Our human resistance to change has been well documented for years and has kept many an executive and organizational coach in business. We like what we’re comfortable with. It’s safe. It’s secure. We know what to expect. Change can be scary.
That being said, we’re also intelligent beings, and we know that change is always upon us, hence our desire to be well-informed. So, it was not necessarily surprising for me to hear my industry peers at Channel Visionaries talk about how today’s buyer has changed and how vendors and their partners must change as well if they desire to thrive in tomorrow’s economy.
What was disappointing, however, was the fact that even though we all agreed that buyers have changed (and will continue to change), when it came down to executing marketing and sales strategies within a partner ecosystem, all I heard was the SAME OLD THING.
Actually, it was worse. Now those same old strategies were being amplified with an assortment of technologies and apps, making things even more frightening. We’re setting ourselves up for the marketing technology bubble to not only burst, but to explode. I don’t think twice about fast-forwarding through commercials when I’ve recorded my favorite TV shows on my DVR. How soon until I fast-forward through the digital marketing media that is everywhere I look? Or, am I doing it already?
Old school “push” marketing is no longer a viable option for building relationships with potential customers. In case you’re wondering, push marketing tactics look like this:
Speaking at (instead of with) prospects and customers
Sending out messages to unwilling, unreceptive people
Creating campaigns or experiences that ignore user wants and needs
This “spray and pray” model is exactly what most technology manufacturers are accustomed to doing with their partners and resellers. Pick a product, come up with a campaign, buy a list, then BLAST and dial. Even worse – I heard vendor after vendor pitching technologies and apps that further enable or even automate this horrid “lead generation” process. And while everyone seemed to know and agree how limited and ineffective this is, it’s as if they just can’t stop themselves.
It’s time to take a good, hard look at your entire sales ecosystem. There are “solutions” on the market that promise to make your life as a channel account manager or channel marketing manager easier. And, perhaps for the moment, they will. But I can tell you I’ve never crafted a marketing or sales campaign in my career with the intention of making my own life easier, and I cannot imagine a CEO or board of directors signing off on that project either.
Automating old school, push marketing strategies is the greatest danger I see to the entire marketing and sales technology industry.
We are better than this. We have the information, the research. It’s up to us to decide to use that information to overcome our human desires to remain the same. Your partners deserve it. And more importantly – so do your customers.