- On March 18, 2020
With the channel being such a vital route to market in the tech sector, it’s worrying that traditional channel marketing has not been keeping up with developments over the years.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed. With digital transformation changing how companies purchase business services and solutions, vendors are pushing hard to readapt and realign their channel programs with this new seller model. Whilst some B2B leaders are managing to break the mould, the majority of current channel programs are simply not seeing the returns they used to.
The Constantly Evolving Tech Sector
The lack of change within channel marketing programs is wildly contrasting the rate of change within the tech sector. Channel marketing resources are still being used in traditional ways – vendors provide partners with money, partners provide vendors with services, and the results are often undocumented and ambiguous.
In order to adapt to changing buyer models in B2B marketplaces, vendors need to align themselves with partners who go above and beyond simply selling products. What was once a bonus is now a necessity; partners must add value to base products through enhanced services and class-leading customer support.
Your Route to Channel Transformation
Research has shown that successful channel transformation programs yield 8% more shareholder returns, and up to five times more revenue growth than those who do not realign their channel marketing resources towards the new seller model.
In order to plan your channel transformation, take note of these digital practices that significantly impact performance. These are areas where current digital leaders excel, and where the majority of traditional channel programs often fall short:
1. Invest in the Influence Chain
Instead of focusing on revenue-preservation, cutting-edge tech vendors are forming new alliances in the shadow channel. Non-traditional partners, such as SaaS consultants, ISV’s and cloud-born companies have changed vendor ideologies, and opened up new lines of business.
It is worth bonding with these shadow channel resellers who are able to connect with – and help influence – the right buyers.
2. Cut Ties when Necessary
As previously mentioned, the tech sector is a dynamic, constantly evolving environment, and those who don’t keep up with the tides will likely get washed away.
Sal Patalano, Chief Revenue Officer for Lenovo, rightly stated that the days of partner hand-holding are over.
As a vendor, you’ll have to strongly evaluate partner performance. This includes whether or not they have the right B2B connections, and how much value they add to your products and services.
When undergoing channel transformation, vendors must consider the influence of different types of partners when evaluating channel alliances.
3. Ensure you offer a Consistent Experience (both online and offline)
The average B2B buyer now uses six different channels whilst completing their decision-making journey. That’s six opportunities for your channel program to take advantage of strong (and memorable) cross-channel integration.
Traditional B2B companies can struggle with overly disjointed seller models, making it difficult for customers to link your multiple marketing streams to a cohesive buyer experience.
B2B leaders are creating unified marketing funnel experiences through the use of ABM platforms, allowing partners to collaborate and visualize the entire marketing funnel as a single buyer experience.
4. Create a Data-driven Culture based on Innovation
Leading B2B companies are agile. They are able to deploy cutting-edge development practices in a relatively short timeframe, actively collaborating with and including external partners throughout the process.
In contrast, over one third of traditional B2B companies have taken more than a year to implement digital channel transformation, from concept to implementation. By the time a year has passed, their original concept may already be outdated.
This is why sector leaders have a rapid prototyping process with programs built around extensive data. This model has been shown to wildly accelerate innovation and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.
Fast paced test-and-learn development processes not only ingrain an innovative company culture – they also persuade buying companies that you have the ability to deliver on high-profile customer schemes and initiatives.
For more help on how to execute your channel transformation, including a free channel evaluation, get in touch with the Gorilla experts by clicking here.