1. Partner Recruitment: Segment the Partner Community & Know Your Target. Do you understand the DNA of the partners you are recruiting? Have you differentiated your business from a channel perspective?
  2. Content Marketing: Establishing Thought Leadership. "Marketing in a box" doesn't work.  Do you have high value content they utilize?
  3. Marketing Planning & Execution: Build Individualized Plans with Your Partners. Work with your committed partners on their marketing plans in a flexible and collaborative way.
  4. Management System: It’s Possible to Build a Repeatable Process with Consistent Outcomes. What key performance indicators should you focus on as you develop your management plan?

 

I had the opportunity to moderate the Mass TLC panel discussion. To read our guest post on the MassTLC blog that covers the entire event, including more information on these four areas, please visit the Mass TLC Blog.

 

Who is MassTLC?
Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council is a technology association and network of tech industry leaders focused on accelerating innovation through active communities and events to support workforce development. With a membership of over 550 companies, MassTLC provides industry-leading content and a visible platform for companies and individuals looking to influence and grow their technology businesses.

If you would like to talk about this event, these channel marketing themes, or your specific channel marketing challenges, please contact us directly at slperry@pereion.com.

We offer a Channel Readiness Assessment to help companies identify the gap areas they need to work on to improve their channel sales performance.  Click below to learn more about Channel Readiness Assessments.  

Channel Readiness Assessment eBook

 

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Topics: Pereion Solutions, Channel Management, Channel Consulting Services, Channel Marketing, Channel Sales, Channel Readiness, Partner Enablement, Partner Advocacy Marketing, Partner Sales Enablement, Partner Recruitment

Improve Your Channel Marketing ROI: Mass TLC Seminar

Posted by Greg Jackman

Mon, Jul 14, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

One of the most effective, and yet biggest challenges, in marketing your products and/or services to your customers can be developing a strong partner channel. For many businesses, channel marketing is an inexact science that doesn’t always provide sufficient ROI. The challenge of creating effective channel marketing programs is creating effective tools and resources for your channel partners, and understanding the impact of those efforts.

On July 30, 2014, the Mass Technology Council (MassTLC) will host a sales & marketing seminar on how to address these issues, deliver results, and improve your overall channel marketing ROI.

During this seminar, the channel leaders will discuss:

  • Best practices and strategies to your channel marketing investment
  • Effective tools, technologies, and co-marketing programs to reach your channel goals
  • Partner recruitment, training and education
  • Partner engagement through quality collateral, mobile, and social media
  • Customer analytics to keep track of your channel’s progress and effectiveness

There are a number of trends in the marketplace that create new opportunities and challenges from a channel marketing perspective. There are a proliferation of new marketing automation tools and with that, an increase in “channel marketing platforms”. As companies work through an evolution in their own digital marketing strategies; they are trying to find new ways to leverage cloud, mobile, social, and analytic solutions in their channel marketing programs. This all creates new opportunities to find innovative ways to market to and through your channel partners. 

The event speakers for this seminar include:

  • Scott Barlow, Vice President of Global Sales & Marketing, Reflexion Networks, Inc.
  • Deanna Estes, Director of Marketing, Gordon Flesch
  • Jeanne Hopkins, SVP and CMO, Continuum IT Managed Services
  • Steven Perry, President, Pereion Solutions
  • Cynthia Stephens, VP of Marketing, ByAllAccounts, a Morningstar company

Event Details:

When: July 30, 2014, 5:30PM-7:30PM
Where: Iron Mountain, 745 Atlantic Ave., Boston, MA
Contact: Christine Nolan, christine@masstlc.org

To register, please visit the Sales & Marketing Seminar: Channel Marketing ROI site. Please join for this interactive discussion.

MassTLC is a technology association and network of tech industry leaders focused on accelerating innovation through active communities and events to support workforce development. With a membership of over 550 companies, MassTLC provides industry-leading content and a visible platform for companies and individuals looking to influence and grow their technology businesses.

Pereion Solutions provides channel development services to technology companies. To discuss this event or your specific channel marketing challenges, please contact us directly at slperry@pereion.com.

