From Push to Pull Marketing: How to Engage Channel Partners

Vendor-partner relationships have changed a lot over the past couple of years. While the pandemic might have instigated it, the real shift came from companies moving to remote work environments and the need for more cloud-based technologies. 

Together, these events have created greater competition for software vendors, putting them under increased pressure to enhance marketing for partner-driven engagements. Beyond getting partners’ attention, they need to engage them and build long-term relationships with them to grow revenue year over year.

Read on to learn how partner-vendor relationships have evolved and how you can use push-pull marketing to stay on top of them and become the first choice for partners.

The Rules of Engagement Have Changed

Intermittent sales have become integrated engagements. For example, previously, vendors could choose the partners they wanted to work with for certain products and handle the process themselves. These relationships have recently shifted from being purely transactional to ones where manufacturers and developers have adopted the channel as a sales strategy for their SaaS offerings. So, partners now have access to a wider range of cloud vendors. 

The vendor-partner dynamic has also changed. Partners now need vendors’ support to address their clients’ changing needs and extend market share. Education and guidance are crucial components of this support. The transition to remote working has forced many businesses to move their networking and security requirements to the cloud. This shift requires partners to work more closely with vendors to gain advice on how they can support their clients. 

Further, partner-vendor conversations are more honest and open. Partners are willing to share valuable feedback, allowing meaningful relationships to develop. 

Partners Demand More

Partners don’t want vendors to take any shortcuts. Vendors must know each partner, gain insights into their capabilities, and learn about their available resources and plan. They want vendors to offer greater reassurance on:

  • Selecting the right solutions for their clients' needs.
  • Achieving closer involvement and regular contact in projects.
  • Growing co-marketing efforts that bring in opportunities.
  • Getting sales enablement assets to convert deals.

However, vendors often fall into the trap of making short-term gains. As a vendor, your efforts shouldn’t stop at putting your brand in front of potential partners. You need to invest in knowing your partners’ business plans and engage with them on a deeper level to achieve more from these unique marketing opportunities.

Objectives Drive Your Marketing Efforts

Push and pull marketing strategies dictate your marketing efforts and set the tone for a mutually beneficial collaboration. Here’s how both methods deliver results depending on your immediate and future objectives.

Push marketing

A push marketing strategy involves advertising and distributing your products to partners through trade promotion, pay-per-clicks, direct marketing, and social media pop-ups. Use push marketing to:

  • Increase brand awareness.
  • Promote your latest product and services.
  • Push partners to a consideration stage.
  • Boost short-term sales.

Pull marketing

A pull marketing strategy encourages partners to demand products from you by using marketing to generate awareness and pique your potential partners’ interest in your products or services. Use pull marketing to:

  • Acquire loyal partners to stay engaged with your brand.
  • Establish long-term partner relationships to generate predictable revenue.
  • Ensure partners continue patronizing your company.

Both push and pull marketing have a significant impact but in different ways. While push marketing brings immediate results, pull marketing means you’re committed for the long haul.

Engage Your Channel Partners to Win Revenue

For partners, costs are always a key factor when looking for a vendor. But finding a vendor that can support them along the sales journey by providing a seamless service is even more crucial. 

Apart from focusing on providing cost-effective products, you must also adapt to your partners’ core needs. It comes down to spending more time marketing valuable services to partners and less on nonessential activities. Marketing messages that evangelize open and collaborative partnerships will be a big win now and into the future.

Show partners the value you’ll create for them through effective partner programs and serve their needs. Entice and engage partners by investing in a partner relationship management platform where you can: 

  • Automate partner onboarding.
  • Grant partners access to a simple-to-use unified management site.
  • Share informational and sales support materials.
  • Streamline the lead and deal logging process.
  • Facilitate prompt affiliate commission payments.
  • Estimate channel sales and determine the most productive partners.
  • Prevent lead assignment to more than one partner, avoiding channel and sales conflict.

Streamline Your Partner Relationships

To facilitate collaboration between you and your partners, enlist the channel partner relationship management capabilities of Zomentum PartnerAlign. With PartnerAlign, you can take charge of your channel marketing strategy, show partners your enablement strategy, and equip your partners to sell better. When you make PartnerAlign the command center of your channel partner marketing program, you can:

  • Onboard and train partners on your products.
  • Bring together all your stakeholders and partners on one platform.
  • Upload marketing collaterals that partners can use on the go.
  • Support partners actively and provide shadow assistance on deals.

Adopt a partner-first channel strategy. Apply to join PartnerAlign