Channel Partner Communication Best Practices

Posted: 3/13/2012 by 11

In our previous blog we discussed challenges with executing and managing MDF programs. One component of the management challenge is the communication of available programs and the dissemination of the information to your partners. So, how can you effectively communicate with your partner community and make sure they are aware of available resources? Verbal communication is one approach, but likely will have a limited impact since channel managers will only focus on their top partners. Part of the answer is to craft highly targeted and personalized messages that notify the appropriate business owner of specific information related to their MDF account and opportunities to leverage its use. Highly targeted communication is much more effective and more likely to solicit a positive response. However, in order to deliver this kind of highly effective communication, you need a complete and accurate partner profile database. Yet most companies put minimal effort into verifying the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in the database. Often the data is entered once and is rarely updated until a problem or event arises that forces action to the taken.

Once you have a central database of who your partners are, which partners are in which program and who their employees are and roles, you can utilize this information to streamline communications. One example would be to send regular updates on MDF programs to the appropriate contacts which could include information on program rules or even available balances. This is particularly critical for COOP base programs where your partners may not be aware of funds about to expire or allocations that have been credited to their accounts.

Another use of the database is to notify your partners of various ways they can leverage the money you have provided with suggestions on campaigns in a can or approved vendors to help with advertising. If you combine the profiling, communications and streamlining of funds management you will see an improvement in the adoption of these programs.

We suggest the following best practices:

  1. Stop using MS Excel and invest in a database your partners and channel managers can manage.
  2. Implement process and policies or even incentives to encourage routine maintenance to verify accuracy of the data maintenance in the database.
  3. Just like a CRM tool for direct sale, if it isn't updated in PRM it doesn't exist.

About our Guest Blogger: 

Lisa Heydorn, Professional Services Manager at Requisite Software, has over 15 years of experience with channel operations in high-tech, telecommunications and manufacturing industries. She is a proven leader with strong skills in project management, customer service, execution, and on-time delivery. At Requisite, Lisa is responsible for the Channel Management solution.

Responses to Channel Partner Communication Best Practices

Marsha Gastwirth

MDF programs and funding allocations have seen better days in how they are allocated and utilized. Competition and business survival is so much a concern for resellers as they look for something to set them apart from their competitors that they have come to heavily rely on their strategic partners to fund their marketing programs they hope will differentiate their offerings. Strategic partners have less funding to offer and it is spread very thin across a host of resellers. Maybe it is time to evaluate partner profiles and enable those who are most able to succeed with the company's products and services.

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