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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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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5 Ways to Motivate Resellers to Push Your Products

5 Ways to Motivate Resellers to Push Your Products

For a business to grow and change, it has to start from the top.

To explain this concept, General George S. Patton said, “A piece of spaghetti or a military unit can only be led from the front end.” Translation: if you take a wet noodle and push the back-end forward, the rest will wiggle in all directions. Alternately, if you pull on the noodle from the front end, the rest will follow along.

When vendors want more productivity from their resellers, it’s up to the vendor to find the best ways to motivate its sales force. Below are five ways to motivate your resellers to push your product:

 

1. Product Training

How well do your resellers know your products and services? Knowledge is power, so the more resellers understand about the products, the more empowered they’ll be. You can schedule individual or group training sessions to get them up to speed on the details of your latest products. Once they have a better understanding of your products and services, the resellers will have more confidence heading into future sales meetings.

 

2. Develop Trust & Transparency

Trust is the bedrock of any relationship. If you and your resellers don’t trust each other, your resellers won’t be motivated to go above and beyond the minimum expectations. The best way to build trust is by being honest with your sellers and making them feel like they’re part of the decision-making process.

When meeting with resellers, be straightforward with them about what you expect and remind them that you believe in their abilities. Over time, let your resellers in on higher-level decisions. That way, the reseller can provide their input and feel invested in how things get done.

3. Create a Rewards & Recognition Program

Salespeople are naturally competitive, so use that trait to your advantage. By creating a rewards system, you’ll draw attention to top performers. Rewards are earned when the sales team meets collective goals, individuals hit specific goals or a combination of both.

Recognition can come in the form of bragging rights, such as a “top seller” trophy that sits on the winner’s desk for a month, or take the form of bonuses. These bonuses can be gift cards, money, a meal at a nice restaurant or tickets to an event. Find out which rewards inspire your resellers to stay motivated and clearly explain what they need to do to earn the rewards.

 

4. Show Appreciation

Salespeople — just like all people — want to be recognized for their hard work. It doesn’t always have to be a material reward; sometimes all it takes is an “attaboy” for their work. When telling a reseller “Thank you” and “Well done,” give specifics as to why they earned the compliment. It shows that you’re paying attention. Don’t only recognize the significant accomplishments — give praise to small wins as well.

 

5. Create a Strong Company Culture

Who doesn’t want to love what they do for a living? When vendors combine all the previous strategies, it creates a strong company culture that will help motivate the people representing your products and services. When resellers feel like they are trusted, recognized and growing professionally, everyone wins.

For more information on motivating your resellers and how Marketopia can help, contact us today.

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3 Ways to WIN with Channel Partner Sales Training

3 Ways to WIN with Channel Partner Sales Training

Channel partner programs are powerful tools – instead of hiring salesperson after salesperson, you can leverage a network of industry partners to sell and support your solutions. But to get the most out of your partner program, you have to do the heavy lifting to set them up for success.

 

Here are three channel partner sales training tips to help your partners win more:

 

1. Make them experts on your product.

Your partners can’t (and shouldn’t) sell what they don’t understand. Training programs help you educate and prepare your channel partners to confidently sell your products. This may include general training on your product when new partners onboard, updates on new features or product releases, and annual coverage of industry trends. You can also award certification to partners who meet program requirements to set them apart as premier partners. Whether you make these programs optional or mandatory, it’s important to design your product and sales training to be easy to access and geared toward helping your partners close more deals with their customers.

 

2. Keep them up-to-date on industry trends.

Your partners know their local business market inside and out – but they probably don’t have their fingers on the pulse of international trends and innovations like you do. Sharing timely, relevant information like industry research and market analysis can help your partners grow faster and stay competitive within their market and beyond. After all, a partner that evolves and thrives will be an asset to your business for years to come. Share high-level, easily-digestible reports and summaries that encourage your partners to keep pushing forward. If some of your partners stand out as particularly successful, share their methods and stories with other partners to help everyone benefit.

 

3. Give them high-quality marketing tools.

Marketing helps your partners move beyond word-of-mouth referrals and enjoy accelerated, sustained growth. One option is to provide your partners with market development funds (MDF), which they can either use independently or with a pre-designated marketing agency. Another option is to work directly with a marketing agency to produce white-label collateral that can be shared with all of your partners. Tools like social media posts, emails, brochures and templated proposals allow your partners to hit the ground running and sell your services more effectively. You may also consider helping partners update and improve their websites or hire an appointment setter to reach out to leads.

The time and money you invest in your partners is ultimately invested in you, so equip your channel partners with the tools they need to close deals and win more. Interested in getting high-quality channel partner sales training and marketing tools for your network? Contact us today to learn what Marketopia can offer.

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PPC Advertising Management : 5 Reasons You Need Help

PPC Advertising Management : 5 Reasons You Need Help

You’re always looking for new ways to drive traffic to your website and increase leads. You’ve learned that the best way to boost prospects and reach your target audience is through advertising – so you create a budget. But, how do you know which platform will generate the greatest ROI for your business?

With PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, you only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement. When done right, you reach prospects without spending on uninterested individuals. It may sound simple, but there’s a significant learning curve that requires professional assistance from an agency. Here are five reasons you should leave the details of your PPC campaign to the experts:

 

PPC is Complicated

Between studying Google Ads, selecting the right keywords and picking the best platform for your business, PPC is complex. The right geo-filters can help you pinpoint your target market, but one wrong move and you could spend thousands of dollars in a matter of minutes without any conversations to show for it. Plus, choosing the right keywords involves more than just guessing words you think people are searching. It requires research – and even when you think you’ve discovered the best words, search terms are continuously changing. Utilizing PPC for the growth of your business requires understanding all of these different aspects and more.

 

You Need Industry Expertise

Just like you’ve committed your entire working life to understanding your business and industry, there are experts that know all the ins and outs of PPC advertising management. They know that something as simple as the wrong words can ruin an entire campaign, and they know how to resolve issues as they arise. By working with an industry professional, you’ll learn more about the whole PPC process, how to adjust your campaign when ads are getting clicked too often – or too little – and discover which platforms work best for your business and prospects.

 

PPC is Always Changing

The digital marketing industry is continuously changing, between new rules set by Google and the latest technology trends. It can be difficult to stay updated with the latest news and developments, but failing to do so leaves your business vulnerable to overspending. Using the latest tools and resources, you can remain competitive while reaching your target audience. Plus, integrating new strategies into your PPC campaign can generate better results. Technology is changing – your advertising strategy should change with it.

 

You Need Tracking Bandwidth

Updating and adjusting your PPC campaign requires monitoring and analyzing the success of your campaign and optimizing it for improvement. But, you don’t always have the necessary bandwidth to continuously research keywords or regulate ad spending. Partnering with an agency gives you the extra resources you need to track, analyze and optimize your PPC advertising. From adjusting keywords, filters, platforms and ad spending to tracking exactly where your prospects are performing actions, your team of professionals monitors your entire campaign.

 

Put Simply – It’s Easier

From having a comprehensive understanding of PPC, Google Ads, keywords and the variety of social media platforms available to the resources and bandwidth to adjust your campaign, managing your own PPC campaign comes with time-consuming responsibility and risks. That’s why the most impactful benefit of handing over your PPC advertising management to an agency is that it’s easier. You convey your needs and goals, and your partner does all the heavy lifting to help you reach them. You can focus on converting leads into proposals rather than wondering if using Facebook over Twitter is the right choice. Instead of worrying about the right words, you can reap the benefits of significant ROI.

Understanding PPC campaigns and knowing how to adjust them for the betterment of your business isn’t difficult if you have the time and commitment. But, as your partner, we know that your time is precious and you need results now – which is why we take the time to manage your advertising. We’ll help you set up a PPC campaign and answer any questions you have. Contact us today to learn more or get started generating leads.

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Your Guide to Understanding GDPR Compliance

Your Guide to Understanding GDPR Compliance

Over the last month, you’ve likely noticed that your favorite applications and websites have updated their privacy policies. Why? Because, companies and governments are looking for new ways to protect consumers’ confidential data. One example is the European Union, who has decided to take matters into their own hands by passing the GDPR. Understanding GDPR compliance and how something in the EU can have an impact on privacy policies in the US is why we’re here to guide you.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) follows the same idea as other compliance regulations – think PCI, HIPAA and SOX – with one major exception: while typical compliances focus on protecting businesses from data loss, the GDPR aims to protect consumers rather than companies. Because privacy policies have always been considered an across-the-board change – regardless of country – this new EU legislation is impacting the US in three ways:

 

Consumers can see what information is being shared about them.

Under GDPR, when you visit a site for the first time, you’re given the option of whether the site can collect information about you. When you opt-in, you can view what personal information you’re sharing – including what pages you’re visiting, what device you’re using to see the pages, the location you’re currently seeing them from and more.

 

Consumers can opt out of sharing information without consequences.

Opting-in has always been a requirement – companies made it so that if users didn’t opt-in, they couldn’t view the content of the site. This sneaky loophole put consumers in a pinch between using their favorite applications and protecting their personal information. Now users can opt-out and continue to use their favorite sites without consequence.

 

Failing to meet compliance results in significant fines.

An organization that fails to meet GDPR standards is fined up to four percent of their annual global turnover or $24.6 million – whichever is more substantial. Some of the largest companies are making billions in annual turnover, which means this could be a significant hit if they don’t meet the regulations set by the EU.

While the biggest push for meeting GDPR comes in the form of updated privacy policies, the most significant changes are happening behind the scenes. Companies need to change how data is being collected – and that requires more than a checkbox. Regardless of industry, size of business or country of origin, your organization needs to create a strategic plan for adapting to and understanding GDPR compliance.

Aren’t sure where to get started or how GDPR applies to your business? Marketopia keeps you informed and helps put you on the path to meeting new privacy standards. Contact us today to get started protecting consumers’ confidential data and avoiding hefty fines.

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