You can also download our Pereion Channel Development Overview to learn about all our channel service capabilities:

Pereion Channel  Development  Overview

 

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Topics: Pereion Solutions, Channel Management, Channel Consulting Services, Channel Marketing, Channel Sales, Channel Readiness

Channel Readiness & Partner Value Drive Channel Partner Program Design

Posted by Greg Jackman

Mon, May 19, 2014 @ 08:05 AM

Determining the improvements you need to make to your channel partner program to drive revenue growth isn’t easy. There are two key drivers that will help you plan a new or refreshed partner program design: Channel Readiness and Partner Value.

Channel Readiness Icon resized 600Any channel program needs to deliver real partner value, and you need to understand how it differs from what your competitors offer. This is the basis for designing any partner program. Channel readiness is the other key driver. It’s about assessing the key elements of your partner program, and ensuring it provides your partners with what they need to be successful.

A structured framework to channel readiness can be a good tool to use for designing a channel partner program, following are some channel readiness questions to guide you through the thought process:

 

  1. Business Goals & Channel Objectives: Do you have clearly defined goals and objectives for your partner program, such as revenue volumes, number of new customers, number of trained partners, and product volumes?
  2. Partner Role & Profile: Have you clearly defined your partners’ role in the sales cycle? What defines your ideal partner and do they have the proper skill sets for your sales process?
  3. Capacity Planning: Do you have a clear view of the number of channel partners, technical specialists, and sales partners to achieve your objectives?
  4. Partner Value: Can you clearly articulate the value prop of your channel program? Have you tested it?
  5. Partner Recruitment: Do you have a marketing plan to market your channel programs to your ideal partner prospects?
  6. Economic Model: Have you validated the economic model for your partners and channel sales reps?
  7. Product Access & Skills: Do you have product access and affordable training and certifications programs in place?
  8. Marketing Support: Does your channel marketing plan support the latest digital marketing approaches? Do you offer a channel marketing concierge service?
  9. Sales Support: Does your program provide access to technical sales resources to accelerate sales cycle times?
  10. Program Structure & Tools: Do you provide easy access for the channel sellers including support through mobile devices?
  11. Management System: Do you provide dashboards and reporting tools so your partners are able to easily manage the various elements of your relationship?

Download the following eBook on Channel Readiness Assessment to give you some additional ideas and considerations on each of these topics and help guide your efforts in designing a partner program:

channel readiness assessment ebook

Do you have a clear view on the differentiated partner value your channel program needs to deliver?  Are all the elements of your partner program in place, so your channel is ready to deliver?  Has your channel program evolves over time, it is important to step back and ask these questions. 

Please share this blog using the social media icons above and subscribe to the Pereion blog and Channel Development LinkedIn showcase below.

 

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Topics: Pereion Solutions, Channel Management, Channel Consulting Services, Channel Marketing, Channel Sales, Channel Readiness, Pereion, Partner Recruitment

Do You Audit The User Experience of Your Channel Partner Program?

Posted by Steven Perry

Tue, Mar 25, 2014 @ 13:03 PM

I am not talking about a financial audit. I am talking about a true partner experience audit.  There are many steps or tasks you need your partners to be able to easily perform. Most of these activities are probably enabled through a partner portal or your website. One of the key goals of any channel partner program is to make it easy for your channel partners to complete the tasks they need to get done. When is the last time you went to your own partner portal, systematically walked through, and tried to do some of the key tasks you need partners to perform? These critical tasks include:

  • Find sales enablement collateral
  • Find specific technical documents
  • Register for and take a class
  • Find material for a customer proposal
  • Request special pricing or find pricing
  • Identify contacts to answer specific questions
  • Identify and customize available marketing collateral
  • File a co-marketing claim
  • Place an order
  • View incentive payment information

You should manage the partner experience of your website or partner portal, just like you manage the customer experience of your company website. It's not uncommon for vendors to focus on how much material they can put out on a partner portal versus how easy it is to use. The process of auditing the partner experience or usability can be very simple and help to improve the quality of your channel partner program.

