Top Pain Points Channel Partner Marketing Managers Face

Michael Simmons│10/28/2022│3 min read

It’s hard to imagine a more challenging marketing endeavor than channel partner marketing. It’s part marketing, part sales, and it feels a lot like herding cats. If that’s where you find yourself, there are three big challenges and a gazillion little ones to juggle. 

Veterans of channel marketing may not be surprised by this list. You need to be on the job exactly one day to encounter any of these challenges. 

Challenge #1 - The Void

Did you inherit a program that uses dated software tools, no tools, and a process that’s disjointed and difficult to execute? You may be living in the void. It’s not a happy place. Getting out of or filling the void is going to be your number one priority. Can you imagine trying to implement a process from scratch that has to be flexible enough to work with potentially hundreds of channel partners? Each partner makes demands, and depending on the power of each partner, you will either bend to those wishes or put them in their place. No matter the outcome, you will never find success with the channel until you solve the void. 

Challenge #2 - Content

The need for new and updated content is not unique to channel partners, but it is exponentially harder to pull off. For starters, just wrap your head around this. Each channel partner has their own set of brand standards. You have brand standards. Those have to align for anything co-branded. That alone could throw sand in the gears of any attempts to provide syndicated content. If you think you can make the problem go away by just creating generic white papers, emails, landing pages, and so on — think again. The chances are your channel partner isn’t exclusively pushing your products. If your competitors are outdoing you on the content front, you might find those channel partners aren’t stepping up to sell your widgets. 

Challenge #3 - Measurement

How do you know what’s working? At the end of the day, the truest measure of a quality channel partner is revenue. Marketers try to fill the void with processes that put too big an emphasis on marketing metrics like email metrics, for example. Email metrics are awful. Concerns about privacy have led to the development of email bots that scan and click and open and bounce in such an aggressive way that the end results are incomparable. Who is real? Who is a bot? Be sure you don’t fall victim to an overly complicated measurement tool, but the chances are the data you’re capturing only tells half the story. If you’re making budget decisions off only half the story, you better feel pretty dang confident you’re getting the story right. 

Simplify. If you don’t have a mature channel partner marketing strategy and process in place, start small. Build out a minimally viable option with committed partners that understand the mutual benefit of your program. If you’re drowning in work, raise your hand. When it comes to content, arguably one of the biggest challenges, freelancers, and agencies provide an easy alternative to in-house resources that are stretched too thin. Additionally, a third-party vendor may have an easier time earning the trust of your channel partners who believe your interests supersede theirs. 

Download this one-sheet to see how our agency attacks channel partner management. 

After all, unless you enable those partners, they aren’t selling for you. 

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