Welcome to another installment of Confessions of a Channel Marketer, where we explore what works and what should get fixed in channel sales and marketing.
Today’s confession is from Christos Mantzikos, Marketing Director for Elioplus, a B2B platform that connects Software and SaaS companies that offer partner programs with Resellers in order to penetrate into new markets.
What’s your favorite thing about working in the channel?
Being able to work with companies and startups that are in their earliest stages and watching them grow to be successful businesses. I've been fortunate enough to work with very innovate companies just at their beginning, when they launched their partner programs, and help them evolve over time. It's very satisfying to be among the first to work with new ideas that establish global trends and create new markets.
On the other hand, there are many experienced professionals in the channel space with great knowledge. It's always refreshing when meeting with other channel professionals and sharing insights. Due to the many different aspects that a channel professional must be aware of, they are always up to date with new trends and advancements in so many sectors like marketing, sales, management, etc.
What would you say is the biggest challenge in channel sales and marketing?
Collaboration between channel partners. Partnerships are all about communicating effectively, so the vendor and the partners can exploit the network effect and reach more customers. As the marketing channels become more sophisticated and distribution networks ever expanding, creating synergies between partners in order to promote new campaigns and other material effectively is always a challenge.
Most vendors focus on the top performing partners, so they leave a lot of value on the table when they don't cooperate with everyone in their channel. Having the right number of partners is crucial, and optimizing the performance of your channel partners through effective collaboration and communication is a significant success factor for indirect sales.
... effective collaboration and communication is a significant success factor for indirect sales
What's one tool, mobile app or magic potion you wish you had in the channel.
Although there is a myriad of sophisticated tools and solutions available, channel success still heavily relies on human interaction and personal relationships. Creating a solution that would capitalize on this issue and would make things work seamless would be a great advancement for the channel. Having a solution to instantly identify such issues in the channel, respond and help every channel partner in a timely manner, and at the same time foster the relationships between the vendor and its partners, would add great value for every company in our industry.
What’s the future or “the next big thing” for channel sales and marketing?
Simplicity and aggregation. As the channel becomes more and more complicated, new business tools are entering our life, and more time is required in these processes to create a solution that is simple for the end user and aggregates all the different features under one solution. This is probably "the next big thing" to dominate our market. We've seen similar products that have disrupted other verticals, and now is the time for the channel to experience the same evolution.
... now is the time for the channel to experience the same evolution.
With so many tools in hand for the modern channel professional there is a need for products that integrate seamlessly with third party solutions in order to create a holistic approach.
Share a story from your work in the channel – a program that was highly successful, a partner interaction that was memorable, etc.
Being involved in many partner programs straight from the creation, I've seen a pattern again and again. Great makers that have built something really innovative believed that their product was ready for the channel, without any thought on building a complete service map for their partners. Their mentality always was "here is my product, now go and resell it." Many new companies lack the managerial and channel experience and fail to create an alluring partner program for their channel partners. As a result, they have very few results with indirect sales. Hopefully, this mentality is slowly changing, and vendors entering the channel have adapted to their partners' needs and challenges.
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