The 3 C’s of Channel Communication
Convey MicroCast Series
Hi, this is Carolyn Bradfield and you’re listening to Convey’s MicroCast audio series.
Many companies focus on customer communication but communicating with channel partners is every bit as important because they are your customers. Communication is a second only to financial incentives as the most important tool to motivate and manage partners. Channel partner communications should be strategic, cost-effective and focus on motivation, education, and engagement.
Communication in the channel should include a 3-pronged strategy: communicate to your channel, communicate through your channel and communicate for your channel. Let’s take a look at how to execute each strategy.
Start with communicate to your channel.
Communicating to your channel is all about providing information, training and motivation that is directed at sales partners. Information and training explain what you want the channel partner to do promote your services, upsell customers, understand the features and benefits of your products and services, and knowhow to best position them against each other and against competitors’ products.
Motivational communications explain the rewards that a channel partner receives if they do what you want. That type of communication focuses on promotional activities such as incentive programs, special pricing and deals, or commission accelerators.
Communicate continuously to your channel by direct messaging, and email marketing through channel outlets such as iAgent or Channel Vision, or on Convey’s master agent portals.
Now let's look at communicating through your channel.
Communicating through your channel means providing channel partners with customer-facing materials to get your message directly to the customer. Providing your partners with those tools gives you certain advantages.
- They allow you to maintain a consistent positioning of your products in the market and against competitors’ products
- You now have a message that reinforces your brand
- You are helping channel partners sell your products and services because you did the hard work for them by creating the tools.
If you communicate through your channel, the materials you provide should be simple, easy to access, and easy to deliver to the customer. You should allow for co-branding so that the partner can add their company and contact information. Here are some common tools that partners need from you to accelerate their sales:
- Product PDFs, data sheets, and 1-page overviews that can be emailed or printed
- Promotional kits that give partners the tools to feature you on their website, in social media posts, and other literature they use. These kits typically have digital versions of your logo, product photographs or illustrations, sample copy, and other graphics about your offerings.
- Marketing campaigns developed for the partner so they can email prospects or customers and generate inbound demand.
Add marketing development funds (MDF) to help sales partners advertise, use digital marketing, and launch other promotional activities for your products. Make sure to attach strings to the MDF funds that come with provable activity and messaging that you control.
Now let’s look at the last one, communicate for your channel
The most valuable commodity a channel partner can get from you other than training and marketing help is a hot sales lead. Use your company’s marketing resources and automation to generate inbound demand, then deliver leads to partners. Leads elevate your value to partners and reward those individuals that are able to convert prospects into customers. Make sure that there is a process in place to deliver the leads, ensure that the partner intends to act on them, and gives you the insight into how those leads are working through the sales funnel.
Remember that all partners are not created equally so communication intensity and frequency should be directed to partners that have the right customer base, refer repeatedly and can translate prospects into valuable deals. Then, execute the 3 “C’s of channel communication. Communicate to your channel to inform and train them. Communicate through your channel so you can get your message from channel partner to customer. Communicate for your channel to do the marketing work for them, deliver sales leads and monitor their progress.
Convey’s channel program and technology supports the 3 C’s of channel communication. Use Convey’s Channel network to train and communicate to partners through an online vendor catalog. Create email marketing campaigns in Conduct, add them to master agent portals who will deliver them directly to the partner to run. Use Convey’s prospect transfer technology to add leads, send them to partners and monitor their progress.
This is Carolyn Bradfield and you’ve been listening to our “MicroCast” from the Convey Channel Partner Program.