Understanding & Managing Multiple Channel Partner Models

Understanding & Managing Multiple Channel Partner Models

Being a great account manager used to be about managing your resellers and systems integrators alone. Today, your partners don’t fall cleanly into those neat boxes. Instead, every one of them is operating as a complicated puzzle – a few pieces of MSP, a section of VAR, a corner of CSP, an edge of consultant and so much more. To become an evolved channel account manager (CAM) who truly fulfills all of their needs, you need to master the nuanced options for channel partner models so that you can deliver the guidance and expertise to allow your partners to grow faster.

You took the time to master your vendor lanes of distribution and better understand your partner. But that only breaks the surface level of becoming an evolved channel account manager (CAM). In this blog, we’ll help you take the next steps toward CAM enlightenment with smart ways to manage multiple channel partner models and get to the root of each partner’s concerns.

Become A Better Channel Account Manager

Model Structure

The first step to take a deep dive into the kind of business each of your partners is running. This is your opportunity to figure out the components of their business, the specific combination of services and target audiences that will be the key to unlocking their pain points. Once you have a clear understanding of your partners’ business foundation, you’ll be able to start outlining their immediate and long-term goals and co-producing game plans to achieve those goals.

 

Mastering Management & Understanding

The next step is keeping in mind how you first formed your partnership – through understanding and proper management. As a CAM, your job is to mature your partners’ businesses and introduce them to knowledge, people and companies that can help them grow at or ahead of their goal rate. That means really digging deep into what they want to achieve and helping them understand the best ways to make that happen.

 

Agility vs. Ease

Now you’re facing a challenge. To keep things easy, you’ll want to be prepared to service clean categories of partners with specific solutions that speak to each type of partner. But then you’ll be losing out on the agility that your partners are counting on to support their increasingly complex businesses. Success here lies in finding the balance that works best for you and your partners, offering enough complexity to meet their needs without overextending your support capabilities.

 

Building Relationships

Being an evolved CAM will help you become the guiding light each of your partners need. As a vendor, when you work with a partner like Marketopia, you don’t have to spend your time training and creating lead generation for your own partners – you let us handle it. Give your partners more motivation and confidence to do more themselves by weaning them off reliance on you. If you want a partner to help you become the best CAM you can be, get in touch with Marketopia today and see how we can help you meet your goals.

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Inbound Marketing Strategies

Inbound Marketing Strategies

This may come as a shock, but people hate advertisements. 

Unfortunately, the primary way of informing your prospects about the great products and services you offer is through advertising. Even if your offering is communicated in a great ad, it’s easy for it to get lost in the marketing noise that most people ignore anyway. 

But what if there were a way to show your prospects what you can do in a way they may actively seek out? This isn’t madness or witchcraft; it’s called inbound marketing, and it is more powerful than you might think. In this blog, we’ll explore the components of inbound marketing and how you can leverage its effectiveness to grow your business. 

 

What is Inbound Marketing? 

Inbound marketing is the art of turning ads into relevant content for the prospects you’re hoping to do business withComprehensive inbound marketing is made up of quite a few important pieces. 

 

Content Marketing 

According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” In other words, it’s the key way that you can share content with your audience that helps them understand the value you offer as a company.  

 

SEO 

The trick to successful content marketing is writing content with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. These are the common words and phrases most businesses use when they search for something online. Writing for SEO is essentially baking first-page ad placement directly into your content without spending a dime. If you’ve ever looked into pay-per-click advertising, you’re already aware of the high prices associated with it. 

 

Social Media Marketing 

Another facet of inbound marketing is social media marketing (SMM). This is where a company creates a persona for their social media accounts and dispense intriguing information and questions to generate engagements with prospects. Wendy’s created a lot of buzz in the 2010s with their witty (and sometimes downright snarky) online persona, but the success was undeniable. Your MSP can create a persona for itself as well. It should always sound smart and helpful, but don’t be afraid to make yourself stand out from your competitors. 

 

Email Marketing 

The last part of inbound marketing is the strategy you use. This is how you put your SEO content and persona to work. One of the most popular methods is known as an email “drip” campaign. Once you attract a prospect with an initial article or social media post and they’re considering your MSP as a partner, you prompt them to sign up for regular information to be sent to their email. Over the next several weeks, you send freebies like eBooks, eGuides and other informative media that offer a collection of information and benefits that promote your MSP as the solution. This builds trust and sends prospects further down the sales funnel. 