Try creating a dummy partner account and have someone that is unfamiliar with your partner program and resources sign in and try to accomplish some standard tasks. This should not be limited to interacting with a partner portal; it should be task based and include non-portal based activities where appropriate.

This is a very simple concept, but if you haven't tried it, you may be surprised how hard it is for your partners to navigate your channel program. So give it a try. I would be interested in hearing what you learn! 

 

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Topics: Channel Marketing, Channel Readiness, Partner Enablement

Channel Readiness Assessment eBook to Increase Channel Sales

Posted by Greg Jackman

Tue, Jan 21, 2014 @ 09:01 AM

What is a Channel Readiness Assessment?

A Channel Readiness Assessment is a methodical approach to evaluate if your partner sales channel is truly ready and enabled to deliver the goals and objectives that you have established. 

When should you use this approach?

You can use this process anytime to evaluate your partner sales channel. However, I would recommend that you use this approach in any one of the following scenarios:

  • Bringing a new product or offering to market

  • Expanding geographically into a new country or region

  • Launching a new or revised channel program

  • The existing partner sales channel is underperforming

What is in the eBook?

The Channel Readiness Assessment eBook is a structured guide that walks you through the key elements of your channel program to identify where you may have “readiness” gaps that are inhibiting, or could inhibit, your channel’s sales performance. The eBook provides you with the tools to ask questions and think through that end-to-end process in each of the areas below.

1. Business Goals & Channel Objectives
2. Partner Role & Profile
3. Capacity Planning
4. Partner Value
5. Partner Recruitment
6. Economic Model
7. Product Access & Skills
8. Marketing Support
9. Sales Support
10. Program Structure & Tools
11. Management System
12. Channel Readiness Assessment Checklist

To download the Channel Readiness Assessment eBook, please click on this eBook icon:

channel readiness assessment ebook

Hopefully you find this eBook useful and use it to assess and analyze your partner sales channel. We would love to get your feedback, so if you’d like to discuss your own channel readiness challenges, or some partner sales channel best practices, please let us know. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

If you have any questions, please send an email to Steve Perry at slperry@pereion.com.

Please also share this blog using the social media icons above. You can also subscribe to the Pereion blog below to receive additional tips on improving your channel program performance.

 

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Topics: Pereion Solutions, Channel Management, Channel Consulting Services, Channel Marketing, Channel Sales, Channel Readiness, Inbound Marketing, Pereion

Grow Channel Sales Through Better Partner Account Planning

Posted by Greg Jackman

Tue, Jan 7, 2014 @ 07:01 AM

Does your New Year's resolution include doing a better job of account planning with your channel partners? If not, it should. Partner Account Planning is a great way to improve channel performance, but is often taken for granted. With the beginning of a new year, there's no better time to improve your partner relationships than with a refreshed joint account plan to improve sales performance. So let's discuss how you can improve your channel partner account planning efforts.

 

Why are Partner Account Plans so important?

First off, it is unlikely that your partners will achieve the goals that you need to establish, without a clear and common view of what those goals should be. It is amazing how often companies fail to put at least a simple partner plan in place, to ensure that everyone is chasing the same objectives. Beyond common objectives, the likelihood that revenue goals will be met go up subastantially if both parties commit to a common plan and approach. In addition, the act of building these plans creates a foundation of trust with your partners. This mutual trust is achieved through your joint accountability, knowledge, and collaboration. Listen to your partner's challenges and share your expertise in an open dialog. By collaborating and working within your partner's framework, they will view you and your organization as a reliable ally. You will be able to maximize their potential with custom made business plans and joint action plans. Everyone will be on the same page, setting up the perfect environment to bring success to both parties.  


What are the key elements to your Partner Account Plans?

There are some very basic elements that need to be built into any form of joint Partner Account Plan. Keeping this in mind, the following are the most basic elements that you should include in your partner plans:  

  • Goals
  • Marketing Plan
  • Joint Investment Plan
  • Action Plan

Depending on the size and nature of the relationship you can scale up or scale down requirements of the partner account planning process. If you click on the button below you will be able to download a simple partner account planning checklist, that goes a level deeper in outlining an account plan checklist. This will at least provide you the foundation to customize your own partner account planning template. 

