How Through-Partner Marketing Automation Works

By Gina Roos  |  Print this article Print
driving sales and leads

Through-partner marketing automation is aimed at helping partners easily access and use vendor marketing collateral and tools to drive lead generation and sales.

Tervo shared a list of factors that he believes have helped ensure partner success. These include the following:

1. Content and banners that are frequently updating the digital consumer experience. If the vendor never refreshes content, it doesn't work.

2. The need to work effortlessly on mobile and tablets.

3. The placement of content on a partner's Website and incentives to install a better "shelf space." Home page content performs better than content five layers deep.

4. Services to activate and promote content with partners that take advantage of programs.  By measuring the adoption of services, more effort can be spent on partners who are actively driving the success of your brand.

5. Make the program a key measurement that is tied to partner account manager targets and market development funds (MDF). (This needs to be integrated, not just a satellite of core programs.)

6. Once the partner registers, do not require they come back to the portal to be successful (they will not do this anyway), so campaigns should be automated.  Don't require assembly (of any sort).

7. Keep people engaged at the partner site and drive all social and email back to the partner (many providers push them off to landing pages).

No solution is going to dramatically make a partner's life easier overnight, Smith said. Partners want to tie the marketing initiatives with their lead-generation initiatives, and in some shape or form, that tool will have to integrate with the company's CRM or lead-generation system, which takes time to set up, manage and police, he added.

"This is really only an issue when it comes to large channel partners who actually use Salesforce automation or CRM," said Tervo. Most of the partners that TIE Kinetix has worked with typically "do a one-time subscription and then the system uses their social handles and Website to generate leads without needing to lift a finger."

If partners are using some kind of marketing automation platform, there are many ways to connect lead and campaign information directly back to their CRM or lead system, said Tervo. "There is a small setup to authenticate and allow a system like ours to talk to theirs, which is unavoidable. After the setup, lead information flows directly to the partner's system. No maintenance is necessary unless the partner migrates to a different CRM platform."

While vendors may use an integrated approach and make it easy to adopt, how much time invested in it is a matter of interpretation, particularly if they are small partners and don't have someone who is responsible for their digital marketing strategy, Smith said.

Tervo agreed. "If it involves more than 5 or 10 minutes to capture that reseller's attention, and if it's not simple and easy to adopt, then you just have a beautiful piece of marketing automation software that nobody ever uses because the resellers have to be engaged with it to be successful."

Part of the issue is that resellers represent many different vendors. They have multiple partner portal log-ins, email automation tools and social programs, and not enough staff to manage all of it. If it's too difficult or time-consuming for partners to find what they need from the vendor, they will gravitate to vendors that provide all the resources and tools they need when they need it to win business, said Tervo.

Gina Roos, a Channel Insider contributor, focuses on technology and the channel.