We hear over and over how partners don’t leverage the resources they’re given. You, the vendors, spend millions of dollars on through-channel demand generation, but unfortunately, Partner usage is abysmal! Why?
Great question! And we finally got to the bottom of it by organizing a Partner advisory group, where we asked them what they need, what they want and what they will actually use.
I have my own marketing automation tool.
In the past, Partners didn’t have their own marketing teams, let alone their own automation tools, and they definitely didn’t have their own demand generation strategy. But that was a decade ago! Resources for small to mid-sized businesses have come a long way since then, and at the very least Partners have the ability to setup a template in their email client and send well-crafted and targeted one-off emails. Many of them even have true CRMs like Salesforce.com or HubSpot and marketing automation tools like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or Marketo.
I don’t want to co-brand anything.
Back when all Partners were VARs and you could call everyone “guys” without offending anyone, co-branding was cool. Partners appreciated being able to leverage your brand and reputation. But times certainly have changed. MSPs aren’t selling your solutions they’re selling their services, which happen to take place on your solutions, but the customer couldn’t care less what infrastructure it’s built on so long as it works. The content MSPs want, needs to focus on a business outcome and the promise of a better way for the line of business managers, who are now your decision makers.
I work with anywhere from 5 to 50 IT and Telecom Vendors.
Do you seriously expect your Partners to log into one tool, customize a single piece of data and send it via email, then log into another tool, customize a piece of data and send it via another tool, then log into another….you get the idea.
I’m worried about GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.
As you can see in our previous blog post there are real (and serious) concerns about privacy. Fines of up to $30 per contact can be put upon companies that do not acquire, store and use their lists in responsible ways. For Partners, this means that the act of simply loading their lists to your through-channel marketing automation tools will compromise their data. What’s more, if a recipient unsubscribes from your Partners’ list on one through-channel marketing automation tool but the Partner doesn’t carry that unsubscribe list over to other tools, you’re putting them at risk for breaking just about every CAN-SPAM law in the book. Way to teach your Partners the exact wrong way to do demand gen!
I don’t completely trust your direct sales teams.
Even if Partners can load their lists without compromising their data (which they can’t) and they follow the CAN-SPAM laws (which they won’t), after talking to hundreds of Partners there’s still too much channel conflict history to completely trust your sales teams. How does a Partner know that by loading their list of contacts, leads, and customers that somehow it won’t fall into the wrong hands? You, as a channel professional, can swear up and down that your direct team won’t go after their leads but we all know full-well we have zero control over the direct sales team.
I only watch videos…why are you making me send white papers?
Marketers who use video get 66% more leads. So why are you still only letting Partners customize static content like white papers and eBooks? We’re not saying do away with the static content, but everyone knows that they nurture leads, they don’t fill the funnel. How are Partners supposed to fill the funnel if they don’t have multimedia content? Oh, and simply giving them a video to push out doesn’t work either. How many times have you gotten a video somewhere, opened but not watched it right away because you got busy and then gone back hours later only to realize you can’t remember where the video came from? Partners need to be able to customize video, webinar, and podcast content so they don’t, once again, lose a lead back to their Vendors.
Thanks to all of our Partners who told it to use straight. Look for more (much more!) to come on this topic and keep the feedback coming!