 

Serious Savings 

Inbound marketing is rapidly becoming a more effective way to promote brands at less cost than standard outbound marketing. A 2011 HubSpot study found that leads obtained from inbound marketing efforts cost 62 percent less than leads from outbound marketing efforts. The savings happen because you are placing your brand directly where your prospects are.  

 

How Marketopia Can Help 

If you’re reading up until this point, the effectiveness of inbound marketing remains apparent because this entire blog is an example of it. Get your business’s message out there with the help of Marketopia. From our appointment setters to our sales, content, design and digital teams, you’ll have a whole agency behind your company telling its story better than you could have ever imagined. Contact us today and let’s start writing yours. 

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Being a Better CAM: Understanding Your Partners

Being a Better CAM: Understanding Your Partners

As a vendor, you pride yourself on the lanes of distribution you’ve built in the channel. But a factor that vendors often overlook is their ongoing relationships with current partners. While you may meet contractual obligations with a courteous demeanor, are you genuinely understanding your partners and their needs? Doing so may unlock further business potential. In this blog, we’ll help you walk a mile in your partner’s shoes by becoming an evolved channel account manager (CAM) and talk about what you need to know to understand their world better.

To support your partners, you must improve your role as a channel account manager. A great CAM is a jack-of-all-trades who is part private investigator and part problem solver, all while being fully versed in integrated sales and marketing methodology and tactics. This means you leverage your knowledge and skills to find the right answers that fix problems. To do this, it is a must for you to become familiar with your partner’s world.

Become A Better Channel Account Manager 

What CAMs Look For

Like your own company, your partner’s company has many unique needs and aspirations with a plan to deal with both of them in today’s channel. To better help them meet theirs, you need to use your CAM skills to examine their unique attributes. These attributes include:

  • Business Plans
  • Organizational Structures
  • Ways of Making Money
  • Talent Challenges
  • Demand Generation Pain Points

 

Business Plans

A CAM comes to understand their client’s business plans by first building a rapport with them. This is what breaks down any barriers and gives them the confidence in you to share their current goals, pain points and ideas on how to address them. As a CAM, you must take into account your experience and knowledge of the channel to provide your partners with the most refined version of their plan possible.

 

Organizational Structures

While the business plan is the execution, the structure of your partner’s company is the arrangement of rules and parts that follow the execution. A CAM’s responsibility is to determine if each component and the conditions it adheres to are the best fit for the company. Any that are not performing to their fullest potential should be improved, removed or supported with additional parts that were not present beforehand.

 

Ways of Making Money

That’s what business is all about, right? CAMs must be on the lookout for opportunities that are being ignored, missed or a threat to the partner’s success. This falls back on your private investigator and problem-solving skills, all reliant on your expert knowledge.

 

Talent Challenges

Employees are the operators of the moving parts who are guided by the business plan, held together by the structure while trying to make that profit. Skilled team members can make or break the success of any company, and as a CAM, you must recognize both talent and a lack thereof. You can recommend trainings, seminars and other educational programs to overcome any shortcomings. But if a weak link is about to break, you need to bring it to your partner’s attention.

 

Demand Generation Pain Points

While you’re helping your partner build a better situation internally, you should also be considering their client-facing efforts. After all, if they’re carrying or using your products and services, their success is reflective upon you. A CAM knows the channel and what competitors do to stand out in it. You must take that knowledge and quantify it with your partner’s unique selling points to make them stand out in the channel.

 

Building Relationships

Being the CAM your partner needs begins with fostering a relationship, but as with any relationship, it takes effort and care to grow over time. To see how this relationship improves, set goals or mile markers on things you want to accomplish with your partner. This way, you can see your progress and understand how and why things worked out or went astray. If you want a partner to help you become the best CAM you can be, get in touch with Marketopia today and see how we can help you meet your goals.

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How Becoming an Evolved Channel Manager Creates Long-Term Business

How Becoming an Evolved Channel Manager Creates Long-Term Business

So, what does it take to be an evolved channel manager? Let’s take a look at what makes these channel managers different, and how you can become one to deliver more value to the partners who count on you to support their growth 

Give Your Partners the Help They Need

 

What is an Evolved Channel Manager?  

