Channel Marketing: 3 Ways To Give Your Partners What They Want

By: Brian Campkin

If you work in channel marketing, you’ll agree that some of the most valuable feedback you can get from your partners is anything telling you exactly what is going to make them sell more of your product.

If you have a look at this article, it appears that more VARs and resellers would like to see their vendors and manufacturers spending more time and attention to what they have to say when it comes to challenges in their partnerships.

A key area outlined in the article linked above was around rebates.  Most, if not all vendors are offering these and on the surface that can appear to be appealing and lucrative to the partner community.  However, when you dive under the surface and take a look at the actual hard value amount of these rebates there is a large amount of time, talent and energy expended by the resellers to bring them to fruition.  Any resources allocated toward incentives redemption obviously need to come from somewhere, thus impacting the overall incentive amount the resellers can truly apply to their bottom line.  From the reseller’s perspective, it is hard enough for them to actually earn the rebate (it is also the core of their work!) and as such it should not cost them more just to track and process it.  And track it, they will.  The reason they do this is that most of the channel partners do not have the confidence in their vendors to track and process rebates accurately on their behalf.  Most channel partners would like it to be easier to do business with their vendors and not have to add resources and cost to their organizations simply so they can enjoy a better quality of relationship with their key vendors.
Another area for improvement when it comes to listening what the channel wants is around training.  Everyone wants to sell more, and so it follows that they don’t mind making the investment in their resources taking training – they would just prefer that the vendors and their sales channel/trainers would tell them what they need to know.  Don’t pitch me speeds and feeds on your technology.  They would prefer you train your trainers on knowing their business first and what the value is that they bring to your solution to your mutual clients.

Lastly, your channels want a clear definition of the relationship between the vendor and the reseller with the prospective client.  I believe predictability is a partnership and to better understand who owns the client and/or the opportunity it should be measured on when they collectively collaborate on this opportunity in their mutual CRM tool.  The earlier they can engage in the sales cycle the earlier they can both be predictable in their partnership in the opportunity.

So here’s my challenge to you: are you listening to your channel partners and executing on their wish list or are you just hearing them and staying the status quo?

As Dr. Ralph Nichols, the expert on listening said, “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”


Brian Campkin 360incentivesBrian is the Sales Manager at 360incentives and a Spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.  Connect with Brian on Twitter at@BrianTheTinman or on LinkedIn.  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now!