Co-selling and co-marketing. The most important aspect of any channel program is to drive sales to, through, and with partners. JS Group research shows MDF ROI has declined for the past two years, and vendors desperately want a solution. Enabling partners of all types to leverage vendor content, messaging, branding, and demand-generation initiatives in their local markets is critical to driving a winning customer experience. Companies can deliver advanced sales enablement, co-managed account-based marketing, through-channel marketing, and a host of other sales and marketing enablement without the requirement for that partner to participate in resale.
Metrics and KPIs. Vendors need to understand where partners are headed, so they must consider more future-focused KPIs. While traditional metrics such as the partner’s revenue achievement, profit contribution, and customer satisfaction will still be important, they will be delivered via attribution as the transaction may happen directly, through a third-party ecommerce platform, or a marketplace. Improving digital capabilities, operational workflows, and channel organization skills will be key to attribution success.
Mutual success in the new normal will not happen without vendor and channel commitment to change with the times. Today’s channel partners should push back on complicated, hard-to-use programs and focus on return on invested capital to make sure vendors are truly driving profitable growth. And today’s vendors should focus on making the complicated less so.
MICHELLE MCBAIN is vice president of global channel strategy at JS Group.