 

Download the Partner Account Planning Checklist

 

What are the primary benefits to creating Partner Account Plans?

A strong partner planning strategy leads to success for both parties. Achieving a joint revenue plan is the most obvious benefit to both parties. That said, the benefits extend beyond that:

  • Setting realistic joint expectations
  • Outline all sales and marketing activities
  • Establish KPI's to track progress
  • Clearly define target market and lead offerings
  • Jumpstart new partners quickly
  • Build an action plan to resolve obstacles in advance

 

Need help building the structured partner account planning process?

We created the Partner Account Planning Checklist above for you to download. This checklist was designed to be a flexible guide, and provide you a resource to get started. We strongly encourage you to customize it for your needs and the needs of your partners. 

The key is not taking the Partner Account Planning process for granted this year. Get the year started on the right foot and kick off the development of the Account Planning process with your partners. If you're interested in discussing how to get started, please send a note to Steve Perry at slperry@pereion.com.

Please subscribe to the Pereion blog below for additional topics on improving channel performance.  

 

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Topics: Pereion Solutions, Channel Management, Channel Marketing, Channel Sales, Channel Readiness, Partner Enablement

Utilize Channel Capacity Planning to Increase Channel Sales

Posted by Steven Perry

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 @ 13:01 PM

Channel Capacity Planning is a key element of the Channel Readiness process to enable your partner channel to achieve its revenue objectives.  The key is to start with a clear view of your business goals whether that is an overall profit goal, revenue target(s), or new customer creation.  Next you should consider the role you need channel partners to play in achieving your overall business goals. If you have that clear view of revenue, profit, the number of transactions, the number of new customers; then you can build your channel capacity plan accordingly.   

toothpick bridge resized 600 

It is not sufficient to just look at how many partner firns are needed, you need to consider channel capacity planning from multiple dimensions. Start with what you need the partner to do, such as:

  • Create demand
  • Pass leads
  • Own and Close Sales Transactions
  • Provide Implementation Services
  • Deliver Post Sales Technical Support

The answer to what role(s) you need the partners to fulfill will shape the channel capacity planning exercise.  Let's assume you to need the partner to create customer demand. You should have a view of how much total demand you need the partners to create relative to your overall marketing plan and whether they will need to generate all of their own pipeline. Then you can map back to the number of transactions you need each partner to close, and how many new qualified marketing and sales leads they will need to create. From lead creation per partner, you can start to project what marketing resources you will need for each partner to be successful; that could include comarketing dollars, collateral, markeng support staff, etc..

You can walk through a similar exercise as the marketing capacity planning depending on the role you need the partner to play.  Let's look at Implementation Services as another example.  If you are leveraging your partner network to provide implementation services to your clients, then you need to ensure they have the training and bandwidth or you will create a backlog in customer implementations and ultimately revenue growth.  Again, if you know the average number of transactions you need each partner to close and implement, then you can determine how many trained implementation resources are required per partner.  This will enable you to build the right training program.  

The bottom line is structured data driven channel capacity planning enables you to build the channel needed to grow your channnel sales and achieve your revenue goals.  While the level of complexity needed can vary significantly depending on overall requirements, not taking the time to build out a channel capacity plan will likely result in gaps in your ability to achieve your channel revenue plan.   

Pereion Solutions can help with Channel Capacity Planning through a structured Channel Readiness Assessment process.

