We work with organizations of all sizes here at TPM. And we spend a lot of time talking about marketing and leads and organic traffic and how B2B agencies can attract and retain customers. But what about larger agencies who work exclusively with channel partners and resellers? Blog posts and email campaigns are all well and good, but as the stakes get higher, corporations need to think outside the box to maintain existing partnerships — and develop new ones.
How Can Agencies Maintain Channel Partner Loyalty?
Organizations that provide value to their channel partners — and I’m not just talking about commissions earned — are far more likely to see their partnerships flourish. What does that value look like? Channel partner incentive programs can take the form of unique strategies, tools, support for optimization, or education opportunities. In short, successful organizations need to give channel partners a competitive edge. Agencies that understand how to do that will not only maintain partner loyalty, but they’ll also reap the rewards of their channel partners’ success.
Innovation: HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Strategy
HubSpot is one of the world’s leading marketing platforms, but it didn’t achieve its position by luck. The company describes its offering as “inbound marketing, sales, and service software that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.” Do you know how many other organizations offer similar platforms? The internet is rife with lists of the top ten — or even the top 25 — content marketing platforms around. Competition in the industry is fierce.
So what did HubSpot do to differentiate themselves? How did they add value for their clients in a way that their competitors didn’t?
It’s All About Strategy
The experts at HubSpot understand that the world of content marketing is continually evolving to keep up with new technology and changing audience expectations. To help ensure the success of its users, HubSpot developed a channel partner insights program that consists of ongoing investment in the development of new tools and strategies for content marketing.
When the team at TPM first started exploring content marketing, it was HubSpot that directed us to the “inbound” methodology that eventually became the gold standard for many agencies. (Incidentally, HubSpot is also responsible for Pillar Content Strategy — a methodology we’ve used to achieve even further success!)
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is based on the idea of attracting leads, rather than trying to pursue them. Rather than having them fight for audience attention, we direct our clients to publish valuable content — like blog posts and case studies — that help them build a relationship with potential customers at the top of the sales funnel.
What is Pillar Content Strategy?
HubSpot’s latest tactic, Pillar Content Strategy, relies on creating a single piece of content that will attract a lot of online traffic and then developing and cross-linking more content related to the initial “pillar” piece. TPM recently helped one of our clients achieve great success using this strategy.
HubSpot’s expertise and guidance gave our team the leg up we needed to get where we are today. It helped us provide a service to our clients that other agencies just didn’t have.
Optimization: Magento’s Mobile Optimization Initiative
Magento, like HubSpot, faces some serious competition in its field. The eCommerce world is expanding exponentially. American online retail revenue is expected to exceed $735 billion by 2023 — and every single vendor in that market needs a platform on which to conduct their business.
Magento needs to hold on to their share of the eCommerce merchant market, but that’s not all. This particular industry contains another complicating factor — the success and profitability of an eCommerce platform is directly tied to that of its vendors. Not only does Magento need to attract (and retain) vendors, but it needs to ensure those vendors are making money. And they came up with a truly innovative channel partner incentive program to do just that.
A Proactive Approach
Magento’s business model means it has a lot of data on the eCommerce market. Digging into that data, their experts uncovered the “mobile gap” — sales on mobile devices lag significantly compared to traffic. So Magento teamed up with Paypal and HiConversion to help vendors close that gap with their Mobile Optimization Initiative.
What is the MOI?
Paypal solutions engineer Jon Higby came up with the idea to unite payment platform System Integrators and merchants in an effort to increase mobile eCommerce sales — and the Mobile Optimization Initiative was born. The initiative offers merchants the chance to participate in (and learn from) ongoing experiments aimed at uncovering what affects mobile conversions.
Why Does It Matter?
The MOI offers big benefits to Magento merchants, obviously — but it’s also helping Magento channel partners. Agencies that build and maintain Magento sites can offer the MOI as a differentiator — they can include “optimization” in the list of services they offer. That’s a big point in their favour when trying to attract and retain merchants who have many other platform to choose from.
Helping online retailers experiment and share results about what factors increase mobile revenue means Magento is providing its users with a unique tool — one that vendors on other platforms don’t have. And the optimization practices not only add value for vendors, but the results also help Magento grow and succeed too.
Education: Intelisys Cloud Services University
Intelisys was here well before anyone imagined that the majority of businesses would rely on an unseen “Cloud” to store data and run operations. Founded in the mid-1990s, their focus was on corporate telecommunications, and they quickly built a reputation for excellence in voice and data services.
But Intelisys recognized that evolving technology could disrupt the business model of many of their channel partners — so they took action. They didn’t just change their own offering; they facilitated the transition of their sales partners as well.
Helping Make the Move
Recognizing how the rise of Cloud computing was about to impact the majority of their partners still rooted in the world of telecom, Intelisys decided the best way to ensure the continued success — and loyalty — of its channel partners was to support their transition to the Cloud. They partnered with Total Product Marketing to build an educational resource for their telecom partners: Cloud Services University.
The site not only provided resources for Intelisys partners to help them transition to the Cloud but also offered certifications in various telecom and Cloud technologies to help their channel partners demonstrate their competence and expertise to current and potential clients. The offering was unlike anything other telecom providers offered, and has helped Intelisys not only retain its telecom partners during their transition to Cloud but also attract new partners eager to prove themselves with technological certifications.
Do You Need a Channel Partner Investment Program?
Is your organization in search of new ways to strengthen relationships with channel partners? Talk to the experts at Total Product Marketing. We’ve worked with agencies of all sizes on channel partner incentive programs, and we can help you. Get in touch with us today.