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A revolution is taking place in the way solution providers go to market with large technology vendors. Innovative vendors are rethinking the allocation of marketing resources and how they utilize marketing infrastructure to effectively scale their channel relationships, particularly for the small and midsize markets.

The goal is proactive, cooperative engagement helping solution providers to drive compelling marketing campaigns. In this new model, technology vendors like Cisco Systems have seen significant increases in the number of qualified leads driven to VARs and solution providers, reduced marketing costs, and increased share of “wallet.”

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  • The Rise of Solutions

    Once upon a time, we lived in a product-driven world. Today, customers want solutions to business problems.

    Best-in-class solution providers start with a deep understanding of their specific target markets. They identify the customer’s business issues and develop solutions that incorporate the vendor as a component part of a larger customer-driven solution.

  • A New Paradigm: Channel Value Engineering

    Value engineering is a new model for assembling solutions and articulating customer value, in which vendors format their channel programs to allow solution providers to pick the solution’s technology components based on how well the vendor’s solution resonates with the SP’s solutions and business models.

    In this environment, instead of “pushing” programs from the top down through their solution providers, vendors need to dovetail with the solution provider’s go-to-market approach and build programs from the ground up—cooperatively.

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    Vendors benefit from this approach because it takes the focus off “laundry lists” of features and the prices of individual components. It allows the solution provider to leverage the vendor’s core competency, value proposition and messaging, in the context of an overall solution delivery mode to the end user.

    The approach replaces “scattershot” marketing programs and increases return on vendor marketing investments, helping solution providers to be more effective at marketing and increase revenues.

  • Translating It into Action

    Understanding the channel value engineering strategy is an important first step. But it’s just an exciting idea until you get some concrete value from it by putting it into action. The first step is ensuring that vendors base their programs and associated marketing campaigns on co-marketing principles.

    The focus will be on systematizing marketing campaigns and partner support, facilitating interactions and ensuring consistency and repeatability across programs, contributors and organizations.

    In this new world, customers win because implementations deliver value faster. Solution providers win because they are positioned in the minds of customers to close profitable business. And vendors win because marketing and “enablement” campaigns built around these models pave the way to higher channel uptake for vendor programs.

    Allan Adler and Dylan Charles are Partners at Crimson Consulting Group, a marketing strategy and implementation consulting firm serving technology vendors and service providers.