There’s no clear definition of channel support when it comes to partner marketing. But maybe that’s because channel support consists of multiple layers, each enabling partners in a different way. Partner marketing programs need to enable partners, but what type of support will make a program successful?

This post will define each layer of support and the impact it has on partner marketing. A better understanding of how these layers of support effect partner performance is the first step to building a better channel marketing program.

Helpdesk: a basic level of support that enables partners to troubleshoot issues they experience while using a self-service marketing portal. This layer of support is typically managed by the platform provider.

Helpdesk support is great for:

Awareness & Recruitment: informs partners of the channel marketing program, encouraging and assisting them in enrollment. Representatives contact partners directly to inform them of the benefits of participating as well as expectations for partners as they get started.

Increasing program awareness and directly recruiting partners will:

  • Accelerate partner participation rate
  • Increase platform adoption

MDF Management: helps partners maximize the effectiveness of funds received. This educates partners on the rules and regulations around MDF policy as well as assisting them in the submission of proof of performance(PoP). Representatives recommend activities that maximize ROI and ensure partners utilize funds before they expire.

Better management of MDF can result in:

  • Improved program MDF utilization rates
  • More effective partner marketing
  • Increased partner ROI

Strategy & Goal Setting: a more advanced level of support, and a great way to align partners to program objectives. Putting a plan in place that aligns to partner internal goals will significantly increase their level of commitment to the channel program.

Helping partners develop a strategy will:

  • Increase partner commitment
  • Align partners to channel sales initiatives
  • Provide greater insight into partner capabilities

3rd Party Marketing Services: extend partner capabilities to more effectively reach customers. Partners often lack the capabilities or resources to build an integrated marketing strategy in-house. Outsourcing gaps in marketing capabilities significantly improve a partner’s position in the market as well as their ability to generate demand.

Leveraging 3rd party marketing activities:

  • Increase partner MQL
  • Extend partner reach in the market
  • Improve partner ability to nurture leads

Execution & Campaign Management: the most advanced level of partner support. It is the easiest way to hold partners accountable to generating leads, engaging in channel initiatives, and increasing revenues. A dedicated representative ensures partners execute consistently and drive demand in areas of focus.

Managing campaign execution and consistent partner engagement result in:

  • Increased partner engagement
  • Consistent lead generation
  • Better visibility into channel pipeline

So What Kind of Support do Partners Need?

In reality, partners do not execute unless they are held accountable to do so.

The most successful channel marketing programs include support across each layer. A high-touch support model enables your team to have more influence over partners as well as insight into their marketing activity and its effect on overall channel performance.

What layers of support do you provide partners and how does it affect their performance? Where is there room for improvement in your channel marketing program?