What Do Channel Partners Really Want From Their Vendors_E2open Blog

In the last couple of months, there has been a lot of uncertainty in the market, and the way partners approach the market has drastically changed. Last month, during Baptie’s webinar, In Today’s Very Different Market, What Do Partners Really Want from Their Vendors?, Mike Moore, vice president of channel sales at E2open participated in a panel discussing different ways to support partners in today’s unpredictable environment. We appreciate everyone who attended and joined in on the conversation by submitting questions to the chat that we are addressing in this blog.

Check out the resources below for more information on how to help partners during this time.

If you would like to learn more about how to help partners during this time, check out these resources:

Forrester Pulse: The State of Channel Partner Incentives 2020
On-Demand Webinar: What Do Partners Really Want from Their Vendors?

Now here is Mike Moore’s take on the questions that we didn’t get to during the live event:

1.   The problem is not marketing enablement or automation—it’s content. Content is king and channel partners don’t have any or enough for their marketing engine, so what are best practices for helping partners create great content?

We recommend using agencies that are already connected to your brand and can take on project work for partners, or channel-specific agencies that understand channel partners like Lauchlan, Achieve Unite and Channel Impact. They can help craft original content. One other option is Tempesta Media. They have a network of over 20,000 writers with subject-matter expertise in every area imaginable.

Package up content into turnkey programs like a four-pack of blog articles to make it easy for partners to engage and for agencies to deliver.

2.   How does Robinson Patman play into a vendor’s ability to support some partners over others? Does the “if it is reasonable” test allow for more flexibility?

Typically, you need some objective criteria to engage with some of your partners, but not all of them. What prerequisites make sense for the program you want to run? Past sales results? Or marketing program participation? This is not legal advice. Always consult your legal team.

3.   I’ve experienced challenges where a customer isn’t clear on what their KPIs are. Is this something we as the vendor could propose and if so, what are the typical KPIs defined?

Think about the KPIs you have used with other customers and recommend a model that is based on those best practices. It is easier to react to something and iterate versus starting with a clean slate.

Typical sales and marketing KPIs around lead generation, opportunity generation and sales results are always important. In partner programs, we recommend having KPIs around partner engagement activities that lead to marketing and sales measures.

4.   Do any end-user focused marketplaces (i.e. Amazon, etc.) have a system to include the Channel?

Most marketplaces are product-oriented, not service-oriented. Many brands are reinvigorating the use and development of partner locators to try and make it easier to connect the services of the channel with end-customers.

5.   What are the main changes you foresee with channel partners after the end of the COVID-19 crisis? Is there anything that won’t go back to normal?

Partners should embrace digital marketing and selling for the long-term. Falling back into an event-only marketing plan would be a mistake since it doesn’t align with how modern buyers discover and select products and services. Partners should also continue to focus on recurring revenue, both subscriptions and services, that help insulate their business from the typical ups and downs of the economy.

6.   We are telling channel partners to avoid hard selling and to be helpful instead. Do you know of any companies that provide training aids to better assist them?

Most of the sales enablement tools or partner portals out there can helpful. It is all about how you use them. Partners need a lot of coaching and for you and your team to model the behavior you expect of them. For non-channel tools, I really like Vidyard and Wistia for quick and easy videos. I also like Anchor.fm for podcast hosting and distribution.

7.   We are trying to run a virtual event for multiple partners. Any key tips or pitfalls to avoid?

If the webinar is targeting the end customer for which multiple partners drive demand: Keep the content neutral so it can suit all the partners and whatever unique value prop they represent. If the webinar is targeting your partners, like a partner advisory board, set some ground rules around sharing so that everyone feels like they can be open without being fearful of giving away trade secrets.

8.   Can you be more specific on the financial help being offered to channel partners?

Extended payment terms and more flexibility on discounting are the most common ones I’ve seen.

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