Channel Marketing Dilemma

In the past month, my inbox was overflowing with email from vendors. The ones that begin, it was nice to meet you at… immediately get deleted, because it usually didn’t happen. I know they are automated emails, but why start a relationship with an automated email and a Lie? I have to trust you and already you treat me like a number and someone to pile manure on in order to get an order. This is actually the whole problem with Channel Marketing.

Everyone treats Channel Marketing like a game of numbers. It isn’t. Unless you are AT&T, Verizon or Comcast, you don’t need thousands of partners. Heck, RingCentral claims they have access to 200K sub-agents!!!! [Note: there aren’t that many!] Yet RNG has seen growth decline. So has 8×8.

Most programs need less than 100 Aligned partners. If you don’t know what that means, please read The Book.

But back to the Marketing. There is a huge push on cybersecurity, yet NONE of the emails contain a specific use case. They DO contain a bunch of acronyms, which are useless.

I understand it is hard to do outreach. It is Basic Prospecting. Yet we are in a relationship business. I have to like you and trust you to lend my reputation to recommend you. Re-read that last sentence because it is VITALLY important.

Vendors hire channel managers hoping they have a rolodex of partners ready to sell for them. That is erroneous thinking. What were they selling before (cable?) to whom (VSB?)? Is that they same Buyer?

Recently someone came to me for help. They thought this channel could get around PR and marketing agencies into the CMO office of large businesses. I had to explain that this channel does not often sell to a CMO. And while more and more partners are going upmarket, if you believe the reports, over 80% of channel partners sell to SMB. The real small business of less than 500 employees.

Do you have a Target Customer?

Do you have a Partner Profile?

If you don’t have those 2 items, your program sucks. It is working on Hope as a Strategy.

Every segment of the channel has a different business model and a different motivation.

Many MSPs prefer to sell UCaaS/HPBX as white-label for the control and billing aspects. Yet Agents do not want to bill and collect. Which segment are you chasing? What message are you using?

In a blanket email about security, the message will be ignored or lost by most partners who receive it. That has not stopped vendors from firing emails out their martech machines. In a recent article, the vendors also want partners to fire out similar emails to prospects. It is so weird to me that in 2023 we are still spamming and not trying for a better targeted message. There was  a time – mid-2000s – when the marketing shows talked about marketing 1 to 1. Now we are back to just generating spam.

You know what the problem with that is but you ignore it. Eventually they just ignore ALL your email. You have done Brand Damage.

There are a ton of ways to get a message across and no one uses it, because it is far easier to just shoot out large quantities of email and hope for a 1% hit rate.


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