TO, THROUGH, WITH, FOR
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Through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) is a channel marketing technique designed to help businesses who sell primarily through a distribution network, such as manufacturing, software and technology, and financial services. TCMA gives these businesses the ability to scale marketing efforts, ensure a consistent message across all distributor markets, and see directly into distributor marketing.
Managing several different styles of marketing requires a little more than the average marketing automation platform can offer. Built specifically for the needs of indirect distribution networks, through-channel marketing automation simplifies marketing to, through, with, and for distribution partners and gives manufacturers more insight into their marketing performance.
Automation took marketing teams by storm by allowing marketers to scale personalized conversations with leads. But manufacturers relying on indirect distribution have struggled to adapt automation platforms and practices for their business model. Through-channel marketing automation addresses the unique challenges of distributor marketing and implements the ease and scalability of automation.
TCMA helps manufacturers:
Selling indirectly through a network of distributors also means marketing indirectly to specifiers, contractors and end users, which means distributor engagement in marketing is vital. The best way to engage channel partners is to make their lives easier. So when you’re selling through a network of distributors, there are four kinds of marketing you’re doing: to, through, with, and for your distributor partners.
This is marketing that includes things like training opportunities, customer testimonials and partner success stories, and rewards for distributor sales reps. These types of campaigns help you drive engagement and grow your brand with new partners.
Through-partner campaigns help distributors market on behalf of the brand, but with the help of the brand. Through-partner campaigns should be personalized and highlight why buying from the distributor is beneficial, such as value-added services or certain customer service benefits.
With-partner marketing is a team effort. That is, content put out by the partner but equally representing the distributor and the brand. These assets are co-branded and include things like case studies with partner-added examples and insight from both the brand and the distributor.
These marketing tactics go beyond big national campaigns and include things like distributor locators or a distributor directory on your website to help end users find the partner closest or best-fit for their needs.
When you take the time to understand your dealers and distributors problems and provide them solutions, they will reciprocate with loyalty and more eagerness to sell your products above your competitors'. Further, when you drive demand for your products through strategic content marketing and then route leads to your partners, end buyer leads will not fall through the cracks.
We recommend using an approach we've coined as the "REGG" framework for indirect channel selling.
Some manufacturers opt to measure the number of new partner leads that results from their website and online presence. If one of your objectives is to increase the number of distribution partners on your roster, TCMA is an ideal strategy to optimize your online presence and user journey towards recruiting dealers and distributors to grow your indirect sales network. We're here to help you and your direct sales team to find them and sign them.
Once you have partners in your distribution network, you need to engage them. This piece of your TCMA strategy is the biggest challenge because your deals and distributors are inundated with other brand partners vying for their attention and for their indirect sales. You can become a partner's go to recommendation by improving your partner onboarding experience, providing ongoing product and end user training, and by developing resources and business aids that directly support their day to day responsibilities. This means you focus on solving the problems that dealers and distributors have so they can grow their business regardless of what products they are selling. It's the principle of reciprocity. When you help them, they will help you.
Once you've iteratively improved your recruitment and engagement processes and content, NOW you can guide them towards selling your products specifically. This phase of the REGG framework is likely the phase that you have the most defined already because it involves providing spec sheets, use case info, installation info, maintenance info, and other technical information pertaining to your materials and products specifically.
Even after you've provided technical specifications to your distribution partners, you're not done yet! Through channel marketing automations and content to support your partners to sell more are your next area of focus. In short, it's time to help them sell (as opposed to them waiting to take chance orders). YOU, the manufacturer, need to take the reins to conceptualize and implement marketing campaigns targeted at end consumers.
You also need to configure lead routing and lead distribution for leads from your website to be assigned to a specific partner to follow up with and sell to. It's not as complicated as you may feel when using HubSpot's workflows to trigger the lead assignments automatically based on any number of criteria.
By taking the reins, you ensure that qualified buyers do not slip through the cracks when indirect sales reps do manual check ins with their accounts. Even more relieving is that by automating much of this process, most manufacturers are able to eliminate a couple of sales reps and inside sales reps positions while handling higher volume of sales. It's a win-win for you and your distribution partners.
Zinfi's PRM is customizable with 12 different modules to build a solution that allows you to fit your platform to your distribution network's needs. Help distribution partners with business planning, and manage your partners' contracts, leads, deals, marketing development funds, ongoing learning, and more.
Give distribution partners the power to generate their own demand for your products with Zinfi's simple but powerful TCMA platform. Zinfi supports 26 languages for global distribution partners and includes tools for outbound and inbound marketing like direct mail, event marketing, email, and content syndication.
Zinfi's partner portal allows you to build open communication and collaboration channels for your distribution partners. Maximize partner engagement with modules for partner communication, co-brandable assets and product details, configure-price-quote capabilities, and partner experience surveys.