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

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

Looking for an Innovative Partner Portal Solution?

Posted by Greg Jackman

Mon, Mar 3, 2014 @ 07:03 AM

Recently, Pereion partnered with a company called Brainshark. If you’re not familiar with them, Brainshark provides you with the ability to create a valuable partner portal to convert your training and sales enablement materials into video presentations, all available on-demand. You’re able to produce and deliver compelling content for your clients and partners by uploading different formats and adding your own narration, giving you a dynamic presentation that partners will be able to share for training purposes.

Brainshark’s main application use cases are:

  1. Channel Partner Sales Enablement
  2. Sales Training
  3. Marketing Presentations
Brainshark Partner Portal

The dynamic, mobile-friendly, cloud-based, voice-enriched business presentations on a partner training portal, like Brainshark, increases retention, simplifies complex partner programs and products offerings, and improves the productivity of your sales, marketing and training programs. One of more significant elements of a parting training portal is that your clients are able to access these presentations anytime, anywhere, with any web-enabled device. You’re able to share critical, up-to-date content via email, newsletter, social media, an existing partner portal, and even embed it directly onto your website. The primary benefits of the partner training portal include:

  • Improved channel partner sales enablement and partner communications
  • Faster and cost efficient partner training and onboarding
  • Mobile optimized and cloud based, readying channel sellers with information on-the-go
  • Share content extending your reach and improving your lead generation and ROI
  • Ability to track viewer behavior, improving communication effectiveness

One of the more valuable features of Brainshark is the ability to track viewers of your content in real-time. This also includes the option of adding surveys, polls or quiz questions after your presentation is completed. With all these viewing details, you’re able to accomplish four important things:

  1. Engage your partners in a conversation
  2. Evaluate which content is resonating with your partners
  3. Align your content with your partners’ needs
  4. Measure the effectiveness of your channel marketing strategies for better decision making and prioritization

With a partner training portal, like Brainshark, you improve your overall channel partner communications and sales enablement.

We welcome you to check out our Pereion Solutions Presentation on myBrainshark, the entry level of Brainshark. This presentation gives you an overview of how our channel consulting and marketing services increases your channel sales through partners. Although posted on myBrainshark, it demonstrates Brainshark’s presentation capability and ability to deliver engaging content that grows your channel. 

If you’d like to discuss your partner sales channel enablement needs with us, please email Steve Perry at slperry@pereion.com. Or to learn more about Brainshark's capabilities, visit their Partner Sales Enablement page or Channel Sales Enablement page.

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

Partner Advocacy Marketing: Make It A Two Way Street

Posted by Steven Perry

Mon, Oct 14, 2013 @ 09:10 AM

This past week I had the opportunity to attend a Mass TLC seminar where Advocacy Marketing was discussed. It was a good session and the focus of the seminar was on customer advocacy marketing. It is interesting to consider how to apply advocacy marketing principles to channel marketing and integrate Partner Advocacy marketing into a partner program. 

While advocacy marketing is not new, it is increasingly important and there are signicant opportunities to leverage social media, mobile, and other technologies to take advocacy marketing to a new level. Advocacy marketing can encompass a wide range of approaches from traditional customer references and case studies to finding innovative new ways to engage your customers and encourage or reward them for being digital champions.  

For me the interesting question is how to apply advocacy marketing to channel marketing. The most obvious scenario is leveraging your channel partners as advocates for your products and applying newer advocacy marketing techniques to your partners.  If you market and sell your products through channel partners then you also need to involve those partners in developing and fostering customer advocates. 

Can you extend the principles of advocacy marketing through your channel partners by enabling and rewarding them for creating customer advocates? 

In addition, one of the most valuable ways to reward your partners is to become advocates for your best partners. Again, there are some good techniques that have been around for along time to recognize partners; such as partner recognition awards or events.  But many of your partners may be challenged to create a broader social advocacy program. 

How do you leverage your own organization to create an online or social advocacy for your top channel partners?  

Think about how to apply these advocacy marketing practices to your channel marketing program.  I would encourage you to think about three simple principles to incorporate into your partner program:

  • Reward your partners for being advocates
  • Help and reward your partners to create customer advocates
  • Be an advocate for your top partners

This can be a differentiator for your channel program and a lever to improve your partner value proposition, especially if you can leverage social media tools to create a multiplier advocacy effect out through your partner channel. Advocacy marketing can also help you and your partners generate more leads.  

Thanks to Mass TLC, SiriusDecision, Acquia, Influitive, and Rapid7 for putting together the Customer Advocacy Marketing session this past week, it was a good session.  

If you are interested in discussing how to apply Advocacy Marketing to your channel marketing program, please contact Pereion Solutions by sending an email to Steve Perry at slperry@pereion.com.

