Vendors could learn from the marketing techniques used by some of the leading consumer brands as they look to keep partners onside.
Those running channel partner programmes are struggling to deal with partner relationship hyperactivity disorder (PRHD) as they try to build loyalty among resellers and prevent them from looking elsewhere.
With the channel being courted by vendors looking to expand their market reach and facing decisions over where to make the investment in time and skills there are dangers for those vendors that fail to attract the right sort of attention that they could lose out on some channel talent.
Speaking at the latest Channel Chief’s event in London, Ian Hutchieson , channel strategy and loyalty specialist at ICLP, said that partners were working with anything from 8 to 12 vendors and as a result there was a fight for mindshare.
“They are getting bombarded with content that is specifically related to the vendor community but also a whole bunch of other stuff that comes into their daily lives, which is part of the landscape,” he said.
“Fighting for mindshare is hugely apparent to vendors as they look to rise to the top two or three from that twelve,” he added.
In terms of trying to cut through the noise and get the attention of the reseller community Hutchieson said that there was no silver bullet but there was a collection of things that could be done (see box).
He said that if you were able to get it right then partners would perform better and the relationships would improve and loyalty would be increased in the channel.
Some of the examples he gave of where the consumer world had developed loyalty was in the approach that Amazon took with its Prime offering, where it packaged all of the available extras for users; the classic loyalty programmes run by supermarkets and how those have developed to spark off additional spending while making the card holder feel satisfied.
He said that key to getting on top of channel relationships was data, with a good knowledge of it helping underpin a better relationship with partners.
Steps to increasing loyalty
There are some things that vendors can do to try and improve their chances of getting the attention of resellers and keeping them on board. Hutchieson has a handly list of five things to consider:
Deliver a positive partner experience
Make partners successful - fast
Make it easy for partners to be profitable
Make visiting your portal irresistible
Make sure you evolve your channel partner programme
“Do vendors use data as much as they can in an intelligent way? I think everyone would say they could do more with the data that they have got and they could also acquire more data, transactional data, profile data and behavioural data of what’s going on in your portal snd all of that is coming together,” he said.
Dave Taylor, chief marketing officer at Impartner, echoed those thoughts and added that using data was crucial for vendors trying to monitor their channel and reward those delivering the best value.
He said that one of the problems that could happen in the channel was the inconsistency that creeps in when personnel changes and a fresh channel chief kicks off a partner review.
“If they use the data they can see how the channel is working and they can see who is performing and the decisions can be data driven,” he said.
“You want to minimise the change in the marketplace and now you can be very data driven. Technology has matured and channel tech has matured along with it,” he added.