The Channel Marketers big headache… 

channel marketers headache

Over the last 15 years I have spent a lot of time working with Channel Marketers and wow do I feel for them.

I genuinely believe that “Channel Marketing” is one of those job functions that is undervalued and for want of a better word – cluttered. I have worked with Channel / Partner people in IT companies of all sizes and the list of their objectives never cease to amaze me.

Let’s just have a look at what some of them (often alone) are expected to achieve:

  • Recruit new partners
  • Find out why none of our partners are doing anything
  • Distribute MDF (‘Marketing Don’t know what you are going to do with this money but I have to give it to you anyway Funds’)
  • Track MDF (with no help from the partners who have received it)
  • Recruit new partners
  • Drive deal registrations from partners
  • Educate partners on product updates / deals
  • Generate and distribute leads to partners
  • Run and attend events
  • Do the physical stuff at the events
  • Oh – and recruit new partners

The big issue is that many vendors have a channel philosophy of ‘the more partners we have the better’. 

Over many years I've learn that this doesn't work and inevitably leads to poor business foundations – data, audience, goals and expectations.

What happens is in 12 months’ time you will be left thinking “why are so many partners not engaging?” 

You can’t track anything. You can’t tell if what you are doing is working – because your coverage is too thin.

This ‘recruit many and see what sticks’ approach is ineffective and causing headaches for Channel Marketers, many who are very capable and talented.

Why more isn’t merrier

Driving range

One of the most mind blowing moments in my experience working in the Channel came from a very smart client who had been working in the industry for years.

We were discussing her objectives and goals and how she was operating with her hands tied as she was being told to spend MDF even when she wasn’t comfortable. Whilst in the meeting the phone rings and it is a partner requesting cash.

She puts the call on speaker (we have known each other for years) and the partner is requesting £10,000 for an event. Wants to run a golf day. “How many clients will be there?” my client asks. “Don’t know”. “How many deals do you hope to close?”. “Don’t know”. “How many people are you inviting?”. “Don’t know”.

End of call. Fairly standard apparently.

Smarter recruitment = A happier channel

The point here is that if the quality approach is taken – these situations can be avoided. Or at the very least reduced. Recruiting through competency is the best way. Are they the right fit for you? Interview them – like you would a sales person.

How are they going to sell your product?

What makes them sure they can?

Who else do they work with?

What does their customer base look like?

Do they understand your product?

Employing a very straight forward screening process will help you filter to the ones that are the right fit. It is much better to have 500 new partners, transacting, eager – and that you know are relevant than 2000 that you know nothing about.

Seems obvious right? Look back at what the Channel Marketers have to do and achieve. Complex functions each and every one.

Competency based quality recruitment is the only way to sanity.

Get in touch here if you want to find out more about how Kingpin can support your partner profiling and recruitment (and if you want to find out what happened to that client’s £10,000).