Partners often opt to go it alone in their marketing efforts, foregoing the benefit of vendor product expertise, marketing collateral and support. This seems like a waste from the vendor perspective, but consider the number of portals and tools you offer as a supplier – and then multiply that number by every supplier a partner sells.
The result is the partner has too many choices. And too many choices equals overwhelm, which therefore equals no choices. The overwhelm dynamic can also impede partner adoption of MDF and co-op funds. Over time, the vendor’s ability to reach prospects and end customers via the channel becomes increasingly diluted.
Automated marketing tools can reduce some of the headaches for partners (and vendors) by simplifying the process of accessing materials and reaching customers with branded messaging, but partners aren’t always completely comfortable with surrendering their leads to these systems.
“It can feel like dumping my customer into a black hole,” says Gary Ritkes, Managing Partner at SproutLoud. “I’m not sure how that lead gets treated once it’s in there, and I’m not sure what the vendor will be sending them or who else will be contacting them.” (SproutLoud offers tools that help technology vendors and VARs manage and deploy marketing materials for offline and digital marketing.)
Put together all the overwhelm, headaches and anxiety about surrendering leads and it can put a considerable damper on channel sales. But vendors can seize the opportunity to be the easy suppliers to work with. By streamlining and automating processes, centralizing tools into one portal, and offering online marketing tools that protect partner leads, vendors can get a leg up on all the other suppliers their partners are selling.