What is Channel Marketing Strategy?

Variety is the spice of life, and in the channel sales world, that variety is key in making sure your customers can get your product when they want it, and how they want it. 

So what is “channel marketing strategy”. A channel marketing strategy is a plan for promoting and selling a company’s products or services through channels. These partners include wholesalers, retailers, distributors, and other types of resellers. The goal of a channel marketing strategy is to reach customers and markets that the company may not be able to reach on its own. It is used to increase the efficiency of the sales process and to reduce costs. The specific tactics used in a channel marketing strategy can vary depending on the type of channel partners involved and the nature of the products or services being sold.

The strategy is defining the goals, tactics and desired outcomes from your channel partners. 

In order to make sure that your channel partners are able to properly promote and support your products, you’ll need to make sure that they have the assets and materials to get your product in front of customers who are ready to buy. That is why it is critical to use a marketing platform designed specifically for channel partners. 

The Importance of Through Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA)

The best way to ensure that your partners have all of the brand and promotional assets that they’ll require is Through Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA). TCMA allows for consistency across marketing campaigns. Your branding, visuals, and language will stay the same across your partners with TCMA providing them with easy access to your company’s digital assets. 

Through Channel Marketing Automation Programs 

With a variety of TCMA programs available, it’s important to do your research to make sure the program will work for you in the immediate and long term. 

Features

Understanding what comes standardized, or can be upgraded for a fee, in your TCMA platform will give you the big picture of how the TCMA program can help your business. Understanding the intricacies like file management, user access and analytics will help you understand if you’re paying for features that will go unused. 

Data and Brand Asset Security

In a digital world, security is paramount. Understanding your TCMA platform’s security measures will give you peace of mind knowing your digital assets are secure… or running for the hills to find a program that will give your data the security it deserves.

Affordability

Money talks, and sometimes it’s the final say when justifying a business expense. Finding an affordable, but effective, TCMA program is worth the extra effort. Don’t pay for features that go unused, while your core business needs are ignored. 

Ease of Use

If a TCMA program is too complicated to get the hang of quickly, it simply won’t get used, and will be slashed from the next quarter’s budget. Don’t bounce from TCMA platform to platform; save yourself time and money by understanding what onboarding and training look like, and how quickly you’re able to actively use the program.

Reporting and Analytics

It’s hard to justify marketing expenses if you don’t know their ROI. A comprehensive TCMA program should easily outline your campaigns’ effectiveness, and their overall impact. Proactive reporting helps to facilitate transparency with partners and recognize their efforts and impact.

Deciding to work with channel partners is one of the best things a poised business can do to increase its revenue, without increasing its internal teams. With the extended external workforce comes a unique set of needs to make sure that consistency is maintained across branding and marketing presence. A Through Channel Marketing Automation program eliminates the need for modifying content and loading it into their marketing automation. This helps partners save time and reduces friction. Learn more about xAmplify’s TCMA platform here.

What to Look for In Partner Portal Pricing

Investing in a partner portal is the right choice when it comes time to scale your business. With many options out there, it can be difficult to narrow down the right portal for you, and how it will impact your bottom line. Before committing to a partner portal, take time to examine their pricing, and the short-term and long-term value that you will get from the portal. Look for a B2B Saas company that can easily, and willingly, speak to the below points to make sure that you’re getting the best value for your monthly spend.

Set Up and Implementation Time

Time is money. And any time that is spent setting up your partner portal and walking through the training is time that isn’t spent on furthering business development. Get a detailed timeline on how long it will take the partner portal to be fully functional, and how quickly your team should feel confident when using it. Are training hours included in an initial setup fee, or are they extra? What if additional training is required? Ask these questions to make sure you don’t get any surprise fees tacked on at the end.

Customization

The level of customization required will depend on your business’ needs, but be wary about being upsold on customization features that might look nice, but not add a lot of value. Do you need a fully branded setup, or is a generic layout suitable for your needs? Can you upgrade the level of customization at a later date, or are you committed to your choice for the long term? Understanding your customization needs before signing up for a partner portal helps you narrow down what options are right for you.