Request Free Channel  Readiness Consult 

Topics: Pereion Solutions, Channel Management, Channel Sales, Channel Readiness, Pereion

Partner Recruitment - Three Critical Success Factors

Posted by Steven Perry

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 @ 10:12 AM

There are many different types of channel programs and partner recruitment initiatives can go in many directions.  That said, there are some fundamental principles that will help ensure the success of your partner recruitment efforts.  Having the right partners and the right number of partners is critical to your overall channel strategy and creating successful partner programs. 


partner recruitment

If you focus on the following three items in building your partner recruitment plan, you will have a solid foundation to execute against: 

  1. Clear set of goals and objectives
  2. Partner profile
  3. Partner value proposition

Goals & Objectives

It is important to start with the end in mind.  Build a simple channel capacity model, that will allow you to have a view of not just how many partners you need but how many partners you need in various partner segments.  For example, you may need to slice your channel capacity model by region, by industry, by skill set, or by partner model.  It may be appropriate to phase your partner recruitment efforts, either by starting with a pilot project or just building a phased approach.  In either case, your goals and objectives need to reflect the approach.  You also need to consider the phases of onboarding a partner at this early stage.  How are you going to move them from interest to commitment?  Think about partner recruitment, like you think about customer demand generation.  How many partners do you need at the "top of the funnel" to get the required number of truly committed partners?  The critical point here is that you start with a plan and execute against that plan.

Partner Profile

You need to consider what constitutes a successful partner for your company or for the specific initiative you are working on.  If you are launching a new product or just expanding indirect channel sales for an existing product, you need to understand the type of partner that can be successful selling that offering. Here are some questions, you may need to consider:

  • Do you need them to sell to their install base? 
  • What skills are required?  
  • Do they have access to the key decision makers? 
  • What investments are required? 
  • Is their business model aligned (e.g. service delivery versus product)?

Working through these questions, will make it much easier for you to target the right partners and ensure they will be successful once they are on board.  Build your list of questions and commit the answers to paper, from that you can create a partner profile that truly aligns with your channel requirements. 

Partner Value Proposition

Once you have a clear view of your goals and the profile of a prospective partner, it is time to build and test your partner value proposition.  Start with your partner profile and think through what will motivate them.  Again, let's frame some questions to think through our partner value proposition and see if it is compelling and differentiated. 

  • What drives the economic model of your ideal partner? 
  • Will your product or offering help them grow?  
  • Do you help them expand their customer base?  
  • What is the barrier to entry? 
  • Have you addressed their pain points? 

Thinking through some of these questions, will help you not just recruit partners but ensure that you get partners that truly will invest your products or offerings.  It is important to test this with partners early in the cycle, get their feedback on the value you are offering and how it compares with other opportunities they see in the marketplace.  You will save yourself a lot of time and wasted energy if you get this right up front.  

Next Steps

If you walk through these three factors and feel you have these issues addressed, you should have a good foundation to begin your partner recruitment efforts.  Hopefully, this helps you build your partner recruitment plan and gives you one or two nuggets to consider. If you need help in building or executing your partner recruitment plan, please reach out to us at Pereion Solutions.  Pereion provides Channel Marketing services to help you grow your revenue through indirect sales channels. 

Please click the link below to discuss your Partner Recruitment requirements and also subscribe to future blog articles by providing your email address in the left hand column. Thank you.  

Free Partner  Recruitment Consult

Topics: Pereion Solutions, Channel Consulting Services, Channel Readiness, Pereion, Partner Recruitment

How to Create a Differentiated Partner Value Proposition?

Posted by Steven Perry

Mon, Sep 10, 2012 @ 09:09 AM

 

Companies tend to spend a lot of effort to maximize the value they can provide to their respective clients, but the value they offer their channel partners is often an afterthought.  Creating partner value within your distribution chain is critical to having a successful indirect sales channel. Channel savy companies find ways to differentiate from their competitors through their channel programs and offerings.  Any partner recruitment effort will be dependent on establishing a well differentiated partner value proposition.  Assessing and defining the key elements of the partner value proposition is critical, a spider chart like the one that follows can help clarify the critical elements of that value proposition and where the key points of differentiation exist.  

