Channel marketing blog post: How marketers can create BETTER sales assets for channel partners

If you are a part of your channel marketing team, you may have been approached to create assets for channel partners, or you could be just starting to help channel managers improve partner programs. Providing assets to channel partners is a great way to boost their sales teams and improve the odds that they can close deals quickly. But how do you know you are providing the best assets for your channel partners?

Successful channel management heavily depends upon your ability to syndicate and share content with your partners that is easy to access, relevant to the products they sell, and up-to-date. For a channel marketing team, continually updating and sharing content that works can be a daunting task.

What can you do to get started with an organized sharing and production method that makes sense?
Start out by taking a step back and reviewing your content library.

How many marketing or sales assets do your partners need?
Take time to review this with your Channel Manager. Channel managers have a lot on their plate, but discussing the request for content with them can help reduce your workload.

Here are questions you can ask -

What content are Channel Partners using the most?
This can be very useful for identifying what matters the most to channel partners. Your channel manager may have a good idea from their account calls and interactions with partners.

Are there any assets Channel Partners find less useful?
Channel partners may have complained in the past about any assets they don't find helpful. If you can work with your channel manager(s) to identify your lowest performing assets, or have access to a handy asset rating and usage tool (like Mindmatrix!) you can check reports to determine the best assets to create.

Do you have enough sales assets for Channel Partners?
Check your inventory. You likely have sales assets partners can use, concentrate on those first. Even if your partners aren't marketing effectively they still need tools for their sales team! Make sure that they can easily access an entire library of the most up to date sales materials.

Do any of the most successful Channel Partners have playbooks or sales plans you can review?
This can give you an idea of the most effective assets for your top performers. If you need to create anything new, concentrate on their recommendations first.

Do the assets you've made available have space for co-branding OR white labeling?
Depending upon how your partners sell, check to make sure you've shared assets with the proper amount of space allocated for their branding standards. Be careful to ensure they have space for logo, address details and most importantly--contact information! This is great for sales reps.

Are your assets up to date?
Finally, ensure that all of your marketing and sales materials that are available are up to date. Make sure partners have access to the latest versions to reduce support requests and frustration. Even if you are just getting started, taking an audit of what is needed and speaking with your Channel Manager is a great way to concentrate your efforts on the sales and marketing assets partners need the most.

Are you a marketing manager with any tips on how to prepare your assets for your Channel Program? Feel free to share.

About Mindmatrix
Mindmatrix is the only single, fully integrated platform offering complete marketing and sales enablement for direct and indirect sales.
Mindmatrix offers Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software, Channel Marketing Automation, Asset Management software, Sales Enablement software and Marketing Automation software for the complete enablement of your sales and marketing teams.

Questions to ask your top performing channel partners

In a few articles I've mentioned the importance of speaking with your top performing partners to create your ideal partner persona profile. This process lets you narrow down and improve your partner recruitment and retention strategies. Now I'd like to dig into this process a little more to share some helpful questions you can ask your Partners. These questions are designed to help --

1. Create a baseline assessment of your top performers
2. Find any strategic strengths or weaknesses you can plug program benefits into
3. Support better relationship building with partners at future program development stages

Demographic Questions
These should be simple and to the point. You should have most answers in your CRM (customer resource manager) however--it doesn't hurt to confirm details! Ask about company name, size, such as number of employees, location, number of offices, and other locational details.

Identifying what makes your top performers stand out - Sales and Marketing Resources
By asking questions about your partner's sales and marketing resources, you can start building a solid profile of your partners. These are questions that you can layout across a grid and use to make judgements about the average stats of each partner in your program.
  • What is your most successful target market when prospecting?
  • How many sales reps do you have?
  • Do you have a dedicated in-house marketing staff or rep? Or do you work with a marketing agency?
  • How large is your current customer base? (This affects referrals)
  • How large is your current lead pool? (This can give you an idea of how strong their sales funnel may be)

Current Marketing or Sales Strategies
Very often, companies have marketing or sales plans but no strategies.
If you are having trouble identifying the difference, think of plans as a fuzzy image of where you would like to be, and strategies as carefully plotted goals with testable outcomes.
You can ask your top performers about their marketing or sales strategies to get a better idea of whether or not your product line forms a key part or is just happening to "pick up steam". You can also ask them about their strategy to find out if they've taken on selling your product as a part of their overall business plan in a real, tangible way.
  • Do you have a marketing calendar you can share with us? (If you have resources to review it)
  • Have you planned out any assets to support a campaign for our product line?
  • Do you have a marketing or sales plan? (There's nothing wrong with being direct!)
  • What role do you see our product playing in your current plans?

