Menu
INSIGHT: Why the channel Is more than a sales channel

INSIGHT: Why the channel Is more than a sales channel

For the past 30 years, most B2B channel professionals have thought of their channel as a sales channel.

For the past 30 years, most B2B channel professionals have thought of their channel as a sales channel.

Indeed, in the “good old days,” the standard operating procedure equated to the B2B manufacturer/vendor doing the marketing, the channel partner the selling.

But times have changed. The five-person “box-pusher” channel partner model of the past has, for the most part, gone the way of the dinosaurs.

Today’s successful channel companies are diverse, vibrant business engines, firing on many cylinders, including innovative value-added services, managed services, business consulting, eCommerce, billing aggregation, and marketing.

Today’s channel is much more than a sales channel; it’s a marketing, sales, delivery, and support channel.

The majority of channel partners now employ their own professional marketers and marketing programs - which can be a good thing or a bad thing.

Left unchecked, channel partners’ marketing efforts can ignore, dilute, confuse, or (worse!) damage a tech vendor’s brand.

Leveraged, channel partners’ relatively newfound marketing prowess represents a powerful amplifier for tech vendors to extend their marketing reach.

At Cisco’s Marketing Velocity event this spring, many Cisco channel partners evidenced a marketing aptitude for digital customer engagement that rivals that of many tech vendors.

The application and value realisation of through-channel marketing are gaining steam.

Forrester defines through-channel marketing as: the practice of engaging channel partners to extend and amplify a firm’s marketing campaigns and activities.

We estimate that less than 5 per cent of B2B manufacturers/vendors have active through-channel marketing programs.

As with any steam-gathering trend, there is no shortage of supporting technology solutions.

We are tracking 26 through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) software vendors.

TCMA solutions enable a tech vendor to design and govern marketing assets and campaigns, to which channel partners subscribe and execute.

One of the ironies of the TCMA space is that, as a group, the TCMA vendors’ solutions are superior to the enterprise marketing automation vendors’ solutions in terms of functionality, user experience, and integratability.

Indeed, many customers who utilise both enterprise marketing automation (for corporate marketing) and TCMA solutions have reported that their footprint utilisation of TCMA is expanding and that of their enterprise marketing automation shrinking.

And, as with any steam-gathering trend, through-channel marketing program implementation is not without its perils.

Tech vendor channel pros should think about channel programs in three supporting dimensions: (1) technology (2) resources, and (3) incentivisation (the TRIfecta of channel program success).

Different channel partners will need or take advantage of each of these to different degrees.

For example, “power marketers” will leverage the full extent of the capabilities and marketing vehicles provided by their B2B manufacturer/vendor to them, and will need little incentivisation to do so.

On the other hand, “neophytes” - lacking in understanding of the value of marketing and in resources - will need agency-like support and MDF/co-op funds to kickstart their participation.

Still, we anticipate the implementation of through-channel marketing programs and capabilities to continue to mushroom, fuelling double-digit annual growth of TCMA technology through the next two years.

And for tech vendors’ view and enablement program support of their channel partners to encompass and embrace partners’ marketing, sales, delivery, and support value.

By Tim Harmon - Research Analyst, Forrester Research


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Forrester Research

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Leading figures within the technology industry across New Zealand came together to celebrate 30 years of success for Lexel Systems, at a milestone birthday occasion at St Matthews in the City.​

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30
HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP New Zealand held an inaugural Evolve Education event at Aotea Centre in Auckland, welcoming over 70 principals, teachers and education experts to explore ways of shaping and enhancing learning using technology.

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch
Show Comments