Cost Breakdown

When it comes to the dollars and cents of your monthly bill, make sure you understand why the charges are what they are. Know whether or not you’re being charged per user, or by bulk sign-on. Ask how pricing is impacted if you bring another user on, and how quickly they can get access to the system. Ask if there are discounts for bulk users, or is it a flat fee regardless of the number of users you sign up. While the deliverables and usability of the product are integral to consider, the final pricing dictates your bill at the end of the month.

Contract Terms

The terms of your contract can often have an unforeseen impact on the cost of the partner portal if it needs to be amended for any reason. Understand how long your contract is in place, and look for the nuances in it. What penalties do you have to pay if you break your contract early? Are you guaranteed any price protection if your contract is extended? The fine print will give you a big-picture understanding of any contractual costs that might be incurred.     

A partner portal will help you seamlessly grow your business, but it comes at a cost. Understanding your business needs prior to engaging with a portal provider will help you understand the right questions to ask so that your portal provides you with as much value as possible. xAmplify provides advanced partner solutions your company cannot afford to live without. Learn more about our PRM pricing.

How Partnerships Make You Recession-Proof

The current economic downturn on top of the past few years of economic uncertainty has businesses in all industries worried about their current and long-term standing. While traditional cost-savings measures are implemented, it is also important to rely on your practices already in place, namely, partnerships. Partnerships have the ability to take things from good to great when we are in a boom, and are an excellent safety net during a recession. Now is the time to lean on your partners and the relationships you have with them to weather the storm.

Partnerships Reduce Internal Sales Costs

The resources required to hire, train, and most importantly, pay, in-house technical and sales talent is a daunting cost to absorb during a recession. By leveraging the team that your partners have in place, you can have more salespeople actively promoting your product, without the immediate rising cost of payroll. Lower your CAC by using partners that produce quality, warm leads, instead of chasing cold leads who aren’t ready to buy.

Partnerships Expand Your Market Reach

Partners have the ability to reach a variety of worldwide markets. This means that they may have direct connections with markets or industries that aren’t suffering from a downturn, and that have a need for your product. By creating strategic partnerships with companies that have reach in international markets you aren’t familiar with, you expand your potential reach, with a qualified guide along the way.

Partnerships Give You Credibility

Your partners have created connections with their clients that you aren’t privy to. Because they don’t know you from Adam, they rely on your partner to sing your praises, and help them understand why your product or service is the one that will address their pain point. Your partner’s clients know and trust them, and if they’re recommending your company, you’re automatically given a leg up with the end client.

Partnerships Help Extend Strategy

Clients want easy-to-find solutions to their pain points. During a recession, partnering with a complementary business is a way to bring comprehensive solutions to your clients that address multiple needs at one time. Whether you create exclusive offers, or a discount for buying from both companies, the benefit of engaging with both businesses will need to be decided on by what’s best for both partners.

Partnerships Let You Do What You Do Best

Partnerships let you get down to business. Literally. Whatever business you’re in, partnerships allow you to focus on the core elements of your business, and reduce a lot of the noise around marketing, selling, and closing. Use the feedback gained from your partners based on client evaluations and external perspective to improve your offerings. 

Partnerships are an integral component of business strategy. They pivot from being complementary to being necessary during a recession. Let xAmplify support your partnerships and grow your revenue with a system that enables your partners at every step of the customer experience.  Contact us to learn more.

5 Things To Look for When Choosing Partner Relationship Management Software

When it comes to scaling your business, an integral component of your growth strategy will likely include channel partnerships. With that comes the need to manage those partnerships to make sure that the relationship is beneficial to both parties, that KPIs are being met, and that your channel partners are adding value to your company. There are so many elements of integrating and maintaining channel partnerships, that it is almost impossible to manage it all manually without gaps or errors. 

Enter Partnership Relationship Management Software (PRM). PRMs help you seamlessly integrate channel partners into your workflow from onboarding onwards, without missing a step, while also keeping track of metrics. With hundreds of PRM options available, it’s important to know what to look for when choosing a PRM, and how it will impact your bottom line. 

Ease of Use

One of the most important elements to consider when choosing a PRM is how easy it will be for your team and your partners to use. Consider your team’s daily activities, and how the PRM will help facilitate their roles. Do the same for your partners; are training files easily accessible? Can they easily register new sales?     

