As we’ve mentioned, marketing within a channel of Value Added Resellers (VARS) can pose some challenges because of the sheer dynamic of the multi-step sales process. Often times, the VARs are selling multiple lines of products, so getting yours to stick out among your competition with both the VAR salespeople and the end-user can be quite the feat.
However, many successful channel networks today are implementing marketing and sales strategies that are tremendously successful toward growing their revenue. And it all starts with the launch of a channel marketing campaign that addresses the needs of those involved.
Here are some tips for how you can start that initial marketing campaign for your channel network:
Step #1: Create Two Sets of Buyer Personas
Create buyer personas that highlight the needs and challenges of both your VARs as well as your end users. Doing so will provide you with insights on how to craft messaging and content that resonates best with their unique needs. You probably won’t build success within your network if you only focus on one side of the equation. Create these personas using customer feedback and through interviews with both the VAR sales people and your end users.
Once the personas are created, you will then need to create contact lists that segment your contacts into each persona list, if possible. (Having HubSpot makes this super easy, but if that’s not available, segment more simply by segmenting into VAR salespeople and end-customers.) If you are a distributor that's part of a channel dynamic that doesn't get access to the end users information, focus solely on the information you do have and focus your campaign on the VARs first. (Look for a future blog on how to market effectively in a channel when you don't have access to the end user's contact information.)
Step #2: Identify the Primary Persona Challenges
After the buyer personas have been created, you now work to identify the most significant struggle of each persona. This will be the focus of your campaign(s). Since this is a beginners guide, we suggest starting with the primary struggle that a VAR salesperson faces as well as the main struggle for the end user. These will serve as the baseline for these initial efforts.
It will look something similar to this:
- VAR Persona: “Reseller Rita” Primary Sales Challenge: Doesn’t fully understand the key features and functionality of your product to stack it higher than the competitors.
- End-User Persona: “End-User Ed” Primary Sales Challenge: Since the product is a bit more expensive than other competitors, they need more information on the warranty and customer service processes.
Step #3: Create Great Content for the Primary Sales Challenge
First and foremost, don’t become overwhelmed once you read this step. If creating content for both personas is too much, start with the one you’ve identified is the most impactful to your bottom line on either the end-user or the VAR salesperson. (We suggest using CRM data to identify which challenge would produce the most significant impact if resolved.) Select the form of content you think would resonate best with your persona(s), some of the possibilities include:
- In-Depth Blog Post
- eBook or Informational Guide
- Video or Webinar
- Informational Graphic
If your business lacks the resources to create more advanced content like a video or an infographic, stick to the basics with a blog post that clearly and thoroughly addresses that primary issue or concern. Important tip: Be sure to have someone edit and proof your work to avoid any embarrassing typos or errors.
Step #4: Distribute the Content
After the content is created, it needs to be distributed to the personas to help resolve their problems. Remember those lists you created based on personas or VAR/end-users back in Step #1? They come into play right here. The blog content that resonates with the VAR can then be promoted through an email or on an internal network portal that’s designated specifically for those resellers. Then, the content intended to address the end-users problem can be promoted through email, social media posts, social advertising, and even trade shows. Now, your personas know exactly what you do better than the competition, and what the warranty process is, because you told them!
Want more channel marketing tips? Click here for a few more.
Step #5: Measure the Results
In an ideal world, you’d be conducting this entire process from inside HubSpot so you have a comprehensive picture of how the process works after you distribute the content to your contacts. However, if that’s not possible, there are still many ways you can measure effectiveness from your first channel marketing efforts. Ask the VARs and the end-users if they found the information helpful. This can be as easy as a follow-up email with a survey (If you don't have the HubSpot Services Hub to do this, Survey Monkey is a cost-effective but less customizable alternative) a few days after receiving the information. During the surveys, also ask those customers what other information would be helpful to enhance the product or drive more channel sales? And finally, as you create more content to address the other identified persona challenges, track which VARs are growing their sales as a result. Reward those VARs in some way and you will reap the sales benefits for a long time to come.
Keep in mind, this only scratches the very surface of what channel marketing efforts you can enable for your network and end users. The most streamlined and effective channel marketing strategy includes careful planning by a team of marketing strategists and the implementation of the HubSpot platform. Contact us by clicking below to see how we can begin creating more effective marketing, sales, and customer experience processes for your channel.