Through-channel marketing enables channel programs to support partners to generate demand.

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By Jeremy Balius
20 June 2021

What is through-channel marketing?

Channels programs are a proven method to scale revenue and reach additional markets.

Leveraging the resources of their partners can enable organisations to sell more. But how can channel programs generate demand and qualify leads with and for their partners?

What is through-channel marketing?

Channel sales programs: the advantages and disadvantages

There are several advantages and disadvantages when leveraging your channel to complement your organisation’s sales and marketing efforts.

On the positive side, channel sales programs can harness the existing trust partners have with their customers. For example, if customers view your partners as a trusted advisor, your product and brand gain credibility by association. Channel sales programs are also highly efficient due to their economies of scale. Leveraging a partner’s sales force and existing customer base can act as a force multiplier for your sales and marketing efforts. It is a far more effective model than trying to build the same pipeline capacity in-house.

Although partner sales channel models may have many advantages, they also come with a few drawbacks. As you are not directly managing the sales process, you have less control over what is being said and done. This challenge does not only put potential sales at risk but can also damage your brand.

Another disadvantage often stated by organisations that are hesitant to pursue a channel sales program is reduced profitability. As the partner will earn commission in some form or another, sales are less profitable for the product or service owner.

Nevertheless, the positives of a sales channel program far outweigh any negatives. Even though organisations may have legitimate concerns about adopting this marketing model, proper management can mitigate potential disadvantages.

Working closely with your partners can reduce the risk of any brand damage and lost sales. If the relationship is mutually beneficial, the exponential increase in revenue can far exceed any diminished profitability in the medium to long-term.

What is through-channel marketing?

Through-channel marketing is an innovative way for organisations to reach more customers by leveraging their partners’ relationships and connections. Harnessing the synergies offered through a consolidated marketing effort can help you grow sales while delivering a single, consistent brand and product message.

 

A through-channel marketing program can be a beneficial arrangement for both the vendor and the partner. Vendors get greater market reach and insight by centralising all their partner pipeline information. Partners benefit from enterprise marketing support and increased sales through collaborative marketing campaigns.

Through-channel marketing formalises, implements, and manages a consolidated strategic approach to channel sales. By consolidating every partners’ sales pipeline in one centralised location, the organisation can leverage channel synergies to drive better marketing. This distributed marketing model also enables organisations to scale their sales efforts.

Traditional channel programs often limit the number of partners an enterprise can manage. However, by consolidating pipeline and marketing effort, through channel marketing allows you to standardise your approach, giving you efficiencies through economies of scale.

Through channel marketing is also well suited for SMB and Mid-Market partners. Typically, these organisations have limited time and marketing resources. However, due to their size and market segment, they have trusted relationships with their customers. By leveraging through channel marketing synergies, organisations can offer their SMB and Mid-Market partners an enterprise marketing service.

This approach helps partners close more sales, leading to a greater affinity for the organisation’s brand, product, and service. The organisation also benefits by gaining better insights into potential customers, increased revenue, and a larger market share.

What are the benefits of through-channel marketing?

In addition to the consolidated insights and strategic synergies through channel marketing offers, organisations can leverage several other benefits by adopting this marketing strategy.

Through-channel marketing can be a new source of competitive advantage

With the continual disruption organisations face today, the channel marketing strategies that worked in the past no longer apply. Partners continually refocus their activities on emerging trends and new delivery models. Customers are looking for more information before making any purchasing decisions, and when they are ready, look for trusted advice. New digital engagement channels have changed the way organisations interact with their customers, partners, and suppliers. 

 

Due to these constant changes, organisations need to adapt their channel marketing strategies. Stimulating demand in customers through traditional marketing media is no longer as effective as it used to be. Customers want solutions, not products, and only trusted advisors can provide that for them. Through channel marketing helps organisations unleash the true potential of their partner ecosystem. A consolidated view of their market and a consistent marketing strategy across the entire channel provides the data-driven insights needed for success.

 

Technology may underpin and help automate much of the heavy lifting needed to consolidate data and launch consistent content-led marketing campaigns. However, organisations still need service providers that understand the needs of both the vendor and its partners. A winning through channel marketing strategy relies on people, process, and technology, so finding a service provider that understands the entire channel ecosystem is vital in achieving a measurable impact. 

Enhanced customer influence

Digital transformation has had a direct impact on customer purchasing behaviour. As the world continues to embrace technology-driven platforms, customers often need to choose between complex alternatives. Due to this complexity, they often turn to organisations they trust to help them decide.

Through-channel marketing could take advantage of this change in customer behaviour by leveraging the trusted status many partners have with their customers. Leveraging this marketing approach, organisations can benefit from more effective demand generation, prospect nurturing, and sales outcomes.

Attract new customers and break into new markets

Another advantage of adopting a through-channel marketing strategy is the potential to sell products and services to new customers. As the internet has fundamentally changed the way we make purchasing decisions, including for B2B, through-channel marketing can help organisations reach new untapped markets.

These days customers are tech-savvy and prefer to take a proactive approach when purchasing a product or service. Organisations can benefit from this modern customer trait by leveraging partner relationships. For example, a through-channel marketing strategy can help you uncover differentiation opportunities and attract new channel partners. As partners have an intimate understanding of their customers’ needs, they can position your products and services to new markets far better than an internal sales function.

Measurable impact and ROI

One of the primary benefits of through-channel marketing is the deep insights you gain on your target market. A consolidated pipeline view of your partner ecosystem can help you track your marketing effort in a far more effective and efficient way.

As you can match your marketing campaigns with a quantifiable ROI, it gives you confidence in the measurable impact your activities make across your channel. With through channel marketing, you not only get an enhanced, consolidated view of your entire potential market. It gives you the capability to track all activities centrally, giving you better insight and control.

Where is through-channel marketing headed?

The growth in popularity of through channel marketing is evident in the growing number of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings available.

Multiple SaaS products can help you create, maintain, and automate your through-channel marketing strategy. However, even though technology automation can reduce the effort of a through-channel marketing campaign implementation, it cannot fulfil every need of the organisation’s partners. 

The human element in a through-channel marketing campaign remains a vital component. For example, automation cannot cater for brand personalisation and the regional relevance of content.

 

Although through-channel marketing tools offer numerous features, they are still tools. They always rely on people with the relevant skill and expertise to operate them. As a result of this interdependence between people, process, and technology, there will be an increased demand for service providers who can meet the needs of both vendors and partners.

Want to discuss how a plug-in strategic partner can help you implement an effective through-channel marketing strategy?

At Volt Lab, we understand the modern challenges channel ecosystems face. 

 

 Having collaborated with organisations, partners, and vendors across technology industries, our proven track record gives us the unique capability to implement through channel marketing strategies that work. We can help you create, implement, and maintain through marketing channel strategies that deliver results. 

 

Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you take a strategic approach to through channel marketing. 

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