Implementation Timeline

You’ve decided to use a PRM because you’re ready to continue to scale. Don’t choose a PRM with a long lead time for implementation, or that requires excessive support or costs to install. Look for a company with an engaged team that helps walk you through demos and setup so that you’re not left trying to search for answers to your new program.

Integration of Current Programs

Don’t redo work already in place in your CRM or ERP. A good PRM will allow for easy integration of your files and tools to give you access to all necessary documentation. This will make things easier for staff and partners knowing they are using up-to-date data in familiar formats. 

Functionality for Company Needs

With so many PRMs available, you need to understand what features you want from a PRM, and how they will benefit your company’s growth. Some areas you will want to consider are: 

  • Onboarding: Central location for all training and introductory materials
  • Training: Easy access to training material for varying products
  • Marketing Programs: Ability to share data, launch new campaigns, and automatically co-brand materials
  • Sales Leads: Manage leads in a consistent way that allows access for you and your partners
  • Stats: Define and measure KPIs for success management  

Cost and ROI

The full cost of a PRM cannot be measured solely in monthly charges. Evaluate what processes are streamlined, and how much time will be freed up, allowing you to focus on areas with higher returns. The same will be true for your team as processes are optimized, giving them the flexibility to focus on nurturing their leads. 

Finding the right PRM is a chance for you to evaluate your immediate and long-term channel partner needs, and understand how different features will help you reach your goals. A PRM should help you strengthen your relationships with your channel partners by making processes and procedures easier for you both. 

xAmplify is a PRM designed to make your channel partnerships easier to manage, and more profitable. Set up a time to talk to one of our representatives to see how xAmplify can help take you to the next level. Contact us today.

The Stages of Channel Partnerships and When You need to Level Up

Channel partnerships are an integral component of SaaS sales that lets your company expand its reach and industry impact, without adding to your headcount. With the global IT market reaching over $5 trillion dollars, there is ample room for channel partnerships, and using them to your advantage will benefit your staff, your company, and your bottom line.

Building a Successful Channel Partner Program

Creating a sustainable, profitable channel partner program takes thorough research prior to launch, and careful maintenance throughout your partner relationship.

Determine the Kind of Partners You Want to Work With

Though your partners aren’t employees, you will be working very closely with them, and want to forge a mutually beneficial relationship. Evaluate if their capacity and goals align with your needs, and if they have access to markets you want to break into. Are they the type of partners that you’re looking for? With different kinds of partnerships available with retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and more, you need to determine where and how you want your partners to expand your market reach.

Get in Touch

Think of the next stage like a courtship; you and your potential partner are getting to know each other, and seeing if you’re a mutually good fit. Have transparent dialogue that delves into what their needs are from a partnership, what your potential hurdles could be, and how they will help you stand out in a new market. 

Establish a Partnership Agreement

Now is not the time for handshake deals. Formalize your partnership with items like clear objectives, strategies and tactics, and partner resource allocation. Partner agreements keep both parties accountable to the standards and expectations of the partnership. Integrate metric tracking into your agreement so both you and your partner can measure the level of success they achieve. 

Develop Effective Onboarding and Communication Practices

Your channel partners can’t sell products they don’t know about. This step often isn’t as fine-tuned as it should be, and it gets partnerships off to a rocky start. Supply them with product information, brand standards, sales training, and more through a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) program like xAmplify to streamline the onboarding process. 

Provide Ongoing Support and Incentives

Keep your channel partners engaged with ongoing engagement and incentives to encourage their team members to put their best effort forward with your sales. Commission, a wholesale discount, or a sales performance incentive fund (SPIF) are common incentives provided to channel partners.

Growing Your Channel Partnership Program

In time, your channel partnership program will mature, and you will need to reevaluate current practices and see what you need to change or implement to continue its growth. When you are ready to scale your partnership program evaluate:

  • Channel analytics
  • Objectives and tiers
  • Expanding to include a different kind of partner type

However, the most important task to implement when looking to scale your partnership program is implementing the right PRM. It creates consistency throughout all of your channel partners, and gives them instant access to product lines and details, onboarding and training materials, and detailed analytics. The right PRM scales from just managing partners to enabling them with just-in-time content for marketing, sales and customer success. Not every PRM is designed to scale. xAmplify’s PRM is designed to help you grow as your program needs grow. Learn more by contacting us. 