For many veterans in the industry, the most important thing a channel manager could do was teach their partners the technical details of their product, and the rest would sort itself out. Fast forward to now, and there’s a lot of parity on the product side, as many solutions can get the same job done. The most significant way your partners can stand out is by leveraging marketing and sales best practices. But most of your partners aren’t operating with an internal marketing team, so building everything from their marketing strategy to their implementation and reporting plans means a lot of extra work 

To make things easier for your partners, an evolved channel manager becomes a mentor or coach to their partners. So, if the client is struggling to get leads, close sales or explain the value proposition of the product, then it’s up to you to get them over the hurdle.  

 

A True Partnership Leads to Loyalty 

If you ask your partners if they’d rather have an excellent product or an excellent relationship with a vendor, they’re going to choose the latter every time. As competing products continue offering the same features and benefits, your connection with your partners will make all the difference. It’s up to you to explain the value of your partnership and then show it.  

To do this, you need to look at each partner individually and determine their strengths and weaknesses, then develop a plan to address the problems. If your partners are struggling to close sales, it’s up to you to teach them how to close deals or introduce them to someone who can. They will appreciate the investment you’ve made in their business, which will reinforce your bond and create long-term success for you and your partners. 

 

How to Provide the Tools They Need 

If your partner is having problems getting leads or closing sales, then it’ll be up to you, the evolved channel manager, to remedy the issues. Find a marketing partner who can provide what your partners need. Marketopia has the channel marketing experience you need. We were born in the channel and have an extensive library of training, marketing tools and sales collateral that’ll help your partners grow their business.  

Ready to Evolve? Team up with Marketopia to help your partners close more sales. Let’s Connect

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12 Keys to Business Success in 2020

12 Keys to Business Success in 2020

Just like saving money for retirement, the best time to start improving your business was yesterday. The second-best time to start is today. However, when it comes to marketing your company, there is no quick-fix solution. You need a multi-layered plan with specific goals and a timeline to get you there.

In the final days leading up to 2019, Marketopia launched a 12-part video miniseries on setting your business up for success through marketing. Below is an overview of each topic and video link, so that you can incorporate these components into your marketing plan.

 

Set Up Your Organization for Success 

Before you can improve your business, your whole team needs to be working from one operating system. Marketopia used EOS®, short for the Entrepreneurial Operating System, to help bring focus, discipline and accountability across all departments. EOS helps businesses strengthen the six key components of any business:

  1. Vision
  2. People
  3. Data
  4. Issues
  5. Process
  6. Traction

Once everyone is working from the same playbook, it will be easier to set smarter goals.

Watch Episode 1

 

The Power of Setting a Clear Goal

Not all goals are created equal. For example, losing weight is a great goal, but exactly how many pounds do you want to drop, and which diet plan will you follow? Just like resolutions, your business needs to set clear goals. One of the best ways to do this is by setting SMART goals, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. A SMART goal incorporates all these elements to keep you focused and increase your chances of achieving your goal.

For example, a SMART goal isn’t saying, “I want more leads” or “I want to make higher profits.” Put a number to it. Exactly how many leads do you want? Is that number a realistic number of leads to get? When is the deadline you need to hit that lead count?

Watch Episode 2

 

Aligning Your Marketing and Sales

Once you set up your organization’s operating system and establish clear goals, you’ll be able to align your marketing and sales departments better. According to The Payoffs of Improved Sales & Marketing Alignment, U.S. businesses lose $1 trillion per year because of misalignment. Poor communication, flawed processes and inconsistent follow-up procedures are common causes for misalignment.

According to the Aberdeen Group, a successfully aligned sales and marketing strategy can generate 32 percent higher revenue, retain 36 percent more customers and achieve a 38 percent higher win rate.

Watch Episode 3

 

Targeting the Right Audience and Adding Real Value

One way to increase your number of customers and wins is by finding the right audience to target. By strategically breaking down large markets into smaller customer groups based on key characteristics, you can focus on the types of people or businesses that resemble your ideal lead. Four of the main types of market segmentation include:

  1. Demographic (age, gender, education, marital status, etc.)
  2. Psychographic (values, beliefs, interests, personality, lifestyle, etc.)
  3. Behavioral (brand interactions, spending habits, etc.)
  4. Geographic (neighborhood, area code, city, region, country, etc.)

In addition to finding your ideal lead, target marketing can deliver real value to your audience by providing resolutions to their unique pain points through content marketing and develop a connection by speaking in terms they understand.

