- On December 1, 2021
VAR Channel Marketing and Sales Challenges
VARs and MSPs are quickly becoming a default for emerging tech service partners and given their rise in popularity coupled with relatively novel business models its not surprising they have some big issues surrounding their sales aspirations and how to achieve them. Having spoken to lots of these fresh faced businesses we’ve curated a short list of 8 of the main problems facing VAR channel marketing and sales in the current channel climate.
- Generating new customers.
- Improving their current web presence and strategy. Web sites are weak with no SEM and little SEO, sporadic blog content and social media
- Figuring out how to convert their current clients into managed service contracts that are profitable and sustainable.
- Deciding what managed services, tools, process and financial structures they should use. Many VARs and MSPs are still fine-tuning their mix and losing out the the competition.
- Problems in recruiting and retaining the right staff. Overwhelmed teams lack the time to train or be truly effective.
- Implementing an effective CRM solution to help them engage better with their clients. Many businesses don’t utilise an appropriate tool and the ones who do have had little time to invest in getting it to work for them
- Managing vendor partnerships, deal registrations and relationships. Industry wide margins are incredibly low and it now requires smarter deal registration and much more input to create good returns.
- Streamlining recurrent operations such as procurement, quotes, service and accounting. Many VARs are struggling with recurring revenue billing (see our whitepaper for some ideas).
While these challenges certainly exist in the modern VAR channel marketing and sales environments, businesses can still overcome them and bring plenty of value to partner companies when set up for success. Companies that focus their energy on helping their VAR partners succeed will see improved marketing and sales results and better returns in their programs not just immediately but long into the future.
VAR Channel Marketing Solutions
So for this part of our VAR channel marketing and sales rundown we’re going to focus on some solutions to the marketing side of our channel puzzle. Here are a few specific ways vendors can help partner VARs improve their marketing:
1. Constant Communication
Frequently, indeed later in this very article, the focus of channel marketing evolution is firmly on content creation but we think you should never neglect the other 2 C’s, constant communication. You have the route to great contact with your potential customers but thats all for nothing if you can’t provide it to your valuable partners due to comms breakdown.
The real goal, and often biggest hurdle is making channel partner teams seamlessly integrate with your own so as to provide not only a unified story when marketing but also keep the partners you want to nurture to greatness interested. But how to ensure those partner reps have access to a point of contact which can provide an extremely time sensitive edit, execution or advice – how to provide instant access to content, and how to prevent the dilution of brand messages by ensuring any updates to content are adopted across the board.
A management tool or channel partner marketing concierge should be a consideration here, with dedicated portals and people that can be allocated to each channel partner; you alleviate the struggles for immediate access to content, real-time messaging updates and engender a sense of community, care, and consideration to help build long term relationships.
2. Personalise the marketing options
Creating great content and gaining access to marketing resources can overwhelm a channel partner with minimal marketing experience. While you the vendor have many resources and devoted systems to help you drive marketing efforts, nationally, often globally, those partners sphere of influence, while often their greatest asset is often much smaller and more niche. To really create the best opportunities from their market they need marketing strategy and material that speaks to their audience.
The true power of a partner marketing program for the partner can often be helping guide them to the marketing options that work for their level of experience, location, segment and budget. For you this could mean many things, from customizing an email campaign to launching an integrated campaign with physical and online advertising and webinars. By allowing the marketing you do to be as flexible as possible and well supported from your teams your partners are better able to utilise the resources they can to leverage the best results from their marketing activities and any investment you have made.
3. Use Every Channel
We’ve mentioned it briefly above but it deserves a bit more explanation and it’s own section. While part of what should drive your content creation should be what’s going to best for your partners, you will no doubt have access to some with more experience and availability. Making the best use of these golden partners is vital and a thorough Omni-channel strategy has become the norm for this kind of super partner.
By utilising every channel possible in an integrated and progressive manner; not only diversifying marketing, but also integrating sales from an early stage, and promoting a great end-user customer experience, partners not only produce better results, but also maintain and build better customer relationships leading to a greater proportion of returns and retention.
4. Teach great marketing
As we eluded to in section 1, content truly is the driver for the marketing machine, but only if it’s relevant and engaging. Creating a raft of content across multiple channels can be tricky but necessary as we talked about above but it can be done. Next comes the hard work, for those partners willing and able to perform as an omni-channel arm of your program next you need to align them around a singular methodology and style of message that produces great results and shows your offerings in the best light.
Every company needs to teach its channel partners how to leverage the right content at the right time in the buyer’s journey and use it to drive towards interest and a sale. Playbooks and training sessions can be powerful tools in your arsenal to prepare partner marketing teams for the style and systems they’ll run into. But you can also teach by example, modelling great content in your own marketing activities. Doing so exposes your channel partners to a powerful example of what good content looks like and how your brand should be represented.
5. Empowered Partner Relationship Management (Again!)
The biggest hurdle with almost every channel program is creating an overall link between all the things we have discussed in the last 2 articles from the series. It should be no surprise then that the last point, is exactly the same as in the last part. We firmly believe effective Partner Relationship Management is the key to a great well rounded program, for every team, on both sides!
Putting it simply, the easier you make it for channel partners to access and use your marketing resources, the more likely they are to put them to frequent use. Taking all the points so far into account: Having a central location where vendor and partner can collaborate and discuss projects, campaigns and everything marketing increases alignment; allowing in platform content personalisation allows for my dynamic partner messaging and better to customer experience; direct access to multiple channels and sales & service team integration means a more consistent and developed message across every spectrum; and finally a fully open and singular solution with access from both ends of the program allows partners to more quickly and frictionlessly learn how best to alter and deploy your assets directly from you, dramatically increasing participation and success rates.
Lastly, keeping up with your VARs and other partners via a PRM solution helps promote long lasting and beneficial relationships between your businesses, with better understanding, communication and dedication following in its wake.
Looking for your own PRM to help with your channel partner marketing? Try Ours.
Can We Help With You or Your VAR partner challenges? Let Us Know
You want to create the best marketing solution for each partner on your program, so they can just get on with promoting your products. However, providing meaningful VAR support across the spectrum for them can be a massive undertaking. Gorilla can help, providing a directed and informed boost for your best and brightest VAR and MSP partners to keep them ahead of the game, click here to learn more about our Partner Marketing services.