By now Spark Your Channel™ is no longer a secret. It’s been an amazing, and quite frankly, stressful 11 months keeping it under wraps! I’m excited for all of you to see what the Spark team, advisors, investors, customers, Partners, and I feel is so unique and intriguing about our platform.
The idea was sparked (pun intended) when we recognized that the challenge with through-partner demand generation is that it hasn’t evolved in over a decade. Vendors continue to spend millions of dollars on platforms that their Partners simply don’t use. Our solution? We organized an advisory group, where we asked Partners what they need, what they want and what they will actually use.
Through-Channel Demand Generation Has Changed.
It used to be that Partners didn’t have access to marketing automation tools themselves. They were totally reliant on what Vendors made available, and in turn, limited with the way they were able to capture and nurture leads.
These days, anyone can create their own website and Partners feel more comfortable working with social media and online platforms, which has completely shifted the way they drive demand. In the past, many of these activities lived solely as marketing functions, which have evolved into fully integrated sales and marketing efforts.
Channel Partner types have also changed quite a bit over the years. A decade ago, most Partners were VARs or solution providers, so it made perfect sense to co-brand sales assets with Vendors in order to leverage brand recognition. But now, MSPs are aiming to promote their own business and solutions and are selling business outcomes rather than products. Co-branding simply isn’t as useful as it was before.
Another major change that’s occurred is the way consumers learn about solutions, answer questions, and make purchasing decisions. Prospects and customers have more resources at their fingertips than ever before, and combined with today’s tech-savvy buyers, they’re doing more research online before asking someone for help.
Whether they know it or not, Partners have gotten better at demand generation.
What Have Through-Channel Demand Generation Platforms Been Missing?
- First, Partners were not using the platforms even as Vendors were spending millions of dollars to create content for them to brand and email to customers through a single platform – often for free. Among their reasons were:
- Limited content personalization options.
- Having to log into yet another portal.
- Reluctance to upload their customer contacts into a Vendor portal.
- Second, Partners weren’t given the tools to execute demand-gen campaigns the right way, specifically by using personalized multimedia content like videos and by following data privacy rules.
- Third, popular seat-based pricing models limit the number of selling Partners who can access channel marketing automation tools and content, so only a portion of the Vendor’s Partner base were enabled to begin with.
Improve Demand Gen Through Sales Partners:
It’s become more important than ever to provide Partners with the resources, strategy and support they need to drive demand in today’s overwhelming digital ecosystem. Here are some ways to improve:
- Help Partners execute demand generation campaigns the right way — by leading with multimedia content (including video, webinars and podcasts).
- Ensure Partners remain complaint with CAN-SPAM laws, GDPR, CCPA or any future regulations by not requiring them to load their contacts into Vendor platforms.
- Encourage Partners to focus on content-based education, not email delivery. Make prospect education easy by providing marketing content to fit their preferences/profile and send it to them via email already personalized and ready to share any way they want.
Have questions or want to learn more about effective through-channel demand generation? Contact us anytime!