There is no denying the significance of the role channel marketing partners play in today’s IT sector. As Cloud services adoption continues to experience exponential growth, master sellers are searching for new ways to expand their reach and end users are struggling to make sense of rapidly evolving technology and services. The Cloud boom demands sellers must be prepared to offer a more consultative approach to clients while adding value to industry offerings.
Sounds great if you’re a managed service provider or value-added reseller, right? This is your time to shine – extending the reach of Cloud hosting providers and enhancing end users’ overall experience. It’s all hands on deck for your technical team – but what about a channel development marketing strategy?
Many companies today report driving more than half of their sales through indirect channels, and that number is continuing to climb. A report from Accenture cites examples of big industry players like Sun Microsystems, Dell and Telstra Incorporated who have implemented channel marketing development strategies with stunning results for their sales numbers and overall profitability. In a climate like this, you may ask why you should even bother with marketing – surely master sellers and enterprise customers alike will soon be beating a path to your door?
Well, your door, or the door of any of the vast number of other channel partners that have rushed onto the field to meet demand. Competition is heating up even more quickly than demand for your services – and that’s where the importance of a solid marketing strategy comes in.
Marketing strategy doesn’t have to mean slick ad campaigns or glossy promos – in fact, it shouldn’t. Focus your efforts not on selling yourself to potential partners or clients, but providing them with the information that shows you’re the right choice. Don’t tell them you’re the best – show them you’re different, and that you understand and can address their pains.
Demonstrate Your Value to Master Sellers
The question Cloud providers are asking is no longer, “Do we need channel partners?” but rather, “How do we find the best partners to ensure our channel development marketing strategy succeeds?” For managed service providers and value-added resellers, this shift in paradigm can mean an abundance of opportunity – if you are correctly positioned to provide those partners with the numerous benefits that can be realized through channel partnering.
Rapid industry growth has altered the way Cloud services are delivered, and as a result, the fee structure associated with those services as well. Gone are the days of a big upfront installation fee – as hardware is replaced with hosting, the subscription service has become the new standard.
What does that mean to you? Master sellers whose single installation fees have transformed to smaller monthly subscriptions now have a greater incentive to provide a more hands-on approach to customer service to maintain customer loyalty. Customers, however, frequently sign on for services without actually understanding exactly what they need or why, and demand follow-up service and support from their provider – the kind of relationship that master sellers aren’t necessarily set up for.
What do your industry partners need? Where are they failing to reach markets that could use their service but don’t make the leap to actually purchasing? Help master sellers identify untapped opportunities, and then demonstrate how a partnership with you could unlock those potential leads. Whether you can provide a unique insight into specific industry or geographic market, offer specialized value added services or sell their product to your existing customer base, you have what they’re looking for – a marketing strategy will make sure they know it.
Be the Answer To Their Questions
Rapidly evolving technology means customers often don’t understand the products or services they’re being offered – and they don’t want to. This is where channel development marketing comes in. As the emissary between corporate provider and business customer, you provide the industry expertise and understanding of clients’ pains necessary to keep the whole partnership running smoothly.
The question is, does your audience know you provide the solutions they need? When your potential or existing customers decide they are ready to transition to Cloud hosting, are they picking up the phone to speak to you, or Googling Cloud hosting providers to find out who can help them?
The hosting services provided by your partner organizations, combined with the specialized insights and services your own team can offer have the capacity to address the pains of your clients – in some cases, before they’ve even identified the pains themselves.
Make sure that you’re marketing to these issues and not selling a product. Most people don’t care about brands. If it works and solves a problem, that’s all that matters. Use content marketing, email campaigns or infographics to establish yourself as a problem solver. Whatever your clients’ IT needs may be, they need to understand you have the answers.
What’s Your Channel Development Marketing Strategy?
Cloud has brought MSPs and VARs out from the woodwork. While it might have worked in the past, relying on the name recognition of the master seller (or sellers) you have partnered with is no longer a recipe for success. To avoid getting swept away in the wave of channel partners vying to position themselves in front of both customers and sellers, you must cultivate a cohesive strategy to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
In the context of this changing market, a channel development marketing strategy is of paramount importance to differentiate yourself in the crowded market. At Total Product Marketing, we can guide and assist you in developing a strategy that will help you stand out in the crowd and establish yourself as a valuable asset to both hosting partners and clients alike. If you’re ready to focus on channel development marketing, get in touch with our team today. We’ll be with you every step of the way.