Guest Column | August 19, 2014

Channel Sales Vendor/Partner Relationships: What Vendors Want (Part 3)

By Dede Haas, CA-AM, Channel Sales Strategist, DLH Services, LLC

Dede Haas, CA-AM, Channel Sales Strategist, DLH Services, LLC

It’s not love at first sight. It is all about the relationship between the vendor and the partner if a channel sales partnership is to be successful. A better understanding of what a vendor expects from a partner helps the solution provider make well informed and prudent business decisions that have a positive and profitable impact on their organization.

Read Part 1, “We wait by the phone but they never call,” and Part 2, “Do we really have to talk about business?”

PART III: "Marketing ... Why do we have to get dressed up?”

If you don’t think marketing is important now, you will have to change your tune when you are recruited by a vendor. Marketing may simply be dressing something up to make it look good, but it is very important to the vendor community.

Vendors put a lot of effort into creating marketing support programs to help their channel partners promote and sell their products and services. Programs such as marketing development funds (MDF), joint prospecting funds (JPF), and cooperative marketing funds (Co-Op) are provided by most vendors to their partners. Channel partners should look to these marketing plans as valuable benefits to joining a vendor’s channel program, especially if they do not have their own marketing manager or department.  Many vendors will not only pay for your marketing projects but they will also help you to implement them. If recruited, it is a good idea to take advantage of a vendor’s marketing programs but there will be strings attached, the most notable being ROI.

What do vendors want from their partners when it comes to marketing?

  • The ability to set clear marketing goals.
  • Experience with and examples of go to market (GTM) strategies and results.
  • Information on where and how they can contribute — communications, email blasts, seminars, etc.
  • An acceptance to front end /joint marketing planning and coaching. Letting the vendor help you and your organization be better marketers.
  • The readiness to promptly track marketing performance, results and ROI to fulfill their expectations and the metrics used.
  • Possibly a marketing department or at least a marketing manager. (If you can’t afford this resource, let the vendor know and ask them if they are willing to work with you on this situation. Many vendors realize that some partners cannot afford such a resource and need help to carry out marketing projects.)
  • A designated marketing point person/liaison if there is no marketing department or manager.
  • Wise use of their programs.

Vendors are looking for partner engagement and a willingness to drive demand creation though marketing programs. Show that you care about marketing as well and that you are willing to put the time and effort it takes to put together successful results oriented programs. Produced and managed correctly, marketing programs will help you increase your revenue and build your business.

TIP: If your marketing resources are slim, ask the vendor about prepackaged programming or, if available, take advantage of their marketing concierge services.

 

An award-winning high-tech sales professional and founder of DLH Services, Dede Haas creates channel sales solutions for the vendor and the partner. She has developed and managed channel partner programs for enterprise and cloud-based products and services for small and medium businesses and for industry leaders, such as Intel Corp.  For the partner, Dede has managed the vendor relationship, created business opportunities, and developed and conducted product training.  She has her Certification of Achievement-Alliance Management (CA-AM) from the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals. 

Have a question, comment or story you would like to share with Dede?  If so, please contact her at dede@DLHServices.com or +1 703-448-1710.