What they think makes them stand out
It never hurts to get their opinion about what they think makes them stand out from the competition. Your partners are likely to be a part of the same market space. Find out what they think means the most to them and their customers.
  • What do you think makes your business stand out?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What do your customers think of you and why do they pick you?
  • Why did you choose to take on selling our products?

Find out what they think of you--and share some free advice.
No survey is complete without feedback.Your partners will feel better about answering your questions if they feel like they can gain some useful input in return. Don't be afraid to:
  • Accept criticism. 
  • Talk candidly about where your partner program has succeeded or failed to enable your partners.
  • Ask followup questions about situations that frustrated your partners.
  • Ask for input or advice on how they would improve any shortcomings.
Finally, thank your partners for their participation and offer something tangible in return for their advice and time.Remember that good partner relationships start with strong communication and responsiveness.Take feedback seriously and let your partners know that you plan to use it to improve your program and offering.

About Mindmatrix
Mindmatrix is the only single, fully integrated platform offering complete marketing and sales enablement for direct and indirect sales. Mindmatrix offers Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software, Channel Marketing Automation, Asset Management software, Sales Enablement software and Marketing Automation software for the complete enablement of your sales and marketing teams.

PRM Software with Automated Certification Programs - A must-have for a successful channel partner onboarding program

We have already covered Playbooks and how they are an integral part of the channel partner engagement. This week we'll talk about Automated Certification Programs which will focus on why a certification program is essential to your channel partners.

Automated certification programs
Merely training your channel partners is not enough. You need to make sure they have understood and can apply the knowledge you shared. One way to do this is through automated certification programs. Encourage your channel partners to take certification exams from time-to-time: upon introduction of a new product or service line, in the event of product updates, or even in general to ensure they are in touch with the features and benefits of your products/services that they are selling. After all, if they are to convince someone to buy a product or service, they have to be convinced of its benefits themselves.

Tip: Set-up 2-way alerts for your training and certification exams.

Have your channel partners get automated notifications when they are due to take an exam, their certification is about to expire, or a new certification requirement has been introduced. Conversely, you should get a notification when someone acts or when the results are in. This not only increases the chances of getting a response from your channel partners, but also helps you keep track of the most engaged channel partners. Check which partners are actively relating with your brand and which ones just don’t bother.

Why invest your resources in partners who just don’t care to learn more about you?

About Mindmatrix
Mindmatrix is the only single, fully integrated platform offering complete marketing and sales enablement for direct and indirect sales. Mindmatrix offers Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software, Channel Marketing Automation, Asset Management software, Sales Enablement software and Marketing Automation software for the complete enablement of your sales and marketing teams.

Becoming a vendor of choice takes effort

Last week we discussed certain key elements of Partner Relationship Management and channel sales enablement But, in addition to good recruitment, onboarding, engagement and measurement, there is an entire other plane of a good channel partnership. There is the enablement which happens across the spectrum of the corporate/channel relationship. It occurs on various fronts, such as corporate marketing, partner sales, and operations (PRM).

For example, Marketing is enabled through a channel marketing automation software that helps channel partners by providing lead nurturing, routing, scoring and tracking. Channel Marketing Automation cuts down the marketing department’s duties, and allows partners to sell better because they know exactly how and when to respond to a prospect  at any point.

Another example is content syndication.This allows you to publish personalized content on behalf of your partners. They benefit from the sales and marketing value of social media, but don't have to invest the resources to make it happen. It is things like these they cant’t ( and wont’t ) do on their own. When you do it for them, you make yourself the vendor of choice for making an easier, faster sell.

On the partner sales front, they become more quickly engaged through playbooks that hand- hold through the sales process. They don't have to determine or guess what to do in each sales situation. They get tools like 360 prospect view, so they know where a prospect is in the sales cycle. From this they can determine the most relevant response.

Finally, there is enablement on the operations (PRM) front. Managers need to know what’s going on. For instance, enablement means providing data about every partner’s lead registration, and status reports about all of their activities such as certifications, lead interaction, and profiles of their asset download activity. It also monitors co-op fund usage by channel partners and registers effectiveness. Corporate should only be using MDF if they can measure the value of these expenditures at the level of each channel partner. Quantifying the results of these expenditures is a critical part of “enabling” sales.


In summary, partner relationship management is a broad platform that is utilized to create a start-to-finish process that makes it easy for a channel to sell your product or service. By adopting this broad-based process, you can become the vendor of choice, eliminating the barriers to a successful channel sales model.

About Mindmatrix
Mindmatrix is the only single, fully integrated platform offering complete marketing and sales enablement for direct and indirect sales. Mindmatrix offers Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software, Channel Marketing Automation, Asset Management software, Sales Enablement software and Marketing Automation software for the complete enablement of your sales and marketing teams.