Channel marketing automation technology (also known as CMM - channel marketing and management technology) is supposed to help vendors provide partners with marketing enablement, resources, programs, and tools for driving awareness, generating demand, and building pipeline within partners’ target markets.
The value proposition is very strong; by automating channel marketing processes, activities, and support of marketing to, through, and for a vendor’s partners, CMM solutions allow vendors to increase the scale of partner-led marketing by reducing manual, one-to-one, and one-to-many efforts. Yet vendors who go to market through the channel often struggle to understand low partner adoption rate, and why those partners’ who use their CMM solution don’t hit the mark.
Many channel marketing organizations allude to vendor and partner bandwidth, resources, skill, knowledge, expertise, and time - as the biggest constraints to delivering on key objectives. And while CMM solutions enable partners to execute marketing campaigns that many would not be able to launch on their own, merely launching these CMM tools isn’t enough as vendors must be prescriptive on how, when, and where partners should use them and the assets they contain.
A recent study by SiriusDecisions revealed that the average utilization of these channel marketing and management platforms (CMM) was under 17 percent.
CMM platforms that are intuitive, easy to use, and effective promote higher adoption rates and repeat usage by partners. However, marketing certification programs have become an essential component to improving the performance of partner-led demand creation.
Marketing certification addresses partners’ skills gaps with a structured development path and incentive (e.g., a 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.
As access to real-time data has become essential for channel sales and marketing, CMM solutions now seamlessly integrate with channel incentive management technology (CIM), delivering a holistic view into channel partners’ performance, through real-time integration with marketing planning, market development funds (MDF), Co-Op, and marketplace technology.
CIM supports the accurate and efficient administration and management of the channel incentive programs that suppliers rely on to drive revenue growth, such as MDF, Co-Op funds, sales performance incentive programs, rebates, and points-based reward programs. Channel marketers can now gain insight using a CIM solution’s reporting and analytics tools to assess partners’ participation in marketing programs and their effectiveness.
CIM technology provides a holistic view of behavioral and tactic consumption,
adoption rates, and business performance.
Today, channel incentive management technology delivers a fully integrated solution comprising multiple incentive modules - planner, MDF/Co-Op, and marketplace, seamlessly bound to address a partner’s needs in a way that individual components cannot deliver on their own.
These CIM platforms empower partners to drive demand through automated pre-packaged programs and/or concierge services, as well as through MDF/Co-Op funds. Moreover, CIM solutions simplify the process of partner-led marketing performance tracking as pre-approved marketing content is joined with allocated funds.
Channel incentive management solutions are a game-changer for vendors and are driving an unparalleled level of innovation across our entire industry. No other solution type is delivering this kind of platform, ecosystem, and user experience to enable companies to transform themselves and engage with their partners in entirely new ways.
Channel incentive management solutions will end the channel marketing automation saga.
A modern CIM solution is a core component in the technology stack for today’s channel marketers, providing better accountability and user experience, and delivering a partner experience that is actionable, interactive, and gamified - through dashboards, progress bars, social media, and analytics - always letting partners know where they stand on their journey.
As suppliers look to simplify and streamline the ways their partners drive success, investing in a CIM solution is becoming a necessity, as nearly 50 percent of channel organizations report that they are planning to make a greater or significantly greater investment in this technology category.
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