Suppliers who go to market through the channel often struggle to understand why their partners’ marketing efforts don’t hit the mark. So how can you improve the effectiveness of your partner marketing enablement, along with developing marketing certification programs to improve the performance of partner-led demand creation?
Consider this. Many channel organizations are increasingly shifting demand creation responsibilities to their channel partners making marketing enablement more important than ever before. Yet partners lack the sales and marketing skills to effectively sell the supplier’s products, services or solutions. Consequently, suppliers must increase the marketing skills of their partners to ensure proper execution.
As suppliers invest more in building partner-led marketing programs, key limitations often prevent these programs from being successful. A recent study by SiriusDecisions revealed that the average utilization of these channel marketing automation platforms was under 17 percent. Moreover, suppliers who strive to expand sales breadth by adding more partners, are also investing in these one-to-many self-service channel marketing automation tools that address partner marketing needs.
Merely launching these tools isn’t enough though, as suppliers must be prescriptive on how, when and where partners should use them and the assets they contain. Marketing enablement is moving beyond product and sales training into marketing certification, to enable partners to effectively execute the demand programs developed for them on the different channel marketing automation tools.
A marketing certification program provides partners with skills that enable them to understand the buyer's journey for a specific product, service or bundled solution - as well as the demand type. Certified partners also must know where to access program assets and how to use specific assets to create demand.
Marketing leads and your marketing certification program
While many of your partners don’t have marketing leads, this new persona should be the primary participant in a marketing certification and incentive program. The training targets the marketing lead persona within the partner organization, plus at least one other person who should be certified for participation in demand creation plays. Schedule the training to occur during a new product launch, partner onboarding or major campaign rollouts. Leverage marketing certification as a tool for raising partner commitment levels such as using marketing certification as a prerequisite for MDF funds.
Marketing certification addresses partners’ skills gaps with a structured development path and incentive (e.g. certificate or badge for completing training and a relevant incentive). For example, partners could become certified in relative targeting techniques for identifying high-probability buyers within their target markets. Another potential certification could cover the design and execution of multi-touch buyer-focused campaigns and programs.
Learn more about how to improve partner-led demand creation with marketing certification programs.
About the Author
Chief Strategy Officer Claudio brings over 20 years of global channel marketing experience to Perks. He is a loyalty marketing expert with broad knowledge in strategy development, market management and channel sales planning, who has developed and executed major go-to-market programs for a variety of vendors, including AMD, Bing, Cisco, Dell, EMC, IBM, Kaspersky, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Seagate, Symantec, and VMware among others.Claudio is a management strategist with cross-functional expertise in business, finance, sales and marketing, strategic planning, and customer relationship management; an area he has excelled at by executing complex CRM implementations, customizations, and business process re-engineering for CRM applications. He keeps current with changes in technology and is passionate about the business implications of new technology. Claudio is an avid social media user and early adopter of social CRM.More Content by Claudio Ayub