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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A Year in Review: The 2019 MSP Industry 

A Year in Review: The 2019 MSP Industry 

Between victories, pain points, changes and trends, 2019 has been quite a year. A lot has gone on in the IT industry and managed service provider channel – especially in matters dealing with cybersecurity and hacking. In this blog, we’ll take a look back at all things 2019, including industry news, channel headlines, Marketopia highlights and take a peek at what 2020 will bring.

 

2019 Industry News & What’s to Come in 2020

 

Email Phishing

Email phishing attacks have been a mainstay of cybersecurity threats for decades now, and this metric didn’t change for 2019. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, 32 percent of confirmed data breaches were due to phishing, with a further 78 percent from cyber-espionage attacks. A trend growing in popularity with cybercriminals is the use of deceit to trick their intended victims into giving up personal information, login credentials or even the transfer of currency. These attacks are not just confined to email, either. SMS and direct messages on LinkedIn have grown in popularity due to their effectiveness.

 

Data Privacy, Sovereignty & Compliance

The European Union has started a revolution in data protection, and their move to return full control of data back to citizens has been noticed around the world. The introduction of their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May of last year has caused countries, states and industries alike to more closely examine their data privacy regulations into 2019. The push is to let internet users know how their information will be shared and give them the option to opt out of sharing at any time. Failure by the visited entity to remain in this compliance would result in severe penalties. This will also help user’s personal data to stay more secure from hackers as it will not be spread about in as many locations. Entities that do receive opt-in data are required to encrypt it as well.

 

Cyber Security Spend Will Increase

Considering upping your cybersecurity budget? You aren’t alone. According to IDC, global spend on cybersecurity solutions like hardware, software and services is anticipated to top $103 billion in 2019 alone – an estimated increase of 9.4 percent over 2018. This rate of spend growth isn’t expected to stop in the next decade, either. Entities in banking, federal/central governments and discrete manufacturing are expected to be the three largest investors in bolstering their cybersecurity with more than $30 billion combined. Also, this year, process manufacturers, professional service providers and telecommunication companies will each see spending greater than $6 billion this year to protect their data.

 

Danger in the Cloud

Virtually everything businesses do today is in the cloud – this is why it’s a major target for cyber-attacks. It takes something as simple as intercepting a password, sensitive emails or credit card information, and cybercriminals can gain access to one, many or all the files in cloud storage. Implementing two-factor authentication and VPN security is the best defense against these sorts of attacks moving forward. Both have gained popularity with businesses, especially ones that use or provide infrastructure as a service (IaaS). It helps them mitigate issues from spam email, cybercriminals and other malicious attacks.

 

Company Highlights

  • Between October 9 – 11, Marketopia hosted our annual 4U2GROW conference at the Opal Sands Resort on Clearwater Beach, FL. Here, several industry leaders, including our CEO Terry Hedden, spoke about all things growth in the IT and MSP industry.
  • This year we again celebrated being named one of INC 5000’s fastest-growing businesses in the country, placing 875th overall.
  • The Tampa Bay Business Journal listed Marketopia as one of its best places to work for 2019, and our leadership team couldn’t be prouder to make this list. We’re honored to be recognized locally as a sought-after place of employment. Listees are selected based on anonymous employee feedback that looks at everything from work-life balance to professional growth opportunities and employee benefits.

 

How Marketopia Can Help

It has been a year full of exciting changes – but have you made the right ones for your MSP to flourish in the next decade? Resolve to start your 2020 the right way with Marketopia. We have the knowledge and tools to help you succeed in the ever-changing MSP landscape. We have roots in this channel, and our team of experts will help you increase customer demand for your services. Contact us today to get started.

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Top 10 Ways to Differentiate Your Products as an MSP

Top 10 Ways to Differentiate Your Products as an MSP

Look across the IT channel. What do you see? A lot of the same, most likely. If you removed the logo from your brand and services, would your MSP look or read any differently from your competitors? These days, there is an increasing amount of parity across products. You can invest so much in enhancements just to have competitors copy it. As a product or industry matures, parity increases exponentially over time. In this blog, we’ll explore 10 ways you can differentiate your MSP product offerings from the rest.

 

1. Learn to Get Leads

As a managed service provider, each decision you make is geared towards the improvement, growth and success of your business. We want you to learn how to obtain and retain your leads. There is a precise combination of things you must do to be successful. It’s a fine balance of learning to sell your services in a unique way and combining it with competitive pricing. But most importantly, you need to specialize in the services you offer so you can provide the most efficient services.

 

2. Invest in Marketing Collateral

Spread the word about your services to your leads. Marketing collateral is essentially all the media you will use to bolster and promote the sales of your product. Marketing collateral can be brochures, sell sheets or any kind of informational medium that serves as a sales support tool. It provides leads with a comprehensive outline of what you’re about and what you offer, plus it makes the sales effort easier and more effective.

