It has been two weeks since Larry Walsh and his 2112 Group’s research team conducted one of the first surveys on the “State of the Channel in New Norm“. I am not sure we knew at that time what the new norm would be, but we surely knew we were in for a wild ride. One Channel Chief put it this way: For any of our partners and dealers who had not crossed the digital divide, they just got hit squarely between the eyes with digital transformation. We just entered a channel world with no in-person events. So, based on this graphic from B2B where resellers rank In-person events as the most effective tactic for B2B marketing, where do we go from here?
I purposefully chose to focus on the positive, as do many of you who participated in or have read Larry’s reports . It’s encouraging and empowering to hear so many great stories around efforts to support partners/dealers/resellers/agents – all of our conduits to effectively engaging with our consumers, whether B2B or B2C. I believe for the time being I can put these critical efforts into three categories 1) Support 2) Enable and 3) Ignite.
I am going to share what I’ve heard from many Channel leaders outlined in a very abbreviated form:
- Support our resellers – Whether it is reworking contracts, quotas or payments, find out where they are suffering and work with them. If these key partners are not here when it all comes back (and it will come back) we are in trouble. We need them, so take the opportunity to engage like never before. They can’t travel and neither can you. Take advantage of this time to build relationship in 1-to-1 or 1-to-many.
- Enable – While so many are thinking about how to squeeze out what business is still available today, what if we purposefully focused on enablement? It seems that having an enablement strategy is working and the market is responding – JS Group’s Social Selling classes are selling out; Blitzmasters telephone prospecting classes are selling out; Achieve Unites channel bootcamp is selling out; Digital Elastic’s Digital Marketing Agency is flooded. We need to prepare our forces to have a great Q3. Incredible opportunities for growth and success await, we need to capitalize with the right amount of investment and execution on enablement. If we are going to help invest in tools like virtual engagement, we need to make sure we are doing it the right way and thinking through end to end, from the actual tool to how to drive engagement.
- Ignite – Get the dollars you need ready to work for your organization. Time will be of the essence to fire up the revenue engine. Leverage data analytics to ensure the right mix of SPIFFs, Volume Rebates, MDF/CoOp and Consumer Rebates.
In short, take what you have invested in enablement (MDF) and Behavior Modification (i.e. SPIFFs for SE’s) and turn the hounds loose on sales with SPIFF, VR and Consumer Rebates. But, this time around, use this experience to be a better prepared and enabled sales channel.