Marketers thrive or perish by the numbers. As the traces of ever more customer actions get assessed, almost all (93%) CMO’s are having proof of ROI being required of them. Channel marketers of VARs (value-added resellers) feel this even more keenly, having their own as well as their partners’ marketing goals to account for.
The result often observed then is channel marketers having to produce and convert more leads using ever more and complex technology, at the expense of planning properly – their own strategies alongside their partners’. Brands and vendors overwhelmed with both requirements and desired opportunities produce rushed, unproductive campaigns that yield poor quality leads.
This mentality, blinkered on lead generation, leaves plans blind to long-term goals. It’s no secret that most leads don’t convert and even if they just might, rush them and they definitely won’t.
Estimates vary but it’s reckoned that the cost of winning new customers ranges between 5 and 25 times more than that of retaining existing customers! Around two-thirds of existing customers will purchase again (from a report by Marketing Metrics) whist only 5-20% of new prospects will purchase.
Those differences can make or break you. Not only does the business they bring themselves help but the publicity they can bring you is often more productive than your own marketing.
Channel marketing’s misguided mentality around periodical planning
VAR channel marketers can and are expected to make use of vendor funds in their partner marketing programs, while other marketers might stick exclusively to their own business. Where they also often stick to particular products or solutions, the programs around them won’t align with other solutions or other (longer) sales cycles.
The industry runs that way for the most part and it doesn’t do justice to VARs. Tech VARs in many cases are famous only in their own region or solution area. Given that they have unique insights and very individual services and offerings, they just need to find a method of message targeting to reach the right people. The focus on leads only leaves many VARs with no resources with which to foray deeper into cultivating or planning for the future. However, once channel marketers cease to plan long-term, they can only react – look at so many marketing campaigns!
Tech buyers want something more. They expect coaxing.
To achieve this, brands must develop an identity outside and alongside their partners that clearly highlights their value and offers expert content to targeted accounts.
A brand needs to be part of the tech conversation happening online. Research shows that 90% of tech buyers look outside their co-workers for counsel on B2B tech solutions — with reviews, surveys and usage stats from fellow technology users making up 51% of these trusted educational sources consulted throughout the buying cycle. Today, tech buyers want to see demonstrated value even before the purchase begins.
Leads Quality and Value
Winning brands aim at quality over quantity and value over volume when it comes to leads.
Quick leads waste time and resources, so having the patience and confidence in campaigns designed to produce better-quality leads that yield customers with longer lifetime value is a game changer. This means deliberately targeting IT buying committee members, thinking about the buyer journey and building relationships with a diverse audience over long periods of time. It also means giving firepower to your channel and keeping it energized.
The VARs Concierge Mindset
Business growth is only as satisfactory as your partners’ experience. Partners don’t care how your system is set-up, they mostly need to rely on timely, accurate and efficient support to foster positive brand experience, stimulate your channel and fill your sales pipeline with quality leads over time. But this doesn’t happen with distributing marketing assets. It happens with giving firepower to the channel partners by maintaining a strong relationship.
What makes partner programs successful are channel concierge services that offer the marketing expertise, strategy and support the partners need to generate demand. An experienced concierge will guide your partners through a no excuse environment to create and deploy multi-touch campaigns.
At Onboard, our sole focus is on helping technology vendors plan, grow, measure, enable, and manage their IT channel. From recruiting partners to planning and rolling our partner campaigns, we have helped enhance communication, drive demand and boost engagement for 800 enterprises in over 6,000 projects worldwide.
We know the territory. We have knowledge, ideas and track record to help your partners succeed. Get in touch for a free consultation.