Five-Point Checklist for Creating a Channel Partner Marketing Plan
Creating an effective Channel Partner Marketing Plan can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. In this article, we'll walk you through a five-point checklist to guide your strategy.
When you give your channel partners what they need to be successful, you multiply your sales force to attract new clients and generate new sales. Achieving this success requires planning, funding, and consistent effort on your part. It starts by creating, launching, and maintaining a channel partner marketing plan.
A channel partner marketing plan establishes a foundation for your partners. It outlines your expectations and defines a consistent approach and messaging for partners to sell your solutions. By providing the marketing tools your partners need, you increase your brand’s visibility and deepen your partners’ commitment to upholding it. Over time, your marketing plan also helps you grow partnerships, reach a wider audience, and generate more leads.
Follow this checklist to start your channel partner marketing plan and set your channel partners up for success. Use it as a guide to determine your marketing efforts, collaborate on ideas, and equip partners with essential resources that convert clients.
1. Define the Elements of Your Channel Partner Marketing Plan
By understanding the elements of partner marketing, you can implement a comprehensive marketing plan that guides your partners in selling your solutions. Include the following areas:
- Target audience: Know the specific type of clients you want to reach based on your marketing objectives. Use an account mapping tool to find areas where your clients and partners overlap. These areas might include key contacts, active projects, sales status, and reporting relationships.
- Budget allocation: Calculate where you want to invest your channel partner programs, such as marketing efforts, technology resources, and partner services. Also, plan to spend part of your budget on creating incentives to achieve your desired outcomes.
- Marketing strategies: Decide which methods you want to use to reach your audience. For example, you might choose blogs, email campaigns, social media ads, webinars, podcasts, or a mix of these types. Identify the channels that are most popular with your target audience. Use the same platforms and approaches you use in your regular marketing endeavors.
- Partner goals: Discuss common revenue goals you and your partners hope to accomplish. Set clear, achievable goals to design your channel partner marketing strategy and track success.
- Channel metrics: Define key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your partner program’s success. Measure your KPIs to quantify them and offer an analytics-based approach for driving growth.
- Result analysis: Develop a plan to determine the success of your partner program. Report and communicate the results regularly to internal stakeholders and channel partners.
2. Gather Your Internal Team and Partners
Pull together your internal resources and work with your partners to help build and carry out your partner marketing plan.
Align your internal teams.
Identify key stakeholders in your company, particularly your marketing, sales, and product teams. Educate them on the value and benefits of partner marketing so they can align on a strategy early on. Once you gain agreement and support from them, it will be easier to bring their teams on board so you can get the right resources when you need them.
Determine your value proposition.
Create value propositions that your partner can share with the end clients they serve. Identify the factors in your offerings that distinguish you from your competitors and the features of your services that your target audience would be interested in. Test marketing messages to see how they resonate with clients and use the insights you gain to hone your marketing plan.
Establish roles and responsibilities.
Work with your partners to understand the strengths you both bring to the partnership. Highlight those areas as you define your roles and responsibilities.
Consider the following strategies to help you maximize the value of your partner relationships:
- Understand what your partners’ marketing requirements are and see how you can leverage their capabilities.
- Involve your partners in key marketing decisions, such as defining your KPIs.
- Structure your partner objectives to offer equal revenue-making opportunities.
- Design partner marketing contracts to reduce the amount of uncertainty and enable risk sharing.
Finally, as you implement your marketing campaigns, create a strategy that facilitates timely, open communication with your partners.
3. Create Partner Marketing Assets
Start building your marketing assets and sales enablement content. These materials help your channel partners market your company to their respective audiences in a way that resonates with them. Therefore, be sure your content is credible, created professionally, and serves as a reliable resource from your partners’ perspective.
The content you create can include swipe copy, banner advertising, logos, photos, and videos. You can also create the following marketing materials for your content repository:
- Co-branded collateral, including case studies, white papers, e-books, and surveys
- Product information or solution sheets
- Search-engine-optimized (SEO) website content for partner sites
- Email campaign content
- Video and interactive assets
- Thought leadership content
- Social marketing messages
- Event, webinar, and podcast content
The collateral you create should address the various stages of the buying process. Watch for content usage patterns and whether they demonstrate marketing efficacy.
4. Implement a Partner Relationship Management Platform
A partner relationship management platform provides you and your partner with a single source of truth. It enables you to manage connections with prospects, view lead stages, set follow-ups, and automate triggers for partners to take action. You can maintain communication between your teams and track deliverables through a platform portal. Plus, you can attribute sales and coordinate opportunities with your growing partner network and marketing processes.
The channel partner platform provides a portal for your partners to find marketing materials, sales information, and support throughout the sales cycle. For example, you can use it as a hub to store all your training documents, content assets, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and other program documentation that partners need access to.
By implementing a partner relationship management platform, you can:
- Track your partners’ information, pipelines, and performance in a single place.
- Automate partner onboarding and offer orientation on support, rewards, and payments.
- Upload marketing assets to your partner portal for easy access by partners.
- View partners’ learning progress and see their sales activities.
- Track the outcomes of your efforts, see opportunity stages, and refine upcoming initiatives with analytics.
- Identify additional tools your team will require to support a successful partner marketing campaign.
And, depending on your partner portal capabilities, you can also integrate a learning management system (LMS) to create training courses for your partners and enable them to earn certifications.
5. Measure and Optimize Your Channel Marketing Strategy
After you implement your partner marketing strategy, gauge its success by using your partner relationship management platform. Dig into your performance data to see which partners bring in the most leads and clients.
Make adjustments in your content strategy as needed, including changing, removing, and creating content in your partner marketing portfolio. Also, note the marketing platforms, daytime hours, places, and salespeople, for example, that produce the best outcomes. By looking closely at your data, you’ll gain insights to help you adjust your strategy as needed.
For maximum return on your investment (ROI), regularly track the following metrics:
- Partner ecosystem coverage
- Preparedness and maturity
- Participation in essential programs with partners
- Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs)
- Sales-qualified leads (SQLs)
- Opportunities shared by a partner
- Upsell and cross-sell
- Client satisfaction score
Besides your quantitative assessments, ask your partners for their opinions about what’s working or not working. They can provide qualitative evaluations that might help you improve marketing materials or find resources that perform better than their stats might show.
Drive Your Channel Partner Marketing With Zomentum
Effective partner programs don’t just happen. They require regular reviews, evaluations, and adjustments to improve the content, relationship management, and measurements.
By following this framework for launching your channel partner marketing programs, you’ll give your partners what they need to make sales and see greater success in your partner and client relationships. Continue to follow this checklist as you create and manage your campaigns.
To facilitate collaboration between you and your partners in all marketing efforts and communicate with necessary stakeholders, enlist the channel partner relationship management capabilities of Zomentum for vendors.
With us, you can take charge of your channel marketing strategy, offer enablement content, and equip your partners to sell better. It enables you to:
- Onboard and train partners on your products.
- Bring together internal and external stakeholders on one platform.
- Upload marketing collaterals that partners can use on the go.
- Support partners actively and provide shadow assistance on deals.
- View which marketing assets perform better than others to optimize your campaigns.
Adopt a partner-first channel strategy. Apply to join.