Watch Episode 4

 

Systems to Support Your Marketing Plan

As you’re aligning your marketing strategy, it can feel overwhelming trying to keep up with all your projects. One way to keep everything organized is by using a project management system to keep track of timelines, workflows and internal communications. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 97 percent of respondents agreed that project management is critical to business performance and organizational success. Project management solutions can help keep your sales and marketing teams on the same page so that you can surprise and delight customers. In fact, according to a Capterra study, 44 percent of businesses say that project management solutions helped improved the quality of the final product.

Watch Episode 5

 

Celebrating Your Wins

During your journey of improving your business, don’t forget to take inventory of your accomplishments. Many business owners are continuously looking for new ways to improve their companies, which makes it easy to overlook what they’ve already done. Take a second to look around and appreciate what you do have. It’ll make what you gain in the future more special.

Watch Episode 6

 

The 4 Areas of a Marketing Plan 

For businesses that have never had a true marketing plan, knowing elements to include can feel overwhelming. Your plan needs to touch on these four areas to be successful:

  1. Awareness – Get your name in front of consumers to differentiate your company from the competition. Also, keep in mind that 63 percent of consumers requesting info on your company today will not purchase for at least three months.
  2. Demand Generation – Targeted marketing programs can drive interest in your products or services. Set SMART goals to increase the success rate of your demand gen goals.
  3. Events – Attend industry events or host your own events to get face-to-face with your customers. According to Endless Events, 95 percent of marketers agree that live events provide attendees with a valuable opportunity to form in-person connections in a digital business world.
  4. Incentives – Don’t rely solely on word of mouth marketing. Give your current customers a reason to send new business your way by offering discounts or gifts. According to the Neilsen Company, 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family over other types of advertising. These elements will help increase your visibility within the industry and generate more qualified leads.

Watch Episode 7

 

Building Out Your Inbound Marketing Plan 

One of the critical components of your marketing strategy is creating ways for potential leads to find your business online. This strategy is called inbound marketing, and it focuses on creating quality content that pulls prospects into your business and brand. Create content for prospects who are already searching for answers online, researching your industry, checking out competitors and trying to decide if they need your service. You can get their attention by creating whitepapers, blogs and videos. If they get something of value from your content, they’ll trust you more and view you as a leader in the space.

Watch Episode 8

 

Building Out Your Outbound Marketing Plan

In addition to inbound marketing, your marketing plan should also include a way to reach prospects who have a problem but aren’t actively searching for a solution. This strategy is called outbound marketing, and it can provide immediate results when done right. Outbound marketing includes direct mailers, telemarketing, TV ads and more. Remember, you can’t lean on only inbound or outbound marketing, you need a combination of both. Only 12 percent of outbound marketers reported that their outbound marketing efforts gave a higher ROI over inbound marketing. To make outbound work, you need to be strategic and have measurable goals.

Watch Episode 9

 

Putting Your Marketing Plan into Action

Now that you know what elements you need for a successful marketing plan, it’s time to put the plan into motion. However, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit study, 61 percent of respondents struggle to bridge the gap between formulating a strategy and its day-to-day implementation. To fix this, you need a written process to tackle your strategy. Set milestone goals and deadlines in advanced, so your teams know how to prioritize duties and tasks. According to Broadview, 70 percent of organizations that used a formal process to manage their strategy outperformed their peers.

Watch Episode 10

 

Leading and Motivating Your Team to Success

As your company marches forward with its new marketing plan, it’s your duty as a business owner to take charge. Being a leader is more than issuing orders. You must lead by example, be transparent with your progress, promote teamwork, specifically acknowledge team achievements and more. With open and honest communication in an encouraging work environment, your team is more likely to stay committed to meeting and exceeding your goals.

Watch Episode 11

 

Take What You Measured and Make it Better

As you develop and implement your marketing plan throughout the year, it’s essential to collect data on how well your marketing deliverables are performing. Without this performance data, it’ll be difficult to analyze how effective your marketing was at accomplishing your goals. Use Google Analytics or other analytics tools built into various programs to keep track of metrics. With a clear view of your analytics, you’ll be able to make adjustments that help increase your leads, sales and profit.

Watch Episode 12

 

How Marketopia Can Help

By implementing these 12 components, your marketing strategy will have all the pieces it needs for an incredible 2020. However, it’s going to take a lot of time and energy to deploy all elements of a marketing plan. If you’re not sure you can do it all, don’t worry. You don’t have to do it alone. Marketopia has the knowledge and tools to help you succeed in this ever-changing landscape. We have roots in the channel, and our team of experts will help you achieve your goals. Contact us today to get started.

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