Companies like Cisco, Microsoft and Avaya know a thing or two about building business to business channel and parter marketing programs that contribute to a big slice of their revenue pie. Partner management and channel marketing programs especially within larger companies are very specialized and intricate organizations within business and have numerous staff looking into different roles and responsibilities whether it’s lead generation program management for channel partners, lead and referral management, partner training management or partner acquisition and channel marketing development. To expand the partner network it’s important to have an ongoing marketing and sales process within the channel marketing organization to constantly identify new channel partners along with the right decision makers and connect with them to explore a partnership opportunity just as any other marketing and sales team work together to close direct customers.

While starting a new partner program or expanding a channel marketing program:

  • Identify a criteria which will help you qualify which vendors are a good fit to represent your brand or products
  • Build a list of possible partners and vendors that would represent your business well
  • Research and profile the vendors with details such as size, sales team strength, possible competitors they already represent etc
  • Locate the highest level or final decision maker responsible for marketing or business development within the vendor company as a secondary contact
  • Locate the decision maker who is directly responsible for managing partners and executing channel sales for programs for partners  within the company as the primary contact
  • Gather contact information like direct phone numbers, email addresses and postal addresses so that the database is suited to email, phone or direct marketing.

Decision makers directly responsible for working with partners to execute their programs make a good primary contact to connect with discuss and gather more information on how they execute these programs for other partners, what kind of sucess have they had and also to start discussing your company’s own program. The key marketing or development head presumably the final decision maker can be a secondary contact though still instrumental when discussing the terms, margins, incentvies and closing partners. 

Eventually every partner network has performing and non performing partners and that continuous process to connect with and engage more partners and channels to your network is crucial in helping you build your program into a revenue machine for the business.

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