 

3. Mind Your Mentor

Leverage the knowledge you need from someone who has dealt with product differentiating issues before. Having a mentor is a great way to give your MSP an edge over your competition. A good mentor will be familiar with the tactics used in your geographic area, as well as the ones in use nationally. This way, you can both bounce ideas off of each other and devise the best way to package what your MSP offers.

 

4. Sales Training is in Session

Now that you’re well informed about your services and you know how to present them, it’s time to learn how to make a deal. With sales training sessions, you can gather the tools you need to capture the interest of your prospective clients. There are many nuanced tips and tricks you will gain in these trainings. They’ll culminate for you to make your prospects feel well informed and reassured that you’ll continually deliver them value as a trusted business partner.

 

5. Close Better

You’ve gotten your prospects’ attention; now it’s time to have them sign the dotted line. Closing the deal may seem like it’s the final step in the process, but in reality, there is still work to do. The art of closing a deal is affirming in your client’s mind that you will meet or exceed expectations regarding the deal you both have agreed on. A closed deal should be thought of as an investment that must be tended to regularly.

 

6. Post-Sales Support

The deal has closed, the funds are flowing in and your team is hard at work to fulfill contractual requirements. But your work isn’t over. You need to remain in contact with your client and ensure that they’re happy with the current progress. See if improvements can be made and diversify your efforts in aspects that aren’t panning out in the most optimized way. This also provides you the opportunity to sell other solutions to better client results.

 

7. Best Practices

As a savvy MSP, you can provide the best experience to your clients by not only continuing to invest in the product but also in the partnership you have with your clients. Our experience has shown time and time again that even if a competitor offers a greater range of services at a higher price, you can still compete with less if the partnerships you establish are strong and beneficial to their bottom line.

 

8. Get Templates for Your Documents

Having an established and uniformed assortment of paperwork like proposal templates, service-level agreements (SLAs) and other contracts will expedite all business transactions and give your MSP a sense of established professionalism. You can use templates and modify them to precisely suit your needs over time.

 

9. Make Doing Business Easier

You may have a very challenging partner program with a lot of certifications and requirements, but over time they get bloated and are overwhelming for smaller resellers. Make it easier for smaller partners to do business with your MSP. Do regular audits of your processes and make sure each step is absolutely necessary and straight-forward.

 

10. Conferences

Put everything you know, all that you can offer and what you have already done on display for the world to see. Conferences are your all-in-one tool to teach current and potential clients how they can better run their business with your MSP by their side. This is your opportunity to gain a lot of new business. Give presentations that focus on the biggest concerns in the channel and how your solutions are perfectly dialed-in to handle them. Invite industry professionals to speak in support of the points you wish to make and have clients who have had great success from your services speak on your behalf.

 

How Marketopia Can Help

Whether you need assistance becoming a better partner to your own clients, defining your brand or bringing on new ideas from outside the MSP world to grow your business, Marketopia has the unique skill set to help you stand out from the competition and grow. Contact one of our success coaches today and find out how we can be your partner in success.

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Busting MSP Myth #5: My Business is Too Unique

Busting MSP Myth #5: My Business is Too Unique

In this blog series, we’ve talked about the belief that MSPs are too expensive, shared info to combat the concern that MSP are determined to replace your existing team, learned how to refute the idea that MSPs won’t give you the support you need when you need it and looked at a major concern: MSPs as a security risk. Now we’re diving into the final installment in this five-part blog series.

 

My Business is Too Different to Work with an MSP

Your clients spend every day thinking about the specific things that differentiate them from their competitors. Everything from their marketing efforts and event presence to their approach to sales is centered on communicating exactly how unique they are when compared to their competitors.

Because it’s such a focus for them, it’s only natural for your current and prospective clients to see themselves as incredibly unique…which leads to the concern that signing on with an MSP will leave them tethered to a business partner who just doesn’t understand their unique needs and concerns. So, when you have a client asking, “What do MSPs do to help my unique business?” we’ve got the answers.

 

Make Work Simpler

This is your chance to ease their minds by reassuring them that an MSP’s job is all about custom support. You’ll be dedicated to working with them, solving their specific IT business concerns and delivering the peace of mind they’ll get from knowing they can hand off their IT concerns to experts.

MSP vs internal IT – busting MSP mythsVariety is the spice of life, and it’s also the key to an MSP’s success. Because you offer so many different services and solutions to support your clients, you’ll be able to meet their needs—from infrastructure and security to storage and compliance—because you’ll be providing predictable, proactive support that keeps them growing and thriving. That value is central to the importance of managed services.

 

The Foundation for Success

The truth, as you well know, is that MSPs deliver the foundation for their clients’ long-term success. Your clients, however, might need a little more convincing when it comes to understanding managed services as a growth tool. That’s why we’re delivering the information you need to combat MSP myths and get down to the business of helping your clients succeed. Download our guide to Busting MSP Myths today.

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