Partner Value Proposition

Following are some key areas to consider as you think through the value to your partner channel:

  1. Net Margin - Economics is the most critical element of your partner value proposition, while Net Margin is not the only element of the economic model it is an important one and an element that is usually apparent. That said you probably want to look at broader economic measures like partner ROI when you communicate the economic value of a channel partnership.  
  2. Market Growth - Enabling your channel partners to identify and participate in key growth segments can be a huge value add to your channel partners who may not have the resources to identify and develop certain markets on their own.  
  3. Reduce Costs - This comes in two flavors: cost reduction and cost avoidance.  Value add services can reduce the cost for your partners, especially in areas like sales and marketing support.  Cost avoidance comes in by minimizing administrative costs and reducing unnecessary investments that are critical to channel sales growth. 
  4. Marketing Support - Marketing support sometimes gets minimized to marketing funding, while marketing funding is important there are other ways to differentiate partner offerings through marketing.  Market intelligence, prospect lists, marketing content, social media support, and assistance in building marketing plans are all ways to provide incremental partner value. 
  5. Sales Resources - There are various ways to deliver sales support to your channel partners, including sales collateral and tools, proposal support, and technical sales resources.  Depending on your products and the channel sales model you can determine where you can provide the most value in enabling channel sales.  
  6. Skill Development - Developing the marketing, sales, and technical skills within your partners is a critical element of any partner program; this is also an area where partners really look for assistance to grow their businesses. 
  7. Barriers to Entry - This is an area that requires consideration and can cut both ways.  What I mean by that is there are times you want to reduce barriers to entry and there are times when you want to preserve barriers to entry to protect profitability.  Either way you need to consider the impacts.

While this is certainly not intended to be an exhaustive list  and there may be other areas you need to consider, hopefully it prompts your thought process as you think through your partner value proposition.  It is critical to test your perceived value proposition with current partners and potential partners to validate both the elements of your value, your ability to deliver, and your relative position to your competition.

Free Partner Value Proposition Consult

Topics: Pereion Solutions, Channel Management, Channel Consulting Services, Channel Marketing, Channel Readiness

Simple Ten Point Checklist for Channel Readiness

Posted by Steven Perry

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 @ 13:08 PM

 

Channel readiness is an approach to assess why your partner channel sales are performing at the current level and what the inhibitors may be to accelerate sales performance. While understanding all the elements that impact your channel sales performance can be difficult, having an approach to ensure the key elements are in place for your partner channel to perform is critical.  

channel readiness launch pad Launching a new product, a new partner program, expanding to a new market, or assessing performance of your channel sales are all great opportunities to make sure everything is in place for your channel to deliver the sales results you need.  Think of channel readiness in terms of a launch pad. Is everything in place for your channel partners to be successful?  Are you ready to launch that new product? Are you ready to enter that new market?  Having a channel readiness checklist will at least ensure you are asking the right questions. 

 

Following is simple ten point channel readiness checklist:  

  1. Partner Profile - do you understand the profile of a successful channel partner?
  2. Channel Capacity - how many partners, how many salespeople, how many transactions are needed by region? 
  3. Economic Model - does your channel program provide a profitable business model to your partners? 
  4. Product Enablement/Access - do partners have access to the product and know how to use it? 
  5. Skills & Education - are you providing the right level of training to your partners and do you know who is and is not trained? 
  6. Sales Support - do you have the resources in place to support your partners throughout the entire sales cycle, including post sales?  
  7. Marketing - do you have a channel marketing plan in place to deliver the lead volumes needed to achieve the sales targets?
  8. Order to Cash - is the infrastructure in place to register leads, place orders, ship products, and complete sales transactions? 
  9. Partner Payment Systems - can you pay your partners in a timely and clear manner? 
  10. Management System - do you have the data and tools to understand the performance of your channel and make decisions to improve results?  

This simple checklist gives you a starting point to assess the channel readiness of your partner program. If you have questions or would like to discuss how to apply a channel readiness methodology to your business, please let us know.  


Request Free Channel  Readiness Consult

Topics: Channel Management, Channel Consulting Services, Channel Marketing, Channel Sales, Channel Readiness

About this blog

This blog provides insight and tips on Customer Experience Analytics, especially in the usage of Acoustic Experience Analytics (Tealeaf) and Acoustic Analytics (CXA) to optimize web and mobile experience.

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