Don’t forget the little guy: helping smaller channel partners succeed

Don’t forget the little guy: helping smaller channel partners succeed

Alli Campofranco

The Pareto Principle states that 80% of profits come from 20% of your efforts. In IT sales, things are even more lopsided: most IT brands rely on the top 2% of their channel partners for the majority of their sales.

The partners powering IT sales are typically larger and have more robust, in-house marketing capabilities. Perhaps most importantly, they are able to use their size and success to leverage better prices from brands, allowing them to offer better deals to end-buyers.

While you should be thankful for the business generated by your top-performing partners, you should also be wary of the risks that come with depending on a small number of resellers. First, by putting all of your eggs in one basket, you run the risk of taking a significant hit if one of your top-performers falters. Second, these larger partners will take advantage of your dependency, forcing you to provide them with better prices and more support.

The solution is to start paying more attention to some of your smaller partners. While not every channel partner is worth devoting significant effort to, there is generally another 10-20% of your channel partners who have the potential to become top-performers if you provide them with the necessary support to grow their business.

Take Over Their Marketing

Only the largest partners have the resources to engage in serious marketing. Traditionally, brands have tried to boost their smaller partners’ marketing efforts by providing them materials through a partner portal. These types of efforts fall short, however, because those partners simply don’t have the time or marketing experience to put those materials into action.

You can’t just give partners tools for a marketing campaign. You have to do the work for them, crafting and executing a high-quality digital marketing campaign on their behalf. You can do that on a large scale for multiple partners with through-channel marketing campaigns.

The brand crafts and executes the campaign and sends it through the partners to the end-buyers. Although the partner does not craft the campaign, they are able to customize it to include their logo and contact information for end-buyers to see.

Asking a channel partner for their customer list is a sensitive issue. They have to know that the brand won’t turn around and begin marketing directly to the end-buyers or share addresses with competitors of the partners.

Get them leads

Partners want to see results. Your job is to provide them with a marketing campaign that generates new leads for them.

The first key to lead generation is providing content that end-buyers are likely to appreciate and interact with. In addition to information about the brand’s products, a monthly through-channel marketing campaign should include content that is not directly tied to your brand but that end-buyers across the industry will find useful and interesting, such as e-books, case studies and infographics.

The through-channel marketing campaign also facilitates lead generation by providing channel partners insights on how end-buyers are interacting with the content, if at all.  Partners are able to reach out to end-buyers knowing what topics they clicked on, and thus, what their interests are. They can deliver customized offers that align with the interests and needs of each end-buyer.

Paying attention to medium-sized channel partners will pay off in the long-run. Your efforts can help turn them from an average performer into a top performer who is much more loyal to your brand than the other big partners. Why? Because while the other brands were busy looking after the VIP partners, you chose to take care of the little guy. And he’ll never forget it.

Want more information on our comprehensive through-channel marketing program for brands & partners?

Our program allows brands to send robust campaigns to a partner’s customer list, while maintaining the integrity and privacy of each partner’s list.  Our program also offers a Digital Lead Hub for partners, allowing them real-time statistics about each campaign delivered. See what percentage of end-buyers are opening the campaign, and what type of campaign content they are clicking on or downloading.