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After finance, digital marketing is a key demand

The channel has reached out to vendors for digital marketing support with Dell sharing some of the progress it has made on that front

The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on many areas and sparked reactions across the globe as the channel and customers have moved to plug gaps and react to accelerated changes.

One of the areas that has consistently been highlighted as an area for concern is digital marketing, with many in the channel not up to scratch in that area. With events cancelled, restrictions preventing customer visits and vendors taking most marketing virtual, many in the channel have been left scrambling to get a pitch out to prospects.

Dell Technologies is one vendor that has reacted to the demand for digital marketing support. Speaking at a partner update, its senior vice-president of global channels, Cheryl Cook, revealed that after financial help, the support most demanded by Dell’s partners during Covid-19 had been for assistance with digital marketing.

In response, Dell stepped up its activities in that area and has seen strong take-up from partners.

“We had a lot of feedback from our partners. First, they were concerned about just business continuity and financial viability, and I think that kind of settled out, but the number two most requested area for help and assistance was in digital marketing and virtual selling,” she said.

“Their salesforces didn’t understand how to navigate [the digital marketing world] so we pivoted and put [out] digital marketing guides, virtual sales toolkits and social selling guides, and hosted webinars with our chief marketing officer and our marketing execs. We put an array of resources in place,” she added.

Cook said one of the successful examples of adapting to the changed circumstances was the executive briefing programme, which moved from a physical event, for which partners and their customers would come into the campus and spend time in the labs, to an online event.

“We’ve taken that programme completely virtual, and I think it has been an opportunity for us to be able to reach a broader audience,” she said.

“The customer satisfaction scores and partner satisfaction scores are equal to or better than when we were in person. It is incredibly effective at helping maintain business, so we’ve done an array of those things that we’ve made available to our partners to assist them,” she added.

Dell is not alone in taking such actions. Many vendors have spotted the need for support and reacted with increased online resources.

Last month, storage player Spectra Logic rolled out an enhanced partner programme with a heavy emphasis on increasing digital marketing support.

Betsy Doughty, vice-president of corporate marketing at Spectra Logic, said the world had been changing for a while, but the pandemic had accelerated things.

“We know that 80% of a customer’s research happens before they even talk to a person at a company. So if our channel isn’t providing the right tools and information, and we’re not ranking high in Google searches, we’re never even going to capture them,” she said.

“But once we capture them, what are the things that we’re doing to make sure we engage them and then ultimately they want to have that one-on-one conversation?”

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