 

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Topics: Channel Consulting Services, Channel Marketing, Partner Enablement, Partner Advocacy Marketing

How To Build Channel Loyalty - Communicate and Compensate

Posted by Steven Perry

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 @ 17:06 PM

Increasingly, vendors are focusing on channel based sales and marketing strategies to grow their business. Companies are competing for share of wallet from channel partner resellers.  At Pereion, we’re actively engaged with our clients as they develop and expand channel partner strategies to penetrate new markets and accelerate growth.

Vendors know that when a reseller sales rep has a preference to lead with a particular vendor’s products, they will sell more for that vendor. So how do you build a network of partners that favor your brand to the point that they will build entire solutions around your brand, integrating product lines, services, accessories and supplies? How do you capture the focus of the rep for the long term?

We have partnered with ChannelAssist to provide the ChannelManager+ platform for partner loyalty and relationship management.

ChannelAssist

 

 

 

ChannelAssist’s web based platforms for channel partner management empower organizations to accelerate sales growth. The solution is designed to build engagement with channel partners by focusing on both loyalty and enablement. This leads to improvement in business performance.

The platform enables vendors to open up direct communication to field sales executives working for resellers, a competitive edge for vendors selling through multi-tier distribution channels. Vendors use the platform to engage, enable and reward sales people and their support teams with everything from online learning, sales enablement resources, opportunity management/deal registration and high impact reward and recognition programs.

The intelligent analytics engine delivers data driven insights so you can optimize your programs and outpace your competition.

The ChannelAssist platform can support the needs of large and complex organizations, focusing in on a specialized area – for example managing sales incentive, promotions and contests where 100,000 sales claims are processed each month and rewards are fulfilled; through to a comprehensive partner management system for a mid-sized organization that manages all aspects of a channel partner program.

Pereion Solutions’ services in the areas of channel strategy, channel management and channel marketing align well with ChannelAssist’s platform and services. ChannelAssist provides a suite of professional and managed services to support our clients from design and implementation through to program management and optimization.

If you would like to receive a whitepaper on channel loyalty or subscribe to future Pereion Solutions blog entries, please select one of the buttons below.  Thank you. 

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

6 Partner Enablement Tips To Improve Channel Marketing

Posted by Steven Perry

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 @ 08:04 AM

Demand generation campaigns tend to be the primary focus of many channel marketing programs, yet partner enablement and education plays an equally important if not more important role. Partner education is a critical element of any channel marketing program and is a key lever you have to impact sales volumes through the channel. Exploiting the right partner enablement tactics can have a huge impact on the revenue performance of your channel program. One fundamental theme you will see throughout this post, is to keep the barrier's to education as low as possible. Partner education should not be an obstacle course that you force them to run through, it should be easy, helpful, and rewarding.  Here are six simple tips to consider to help enable your partners and differentiate your channel program.

Partner Enablement

Make it Free

Many vendors look to cover the costs of educating their channel reps by charging fees for education, they miss a huge opportunity when they take this approach. Making it as easy as possible for your channel partner representatives to learn about your products is in your best interest. Charging for education creates barriers that you don't need. That is not to say you don't need to look at the economic model for your channel and understand how you will cover all of your costs, including educating your partners.  However, you can do that without building a model that creates any form of financial disincentive to taking education about your products.  

Be a Thought Leader

Build into your partner education roadmap broader thought leadership and industry education. This will encourage your channel partners to stay aligned with you and promote your offerings. They will value the skill development and knowledge they receive and in turn you will have a more loyal set of channel partners.  This does require an investment in content development beyond producing basic product collateral, but it will create a more loyal channel and can provide a significant return.  

Keep it Social and Mobile

In today's environment you need to look at ways to leverage social networking and mobile technologies to reach your partner audience. Old style face to face classroom education or expensive conferences may still have a place in your overall channel plan depending on your requirements, but today you need to take advantage of mobile and social technologies.  This will force you to rethink how you format educational content, but give you much deeper reach. 

Leverage Rich Media

There are so many rich media tools on the marketplace today to help make education easy and more interesting, you need to understand what tools are available and take advantage of them.  Taking advantage of video capabilities, mobile applications, virtual networking events, and new presentation tools are all alternatives to just producing volumes of PowerPoint charts. The type of content you produce needs to be tied to how the content will be delivered.  

Don't Forget Marketing Education

Many channel partner firms have limited marketing resources to design and build all their marketing from scratch.  Educating them not just on what marketing collateral is available, but providing them the education on best practices and new ways to improve marketing yields. A marketing concierge service is another way to supplement basic marketing progams and educate your partners on delivering high impact marketing programs.  

Loyalty and Training Incentives

You may also want to consider loyalty and training incentives for the sales reps in your partner firms.  This isn't the right answer for every channel program, but if you need to drive cross selling across your product line then providing incentives for cross training can be a productive approach.  

Each channel program is different, but these are six tactics you should consider as you build out your partner enablement plans.  The important factor is still to make it easy, helpful, and rewarding.  

Pereion Solutions specializes in channel consulting and services, please click here if you would like to be contacted about specific approaches to improve partner enablement in your firm.  

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

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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