Why is Partner Relationship Management Software Critical for Your Channel?

In the ever-evolving professional landscape, and the total integration of cloud applications, using a quality partner relationship software is more important than ever. A PRM takes you from partners to teammates, integrating and managing complementary priorities as you manage goals, targets, and sales.  xAmplify is a PRM designed and built with partners in mind; we eliminate friction, and implement automation for engaging, managing, and educating partners.

What is a PRM?

A Partner Relationship Management program streamlines the process of companies that engage in channel partner programs. PRM software allows for portal management so partners can easily access your company’s program, while also allowing them to access leads, register deals, and analyze sales metrics.  {link to article about PRM}

How does a PRM Impact Business?

Using a PRM reduces duplication of work, and creates a standardized, yet customizable, process for all channel partners. A PRM gives you control of your partner program and allows you to optimize it as a revenue-generating asset.

A PRM establishes strategic business standards and provides easy access through a partner portal where partners can find a number of resources.

Onboard Partners

Training documents and resources can be housed in a PRM to ensure your partners have access to all required onboarding documents. From product orientation to marketing briefs to lifecycle statistics, a comprehensive training program can be uploaded to the partner portal.   

Lead Management

Minimize the duplication of leads through a lead management component in a PRM. Eliminate having to track down a lead status, or asking for updates; both you and your partners can see and share leads as they come in. 

Reduce Length of Sales Cycle

With efficient lead management, and deal tracking, sales cycles are reduced, resulting in faster sales. Deal registration lets partners register deals that syncs directly with Salesforce without any customization or hassle, removing yet another barrier to finalizing the deal.

Partner Insights

Take the guesswork out of your partners’ engagement. Built-in analytics let you assess your partners’ engagement with your program, campaigns, and content. Eliminate partnerships that don’t serve you, and reward ones that do. Evaluate partner growth and impact on revenue from your partner dashboard.

Integrated Content

Marketing asset distribution is made easy with a PRM, as you can create and upload marketing materials directly to the PRM. Reduce the amount of time spent managing marketing materials; partners can download content as a PDF or HTML.

xAmplify’s partner program solutions help you unlock revenue potential across your partners, while also establishing sustainable revenue growth, and end-to-end pipeline transparency. A PRM is a great first step in your program maturity. To learn more about how to digitally transform your channel business, contact us at xAmplify. 

Make Your Partners a Growth Engine During a Down Economy

Economists, CEOs, VCs, and entire companies are preparing for an impending economic downturn. War, inflation, stock market losses and crypto problems are clear indicators of trouble. The uncertain environment makes companies nervous. As we have seen with past economic troubles, companies that focus on fundamentals and sustainable growth during uncertain times become outliers and unicorns during good times. Paypal, Microsoft, Apple, AirBnB and Netflix are just a few examples.

Taking a deeper look into these companies, we see that most of them relied on their channel partners and relationships to help them stay afloat and thrive during times of trouble. It’s not a secret but, today more than ever, companies need to focus on making their partnerships a competitive advantage. During the last economic downturn, most companies’ channel partners were only resellers and VARs. Today, there are many more flavors of partnerships: managed service providers, technology, ecosystem and alliance partners. The bottom line is you need to make sure these partners are driving additional revenue for your company, otherwise they are just satisfying a vanity metric. However, succeeding at this task won’t be easy to do.

We’ve compiled a list of 5 key steps to help you make all types of partnerships a competitive advantage and a way to drive additional revenue during an economic downturn.

