This is the seventh in a series of guest posts for Silverpop written by Jeff Ogden, president of B2B lead generation company Find New Customers.
More and more companies are looking to generate larger portions of revenue via channel partners. After all, we all have limited resources. Channel partners act as an extension of our sales teams and often have specific expertise in markets or geography.
How Can You Generate More from Channel Partners?
The best way to think about channel partners, I think, is to look at the world through their eyes. Their biggest challenge is the ability to generate quality sales opportunities. Their problem is the same — but they lack your company’s talents or resources.
I’ve seen companies use different approaches to working with channel partners. Let’s look at a few different approaches to see what works and does not work.
In each example, we should ask the question “Does this help us sell more?”
The Sweepstakes Approach
In this strategy, we award prizes for warm leads. If you provide us “X” number of leads, we’ll give you a valuable prize.
So, does this help us sell more?” The answer is clearly no. There’s nothing here I can use to generate qualified sales opportunities.
The Revenue Sharing Approach
Using this strategy, we offer money based on results. If partners sell “X,” they qualify for market developments funds that they can use for marketing activities. This process is better than the sweepstakes approach because it focuses on high-performance partners. But it also has a fatal flaw. The partner typically lacks marketing expertise, so we have no assurance the monies are well spent.
The Content Marketing Approach
This modern approach is only starting to be used by a handful of very forward-thinking firms. But I feel confident it’s the way of the future.
In this model, we share our very best marketing content with the channel partner, but also brand the content to its company and logo. This approach clearly does help our partners sell by giving them content to drive new sales opportunities.
This process also places increased demands on a company’s content marketing programs. They need to rethink how to catalog, process and produce content. Vendor video content needs to be easily shared, co-branded and adapted to each channel partner’s audiences and messages. We need new ways to catalog and produce content.
Of the three approaches outlined here, the content marketing approach is the superior approach, but also introduces new complexity and challenges.
More on Content Marketing:
1) “3 Tips for Maximizing Content Creation, Consumption and Distribution”
2) “The Keys to Success with Content Marketing”
3) “Feeding the Content Beast”