The way people buy has changed
The way customers buy and think about technology has been changing at a rapid pace due to a combination of necessity – the pandemic, remote workforces, customer-centric organisations; and by design – a greater demand for self-service, digital transformation and a change in who makes final buying decisions.
80% of buying decisions are made by a collection of individuals, the days of a single budget holder are gone. Customer buying journeys now require multiple touch points, increased number of contacts and an ever – increasing level of personalisation, as each of these individuals can potentially research different parts of a solution, meaning more questions and much longer sales cycles. And while customers may find buying technology more of a challenge, the channel sales teams tasked to sell to them are struggling to get the right message in front of the right person, as the right time.
More touch points, more personalised, more data required
The average number of dials needed to connect with a prospect is now 18 according to Gartner, and the analyst also claimed that just 24% of sales emails are actually opened. While many channel firms still prefer cold calling, 80% of sales calls go to voicemail, and 50% of prospects are not even a good fit for the solution they are selling.
Partners and vendors need to work in harmony to design programs that can be tailored to both the customer end-user, and the partner implementing the campaigns. It is only through a shared vision and goals that successful campaigns can be sent and true ROI can be achieved.
What’s the solution?
At a recent Marketing Bee roundtable, it was agreed that resellers and vendors must work closer and smarter together.
By creating more personal marketing programs based on personas both within partners and their customers, the benefits of those upfront investments will start to be seen.
It is worth noting that marketing and sales cycles often run on very different timelines which must be factored in when building campaigns – sales can be monthly cycles, marketing can be quarterly, which often skews results as the two may not always tally. ROI from campaigns can take between 12-24 months to really be achieved – patience and communication is needed on both sides. Managing expectations on both sides should be part of every partnership.
PRM platforms need to be usable and informative
Partner Relationship Management (PRM) platforms can be a useful tool, particularly for larger vendors with multi-tiered levels of partners that need quick access to collateral. But if those partners are not using it, then it needs re-evaluating to make sure it is still working for both sides.
Vendors need to make sure that all material uploaded to their PRM is timely, relevant, easy to find and easy to use. Effective and efficient communication with their partners will help to drive results.
Partners need personalised content that they can use for their own campaigns and platforms, and content that is relevant to what their customers need to know. Partners need ‘campaigns in a box’ that can be tailored to their messaging quickly and easily.
Training and support will help boost success
Vendors should also strongly consider providing their partners with additional training and support on how to use their marketing collateral effectively and to the maximum advantage. Not every reseller has the budget for an individual marketing specialist – often they will have a ‘jack of all trades’ who logs onto the PRM and searches for relevant content. Messaging needs to be relevant to all types and levels of user.
Without the right guidance, these partners can sometimes miss important information, or use the wrong content, because they don’t know where to look or even what they are looking for in the first place. To ensure you get the most out of a PRM – you have to put every effort in to what goes in and how it is used.
Trust is key, communication is vital
Through more regular and efficient communication, and by listening to what partners say they need, vendors can ensure their messaging is reaching the right audience, meaning more future-proofed marketing strategies, and a much stronger and more competitive sales channel.
Get in touch to find out how we can help refine your partner marketing program.