New research into how resellers, VARs and systems integrators choose the technology vendors to partner with has been released by CCgroup, the London-based B2B technology PR agency. The findings will help UK technology vendors create marketing plans to “build a channel”.
The study, ‘Marketing to Attract Channel Partners’, revealed that the channel places little or no stock in social media or national press when looking for new technology opportunities. Instead, channel players rely on personal networks, peer or distributor recommendations, industry media and online search. The channel also typically prefers to trust vendors who display their industry credibility – technology performance, company stability and customer demand – rather than those who major on commercials (deal registration processes and commission structure) or partner support (marketing toolkits, sales training etc.).
In terms of content, the channel values case studies of successful deployments and positive recognition in analyst reports. Thought leadership in the form of industry insights in the media and compelling vendor white papers are also very well-received, as are news announcements that demonstrate the vendor’s momentum. This more ‘traditional’ content outstrips the value of ‘rich media’ (e.g. video content) and social media.
“The channel is a critical component of the majority of tech vendor sales strategies. Securing new channel partners is just as competitive as winning direct customers, if not more so. Unfortunately far too many vendors wrongly assume that the same tactics that apply for generating direct sales leads apply to attracting partners,” said Will Gardiner, Head of Business Technology at CCgroup. “The needs of an enterprise IT decision-maker looking for a new supplier are hugely different to those of a VAR or systems integrator trying to strengthen their portfolio. Vendor marketing programmes have to reflect this.”
“The channel tends to first look to current contacts when researching new vendors,” continued Gardiner. “This natural tendency simply emphasises the importance of building a strong, recognisable profile in order to reach not only channel decision makers, but also those that influence them. This profile hinges on evidence and thought leadership – primarily case studies, analyst reports and industry media coverage – and the use of messages that showcase credibility and market demand.”