  1. Digitally Transform Your Partnerships: The very unfortunate reality is that many companies are going to be reducing staff. To prepare for this, make sure you have the digital infrastructure in place to generate more partnerships, manage them efficiently, and track their effectiveness with fewer resources. PRMs are a great start, but access to data and insights breaks down after a partner has logged in and downloaded a piece of content. You must think beyond that. How would you get access to their marketing efforts? How would you see the effectiveness of content? What would conversation rates look like? How can you enable partners to close deals for you? You need to know the exact attribution models for everything you are doing for your partners. Make sure your platform can handle the different types of your partnerships: technology, resellers, ecosystems, alliances and more. There are very few platforms that can help with attribution models for every flavor of partnership.
  2. Make Data Driven Decisions: Just like in direct sales models. You need to have data to make decisions. Understand which partners are actively marketing for you, what their pipeline looks like, see what content is working or not. Feed the partners that are driving the pipeline and make sure they have the necessary sales tools to help close business. Your partner is an extension of your own sales team. They are the force multiplier, so make sure they have everything at their disposal to close business. Understand which partners are not keeping up. Use your data to find out who they are and how to help them succeed. You don’t want to have partners with stagnant business. That will only hurt your cause. 
  3. Open Communications: Partners are just as scared as you or more because they have a business that can go under quickly. Have a straightforward conversation with them about the situation. Make this a regular check in. Help them understand that you are in it together. The way to face the storm ahead is by working together and getting sales and revenue going. That is the best way partners and companies will survive adding to the bottom line.
  4. Do the Work Yourself: Making things easier is going to help your effort go a long way. Be the partner’s CMO and VP of Sales. This will build trust. Helping partners with lead generation, pipeline development, sales enablement and continued support is critical. That sounds like a lot of work for a company that might be reducing staff too. The good news is that technology can help. Use great technology to help partners with each stage. Channel Marketing Automation platforms are a good step. But most of them just create more work. xAmplify is one of the few that make things simpler and easier. It can not only help you but help your partners. It was designed from the ground up to make things dead simple for you and your partners. That is why we get results!
  5. More Data: After you’ve completed the steps above, use the obtained data to grow your partner business. Similar to looking at viral coefficients, you want to see what is driving the business: types of partners, content, time, date, campaign types, etc. You’ll be able to be more driven by results and solutions. Also, don’t forget to show the data to your CRO, CEO and CMO. They will see how the partner team is driving sales and the business. 

The uncertainty ahead is causing lots of turmoil. By focusing on partnerships, your company can turn the economic downturn into the unicorn opportunity for your company. To learn more about how to digitally transform your channel business, contact us at xAmplify. 

4 Ways You Can Engage Your Partners

Your partners may not be your customers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still send them information. Contacting your partners on a regular basis ensures that you’re regularly interacting with them. It also keeps your partners in the loop on any industry news and changes that may be occurring. 

You probably already send your partners a newsletter on a monthly or quarterly basis, but sending a weekly or biweekly email goes a long way in maintaining your partner-vendor relationship. This email can include industry news, sales and marketing best practices, and any company news that affects them. 

However, you don’t have to stick with emails. You can tag your partners in your social media posts when publishing your blog or remind them on Twitter of your latest partner webinar. You can send them a video message introducing your latest product or just to say “happy holidays”.  

4 Types of Partner Marketing Messages

In addition to your regular newsletter, here are 4 other messages you should send your partners. These messages ensure that your partners are apprised of any important changes or events and kept in the loop on industry news, while also helping them stay current with their skills. These messages provide the benefit of growing your partner-vendor relationship as they show your partners that you’re invested in them and their success, as well as your own. 

The Welcome Kit

This should be the first thing you send your partners. The welcome kit helps familiarize your partners with your partner program, processes, and your partner portal. This should be a sequence of 5 emails sent within the first few weeks of the partnership. 

The first email should be a welcome message introducing the partner to their channel manager and explaining the onboarding process. If you choose to include a video message with this email, it should be a minimum of 60 seconds. The following emails after that should introduce your partner program, your products, and your partner portal. You may choose to use videos for these introductions as well. If you choose to use video, then the video can be 2 to 5 minutes long as you are introducing and explaining how things work. 

Finally, you should include a summary email restating the information given in the previous emails. This final email should also include their channel manager’s contact information and links to any resources they may find useful. 

The Weekly News Brief

This is a single email containing any relevant industry news, company news, and other information that your partners can use to plan their upcoming week. This email should also mention any upcoming events that partners may be interested in attending and should include links to further information. 

You can also include any sales or marketing tips that your partners may find useful. You can also mention a blog post you read or a podcast you listened to make the email sound more personable. This email can be sent early Monday morning or on Friday the previous week. 

