When the Channel reflects 90% of your business revenues, routes-to-market are shifting, and there are significant market headwinds, what can you do to achieve more with the Channel?
Although we have a number of routes-to-market, a common factor across these is that we still must create partner preference for our brand and solutions.
There are three main challenges facing IT vendors in unlocking new partner growth. In this blog we look at the second challenge – how to create partner preference in a crowded market.
Read our first blog exploring “challenge one: how to do more with less” and our final blog “challenge three: how to overcome internal silos”.
Challenge #2 – Getting heard, creating partner preference
Just as the end-user buyer journey has changed with an exponential rise in touch points needed, how we engage with the partner sellers and teams also needs to evolve. How can you ensure you are heard in a competitive market where all vendors are shouting loud to be heard and partner time is at a premium?
Experience tells us that vendors typically do not have all sales individuals within a partner activated (and in lots of instances can be as low as 20%). Partners have also created their own vendor matrix tiering vendors for each customer solution, so influencing change when you as a vendor bring a new solution to market can be hard.
So how do you get heard?
Articulating your value succinctly and little and often resonates – using different communication channels that cut through the noise of other vendors that offer the partner unrivalled support. For example, at Ice.Blue.Sky we have helped vendor channel teams extend their reach through 1:1 personalised LinkedIn messaging, creating preference and support in a single approach at scale.
Enablement matters to partners but the demand on partners times to consume enablement is vast and partner time is at a premium. So how do you cut through the noise?
Understand what the partners need to be successful and focus on how you know your enablement program will have been effective – i.e. what are the real leading and lagging metrics not just attendance or viewing numbers, and design programmes in line with those.
Use innovation design techniques that grab partners attention and drive consumption and then action – for example at scale interactive videos work very well in making the content interesting (partner adoption) and also drives the partners propensity to act through the ability to have scenario based content, intelligent questions and direct click-through links to tools and resources (partner activation).
Partners care about the level of support and investment they get from vendors. On a high-touch model if you have the luxury of planning in 12 month cycles or beyond, real strategic value can be added when new logo customer acquisition goes beyond typical joint account planning and marketing activities.
Using account based marketing as an underpinning principle to new logo acquisition and customer whitespace expansion can be achieved through strategic activities focused around and wrapped within a customer event program – but extending well beyond this with customer research, 1:1 messaging and campaign execution gaining traction at the C-Suite. At Ice.Blue.Sky we have seen net new logo C-Suite engagement at 94% for this type of program.
Talk to us to find out how we can help you unlock new growth from within your partner channels or why not see how we helped Cisco enable the channel to take action at scale.