Going to market with your indirect sales channel is a challenge. Many of your indirect sales partners are probably smaller entities and local businesses without the resources or expertise to market your products effectively, especially when it comes to digital marketing. You can resolve the challenges of marketing through your partners with Through Channel Marketing Automation.
Through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) is a platform designed to help companies who sell indirectly or through a channel, such as manufacturing, software and technology, and financial services. TCMA gives vendors in channel and indirect sales the ability to scale marketing efforts and ensure a consistent message across all partner markets. Additionally, TCMA platforms allow vendors to track all their indirect partners’ marketing efforts and offer pre-approved marketing assets to partners.
Automation took marketing teams by storm by allowing marketers to scale personalized conversations with leads. But industries relying on indirect distribution, like B2B manufacturing, struggled to adapt automation platforms and practices for their indirect model—if they even made the attempt.
Through-channel marketing automation addresses the unique challenges of partner marketing and implements the ease and scalability of automation for vendors. With TCMA, manufacturers can now:
With a TCMA solution, your partners have a variety of pre-approved marketing materials available to them. This saves time creating materials and waiting for approval, giving you and your partners more time to generate leads and close deals.
One drawback of indirect sales is leaving some of the marketing to your partners, and TCMA allows you to develop a more consistent experience across all your partner markets. Materials provided in TCMA content libraries allow partners to find and use approved campaigns without being responsible for developing messaging for your brand.
A TCMA solution can provide more opportunities to maximize the ROI of marketing materials your business already has. Stocking online content libraries with larger content offers partners can use on their websites for lead generation gets more mileage out of those offers and builds your thought leadership.
TCMA is an investment in your partners’ success, and their success means greater profitability for both you and your partners. Profitable relationships are stronger and easier to maintain, leading to lower partner churn.
An effective TCMA strategy is robust and covers everything marketers need in the twenty-first century to reach their audiences, as well as the tools to train partners with the platform and effectively using the assets available to them.
One major challenge of marketing for indirect distribution is finding and tracking key performance indicators. You, as the manufacturer, have invested in a solution, so how do you know it’s driving results? Here are some KPIs for measuring the effectiveness of through channel marketing automation:
When looking at partner engagement, take into account how many campaigns are executed, the type of campaigns, and which partners are using them. Partners might lean toward a certain product line or style of marketing based on their local market. Measuring partner engagement helps inform what kinds of assets to offer in the future as well as areas where partners might need more training or justification for use, such as social media advertising.
One goal of traditional marketing automation is to extend the organization’s reach and generate more leads, and the same goes for TCMA as well. With an effective TCMA strategy, lead generation by your partners will increase.
Increased lead-to-close ratio shows that TCMA is working to attract the target audience, properly nurture leads, and produce more sales in the end.
TCMA adoption should come with increased usage of MDF. If adoption seems slow or use of MDF doesn’t change much, consider looking at your organization’s MDF process and if it’s holding up some smaller partners from participating.
When it comes to B2B manufacturing, your partner companies likely have a variety of skill levels for marketing in the digital age. Some are still struggling to adjust while others are ahead of the curve. TCMA allows you to offer different options depending on your partners’ skill with digital marketing.
There are four types of partners you’re likely working with in your indirect distribution network:
TCMA allows you to offer a variety of customizable campaign options to suit all your partners’ skill levels. You can also use TCMA platforms to track partners’ progress with the campaigns they use.
Tracking partner progress through TCMA means you can identify partners who excel at utilizing the tools and drive high results. Once you’ve identified some top marketing players among your partner base, you can further those relationships by offering to collaborate on future campaigns. Their local market knowledge combined with the power of your brand can produce highly effective campaigns that work for all your partners.
Industries relying on indirect distribution are still struggling to adapt to the digital age of marketing because of their partner networks' lack of resources and expertise. Through-channel marketing automation is a response to this struggle. Working with a partner base presents its own challenges to effectively scaling personalized marketing efforts that aren't addressed by regular marketing automation platforms, such as varied partner skill levels and difficulty measuring success. TCMA provides vendors and their partners the options and transparency to execute modern marketing techniques in the indirect distribution space.