Notifications About Events Your Partner May Like to Attend 

Like your customers, your partners should also get notifications for company-hosted events that are relevant to them. These can be partner-exclusive events such as “meet and greets” that allow partners to meet their channel managers in a less corporate setting. They can also be events open to anyone such as trade shows and industry conferences.  

Along with the emails and reminders about the event, your partners should also receive an additional email(s) with tips on how to get the most out of the event. You can send them tips such as how to estimate the number of business cards they’ll need to hand out at the event or best practices on following up with potential leads after the event. 

Surveys Asking for Your Partners’ Opinions 

Surveys are a great way to ask your partners questions about your partner program, your products, and their overall impression of your company. These surveys should be sent out on a regular basis such as quarterly or annually. You want to send your surveys frequently enough to spot emerging trends, but you also don’t want to annoy your partners by sending them too frequently. You may need to do some testing to find the frequency that works best for your partners. 

To find out more about when and how you should survey your partners, take a look at our post on why you should survey your channel partners

Thank Your Partners

Everyone loves feeling appreciated. They want to know they’ve done a good job, made important contributions, and that you recognize those contributions. Thanking your partners for a good quarter, helping you win an award or other important contributions goes a long way in generating goodwill. 

While you can certainly send them an email expressing your thanks, why not give your thank you a more personal touch. Sending your partner a video message expressing your thanks shows that you’re sincere. Video messages take time to make and won’t give your partner the impression that you’re just “checking the box” on having a good partner relationship. 

Conclusion

By communicating with your partners on a regular basis, you increase their engagement and grow your relationship. First, you should send them a welcome kit to make sure your relationship gets off to a good start. This shows your partners that you’re willing to invest in them and their success. The other messages you send will only reinforce that impression. 

You should send them a weekly news brief with professional development tips, company and industry news, and anything else they may find relevant. This builds upon the good impression you made with the welcome kit and sets you up as an authority they can contact when they have questions or need advice. You should also send them notifications for any events you think they may be interested in and include tips on how to make the most out of those events. This can help your partners get more leads and grow professionally, making them more likely to attend those events in the future. 

Also, send them regular messages thanking them for their contributions. These messages show that you recognize their work and appreciate them. Keep sending them your newsletter as well. This should include their successes and recap any major updates, news, and other events that occurred during the month or quarter. Finally, you should be sending them regular surveys to get their feedback. This shows your partners that you’re interested in their opinions and are invested in their success. 

Video Messages to Engage Your Partners

For the past few years, video has been on the rise. According to a survey done by Lemonlight,  99% of respondents liked watching video content from brands. 98% of those respondents also believed that video will play a larger role in the future. However, video doesn’t just have to be for your customers or your partners’ customers. You can use video to generate more partner engagement. 

Unlike a monthly newsletter, videos can feel more personal. Your partners are also more likely to watch them than read an email. But definitely follow up with an email. 

Videos also take more time to produce letting your partners know you’re taking the time to provide them with a good experience. If sent early enough, they can also help you and your partners start off on the right foot. Video helps you improve the partner-vendor relationship and increase your reputation among your partners, making them more likely to recommend you to their customers. 

Video Messages You Should Send Your Partners

There are 3 kinds of messages that you should use video for: a welcome message, an end-of-the-year message, and messages about product, company, or partner program updates. Including video in these messages can make them feel more personal to your partner.  

Introduce Your Partner to the Important Things 

Video is a great way to introduce your partners to yourself, your company, and your partner program. You should start with a greeting video from yourself and the channel manager that your partner will be working with. This video should be short, about a minute long, and let the partner know how to reach their channel manager. It should also let them know the next steps. 

The next part of the campaign can be a series of emails introducing your partner to the partner program and their partner portal. You can also send them a series of short videos that teach them how to do common things such as accessing marketing collateral and registering a deal. These videos/emails will quickly onboard your partner and start your relationship on a positive note. 

The End of The Year Message

Instead of sending your partners a generic happy holidays message, why not send them a video? With a video, you can end the year on a positive note by having their channel manager give them a personalized holiday message. As it’s the holidays, you can get creative in these videos by conveying your wishes in a festive way such as having your pets dressed in holiday wear and holding up a festive sign. 

