Can Vendors Afford Not to Build Relationships With Their Lower Tier Partners?
In today’s budget restricted world Channel Execs are faced with a tough problem to solve - ‘How do I cost effectively engage with all of my partners, not just the top and middle tiers?’
The received wisdom is often to focus the most effort on the top tier of partners [fair enough], at least do something with the middle tier [like partner packages, partner marketing as a service], and accept that you can’t afford to tackle the lower tier with anything more than e-mail broadcasts of the vendor’s latest promotions plus access to some online tools.
It’s a safe strategy in the short term, and if done well it most likely will deliver a return, but will it grow your market share significantly? Will it achieve the big picture goals? Will it make you number one in your market? Or give you the revenue spread that you desire?
Here are a couple of quick ‘industry knowns’ that we’ve picked up on that suggest that a ‘standard’ channel strategy might not deliver anything other than disappointing results, if you have ambitions to grow your wider base:
• 80% of vendor’s online portals are significantly underutilised. Self-service without a helping hand doesn't work.
• On average it’s likely that only 10% of e-mail promotions to your lower tier partners are read and less than 1% on average stimulates positive action. Most get lost in the wider noise.
• The number one focus of distributors is growing their business not just yours, and rightly so. You can’t expect them to build relationships with your partners for you.
• Out of over 10,000 lower-tier partners we interviewed this year the number one reason for them to not work more with vendors was the lack of direct communication. The second was lack of specific demand for vendors’ products.
• Vendors that we know did ‘find the time’ to engage directly with their lower tier partners grew those partners between 20% and 70% on average. With this knowledge, we can assume that vendors that didn’t find that time to engage directly with those partners probably didn’t grow those relationships.
So if some vendors are effectively growing their wider base whose market share are they taking? You guessed it, those that are leaving the problem for another day.
With that in mind isn’t the real question ‘can you afford not to invest time and money into engaging and motivating all partners?’
Email email@example.com to request a free channel evaluation or find out more during our next blog, when some of our outsourced channel managers will be sharing their view and talking about how we see a better way.