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Want to know what we think?

Sailing the channel blind.

Calling all channel marketers… I have a challenge for you:  are you ready?

Name your top 100 partners… go!

 

Ok, ok.

 

Name your top 50 partners…go!

 

NO?

 

Ok, name your top 10 partners…go!

 

Still struggling?

 

There’s something in this. Recently I have noticed a disproportionate relationship between the increasing emphasis being ‘reported’ about the importance of data. And yet more and more people I speak to seem to have serious challenges when it comes to actually accessing, storing, referencing and analysing (what should be) their ‘bread and butter’ data. And even more worrying is in many cases, their partner data.

 

In the channel we rely inherently on the activity and productivity of our partners. So we really should be keeping track of these partners and their activity. There is a data mis-match between sales and marketing and it has to get better, it has to.

 

In sales the next sale is always important, bigger than the last. The ‘end of the month’ roles around and getting in the last minute figures is vital. No time for keeping the records in a CRM system up to date. Why would you when you have them auto-appear in your default email client and your ‘contacts’ are stored locally on your pc and synched to mobile.

 

In marketing it must be right as it’s “in the system” right? HQ has just spent loads of money on a spangley new centralised CRM and done a transfer from the old one, so it must be there, all present and correct.

 

Data is crazy important. And what’s even more important than data… the most updated, recent and relevant data! So sales and marketing (and IT, operations etc) need to get together on this. Do not leave it to someone else as they will be leaving it to you. You need your data working. You need it live and you need it clean.

 

Here’s a very simple explanation why:

 

When you get into your car to drive somewhere, do you blindfold yourself and hope for the best?

 

With your data, you need visibility. So ultimately you know who you are talking to and how to tailor your message and/or your most recent proposition. You need to know how and to what levels your partners are transacting? Where are trends? What analysis can you do? Are contacts moving? Have key personnel changed? Are you speaking to the same people the sales guys are? If not, why not?

 

With stagnant, un-analysed, outdated data, you will never make the most of your marketing. Very rarely does throwing the same mud at the same wall show real ROI (if any at all). And demonstrable ROI is vital for effective partner communication.

 

So take the blindfold off. Clean the wall. Sail the channel with clear vision.

 

Make the most of your data and you will start to make more of your channel marketing.