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The 2 Biggest Marketing Mistakes Vendors In The Channel Routinely Make That Cost Them Dearly

Crying at workA few months back, one of the vendors in the channel inquired about having me do a webinar  on marketing for their resellers partners. Like many, they rely on their resellers to do their own marketing to fuel sales – and like all IT channel vendors, they were frustrated with their reseller partners lack of marketing and sales efforts. Hence the call with me.

To get a sense of the project scope, I asked about their list. They had just over 5,000 partners and a list of close to 80,000 e-mails. This is good! When I asked how many of their partners they were able to get on their last three webinars they conducted they replied, “About 40 to 50.” Um, wait a minute… I asked again, “Do you mean 400 to 500?” No, he clarified, 40 to 50. Apparently he didn’t realize how abysmal that number is. So I asked, “Besides e-mail, how do you communicate with your partners? Do you do any offline marketing? Phone calls? Newsletters? Anything?” He said, “We definitely don’t do offline. Just e-mail. But we get a 30% open rate!” I didn’t say it, but I thought it: he’s essentially saying 70% of his partner base never sees ANY communication from him – and not only is he okay with that, but he’s bragging about it.

Therein lie two of the biggest mistakes I see channel vendors making when it comes to marketing – 1) they fail to communicate with their partners using multi-media, including and especially offline, with over reliance on e-mail, and 2) they fail to hold the interest of their resellers (clients) because they fail to send interesting, relevant information and content.

So why should they care about this? Because maintaining and sustaining a productive relationship with your clients where they want to pay attention to you IS the secret sauce for ANY business’s success. In this hyper-connected but overwhelmingly distracted world our clients live in, ATTENTION is by far our most precious commodity – and it must be EARNED. Read full article and comment →

The Secret To Getting New Partners To Actually BE PRODUCTIVE

Money MakerOne of the most often overlooked, and therefore neglected, obstacles for many companies is consumption. Specifically, getting your clients/resellers to use what you just sold them.

When sales are made (new partners brought onboard), life is celebrated. Goals are hit, bonuses paid and everyone is happy, right?

Well, not so much.

In talking with dozens of vendors in this channel who depend on their resellers to actually sell, a HUGE problem that doesn’t often get discussed publicly is how 70% to 90% of their partners are, essentially, worthless non-producers.

Therefore, for every 100 they bring on, only about 10 to 30 are really moving the needle; the rest are just inflating the numbers to make the investors and marketing teams happy.

The incorrect assumption fueling this is that because someone purchased something and PAID for it, they’ll use it. Yet nothing is further from the truth, particularly things that create work and/or require a change in business model, habits, workload, etc., which is always the case when a channel vendor is selling a new solution.

Heck, over $1 BILLION in gift cards goes unspent every year, nearly one-third of those given – and that’s FREE MONEY! Even going to the store to shop is “more work” than it’s worth. When you couple human nature with purchases where “some assembly is required,” you’re fighting an uphill battle. You mean this doesn’t just work out of the box? I have to read instructions to make this work? Screw it… Read full article and comment →

How One “Channel Champion” Got 87 New Partners In 72 Hours

Darkweb ID

“We tell our customers to try something different to grow their businesses, so I knew we had to do the same,” explained Dana Liedholm, Chief Marketing Officer for ID Agent.

And they didn’t just try to do one thing different, they did everything different… and the result was 87 new partners in just three days, PLUS re-engaging a lot of past partners.

Here’s what they did.

Recently at the IT Sales And Marketing Boot Camp, ID Agent set up shop with a big goal in mind and more importantly the plan to achieve it.

“We created incentives to get current and new partners bringing their friends over to our booth and rewarding both of them for doing so.”

The short of it was this. There were a number of ways during the three days that you could earn points. For some this was throwing a puck through a hole (pictured), for others it was wearing an ID Agent t-shirt at the event, going to a presentation, and for many it was getting someone to visit the ID Agent booth and sign up to be a partner. Read full article and comment →

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14 Questions You Should Ask Any Company Before Sponsoring Their Event

VendorsWithout a doubt, sponsoring targeted IT industry events should be in the marketing budgets for any company serious about selling through VARs and MSPs. For starters, it is one of the fastest ways to gain brand recognition, launch new products, generate LEADS and SALES, as well as engage current clients. Events give you the unique opportunity to gauge industry interest direct by having productive conversations with the decision makers you’re trying to attract (after all, they can’t hide behind a voice mail or spam filter, and they are more likely to have longer conversations with you). It’s also a tremendous way to “spy” on your competition, stay on top of industry trends and news, and keep a pulse on what’s going on “out there” in this fast-changing, ever-evolving industry. Further, many MSPs and IT services CEOs come to events to “shop,” actively LOOKING for new companies’ products and services.

But sponsoring events can be costly, which is why you want to choose carefully which events you sponsor. “Cheap” sponsorships and “affordable” events aren’t always the “best.” After all, you get what you pay for, as we all know, AND you are aligning YOUR BRAND with the branding of the event. If the event is not too stellar from the attendee standpoint, you get unfairly lumped into their failure. Read full article and comment →