Making the Most of Channel Marketing

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

IDC Executive Advisory Group
Gerald Murray, Research Manager, CMO Advisory Service

A recent IDC study of large IT companies found that, on average, channel revenue was $3.7 billion. The average internal channel marketing staff of 53 managed nearly 22,000 partners, equating to $12 million of revenue per internal staff but only half a million dollar per partner.

Most shocking from the study — these organizations have an average of approximately 15,000 inactive partners. Active partners only constitute 31% of the channel mix, with the remaining 69% being inactive. Given the expense involved in recruiting channel partners and on-boarding their first sales, it is in the vendor’s best interest to identify the best partners across the entire partner population and enable them to step-up to higher levels of sales performance.

Channel Marketing Service and Automation Solutions

The traditional method of assigning business development managers to the top 5% of partners, and others to groups of the second 15% of partners, is not scalable. The business development manager assignment is a fixed cost that requires 35%+ growth rates – and it is hard to predict the winners. As shown in the figure below, in a recent IDC study channel managers rated the effectiveness of BDMs and customized channel marketing programs statistically identical in terms of their effectiveness at producing ROI. Providing access to customized channel marketing to all partners – including the bottom 80% – amortizes costs over a larger revenue base Customized channel marketing enables the winners to self-select and payback is driven by collective success.

Most Effective Resources

Source: IDC, The Importance of Customized Channel Marketing, 2011. n=22

Customized channel marketing programs can reduce the complexity of marketing through partners by streamlining channel marketing processes and increasing vendor ability to reach more partners simultaneously. Redundancy can be eliminated, as distribution of messages, campaigns, programs and promotions become part of a menu of interchangeable, additive activities.

Using social network best practices, feedback from partners can be used to determine which activities work best from a partner perspective, and which activities need to be developed. This feedback is equally valuable for vendors and partners to see which customizable channel marketing activities are most effective. For the majority of channel partners, customized channel marketing programs offer much needed help in building their marketing plan.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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