Selecting the right partner to support channel marketing programs is crucial for brands. In today’s landscape, where technology and services play a vital role in channel marketing initiatives, brands invest significant time and resources in launching or transitioning their programs to a new provider. There are three capabilities brands should consider when evaluating potential partners: strategy, program evolution and services offered.
Data Informed Strategy
Data-driven insights are increasingly important in shaping channel program strategies. Brands should seek partners who have access to critical data points and utilize them effectively to inform their channel program strategy. It is crucial to find a partner who ensures that the channel program is driven by strategy right from the start of the relationship, equipped with tools and processes to inform long-term strategy development.
To ensure consistent strategic initiatives, brands should consider partners who employ established processes. For example, Channel Fusion employs its proprietary Outcomes Blueprint, a multi-faceted process that incorporates various inputs such as client program details, competitive landscape analysis, and data analysis. This framework informs the development of an actionable account plan.
By leveraging the Outcomes Blueprint, Channel Fusion provides a repeatable process for creating annual channel program plans, along with a cadence for measuring and reporting outcomes. At a minimum, Channel Fusion conducts quarterly business reviews (QBRs) where key performance indicators are reviewed and adjusted to ensure that desired outcomes are being achieved throughout the year.
Supporting Program Evolution & Growth
The ability to scale and evolve a channel program is of utmost importance. Given the rapid changes in market and channel conditions, brands should seek partners who can readily adjust, expand, or introduce new program elements as needed to support program objectives. It is crucial to determine whether a potential partner possesses the depth and breadth of capabilities required for future program growth.
Channel Fusion offers a connected platform of technology solutions that enables brands to efficiently expand their channel programs. For instance, if a brand is using the Channel Fusion co-op program module and wants to incorporate an online store for channel partners to utilize co-op funds for purchasing point-of-sale materials, this integration can be seamlessly executed. The backend technologies are linked to ensure smooth communication between systems, maintaining program integrity in terms of funds management and reporting.
In terms of scaling channel programs, brands should also consider partners who have a clear vision and a defined roadmap for the expansion and evolution of their offerings. It is essential for partners to provide technologies that can be tailored to the specific needs and desired outcomes of each brand’s channel program. Look for partners who offer a unique combination of platform solutions that can be easily configured.
Support Services Drive Outcomes
While technical capabilities are vital for supporting the scalability of a channel program, it is equally important for partners to provide integrated support services that drive program success and desired outcomes. This applies to all aspects of the program. Research by Accenture shows that 89% of brands prioritize integrated support services and consider them a key factor in achieving successful channel program outcomes.
Brands should seek a channel program partner with a dedicated team of support specialists who act as an extension of the brand. These specialists serve as trusted advisors for channel partners and guardians of the brand’s integrity. For instance, having a support team with a deep understanding of a program’s guidelines ensures brand consistency while providing valuable guidance to channel partners, maximizing program adoption, utilization, and ultimately driving return on investment.
Choosing a channel program partner is a commitment akin to any relationship. When selecting a partner, brands should consider multiple dimensions, including the strategic value they bring, their ability to scale the channel program, and the support services they offer to deliver desired outcomes.
About Channel Fusion
For more than 20 years, Channel Fusion has been delivering strategy, customer experience and return on investment outcomes for brands and their channel partners with a wide variety of solutions and industry expertise. We continue to invest in the overall ecosystem of our channel marketing offering to ensure our clients can provide their channel partners with an optimal customer experience to drive results. Our core technologies and connected platform are supported by a team of customer-centric “Fusers.” Let us know if you’d like to learn more about how we deliver desired outcomes for brands and their channel partners.