You can also follow up the holiday message with a more formal email reminding your partners of any end-of-the-year housekeeping they need to do such as getting in their MDF requests before the deadline or registering any last-minute deals. This type of message aims to end the year on a positive note and lets your partner know you’re thinking of them. 

Product, Company, or Partner Program Updates 


These updates aim to keep your partner in the loop on any new products you release, any changes you’ve made to your partner program, major product changes, and more. This is a good way to personally explain any major changes that could affect your partner. It’s also a good way to demo your new product to your partners and get them excited about it. 

Aside from keeping your partners in the loop, these videos can convey your excitement about working with your partners. Videos can show a lot more emotion than can be conveyed through an email, so they can show your enthusiasm about new changes that benefit your partners, upcoming events, and any other great news you want to convey. 

Sending Video Messages with xAmplify

You can use our video campaign feature in xAmplify to send your partner these video messages. After you have your videos created, the next step is to create a campaign. You can do this on the xAmplify platform in just a few steps. 

  1. Upload your video into the content section
  2. Create your video template in the design section
  3. Create your video campaign in the campaigns section
  4. Schedule or send to your partners. 

To see how video campaigns work in xAmplify, contact us.

 Conclusion

Video is a great way to engage with your partners. It helps keep your partners in the loop on any changes that affect them and introduces them to new products. It also makes a great impression on them when you use video during the onboarding process and helps them get to know their channel manager better. Using it at the end of the year helps conclude the year on a positive note and strengthens your partner-vendor relationship. 

The True Cost of Creating Your Own Channel Marketing Automation

Did you know that creating a complete marketing automation stack by yourself will cost you more than you think each month? And this isn’t the cost of building an entire marketing automation platform yourself. That would cost a lot more in time and money. We took a look at some of the most common marketing automation tools out there and, based on our research, estimated the monthly costs of each. We also factored in the additional costs of using it with your partners. 

What you need to make your own marketing automation system

Have you ever looked at marketing automation software and considered doing it yourself? There are a lot of tools that handle various aspects of automation, and they also offer integration with each other. So, in theory, it shouldn’t be too difficult to put everything together.

Your marketing automation stack

A basic marketing automation platform offers email marketing, social media marketing features, learning material, a dashboard and sometimes landing pages and video. 

The optional features like landing pages and video make it easier to create, host, and easily share these content types with your partners and customers. Email marketing automation makes it easier to set up emails and send them at the right time. Social media marketing features allow you to manage multiple accounts in a single place and post to all of them at once. You’ll also need learning material, especially to teach your partners about your products. Automation can help you keep track of your partner’s learning progress. Finally, having a dashboard pulls everything together so you can see all of your data in one place. 

To put all of this together, you will need a minimum of 6 separate platforms that, hopefully, integrate with each other. Specific platforms such as Hootsuite, which offers social media features, help you automate a specific piece of your marketing. This is great if all you need to do is automate that one marketing piece. But, you’ll probably want to automate most of it. 

Factors you need to consider

There are several factors you need to consider when setting up your own marketing automation stack. 

  • Price
  • Training time
  • Your set up time 
  • Integration time and management
  • Your partners time
  • The MDF costs for your partner’s tech stack

The first factor you need to consider is obviously price. Buying individual platforms will be a lot more expensive than buying just one. Here’s a rough estimate of costs you can expect to see: 

TypeExample PlatformPrice
Social MediaHootsuite$129/month (3 users)
DAMBox$35/month/user
LearningTalentLMS$129/month (100 users)
Landing PagesInstapage$299/month
Email SendGrid$250/month (30k emails)
VideoWistia$99/month (10 vids + $0.25/vid/month)
DashboardSisense$200/month
Total$1,141 minimum

The cost per platform varies greatly. Some of these costs include users and some of them do not. If the number of users/emails/videos you need is greater than what the plan calls for, you’ll naturally pay more. 

But, price is just one factor in setting up the stack. You also have to consider the amount of time it takes to learn and adopt all of these platforms. You may have to spend weeks training all of your partners on each of them. Some of these platforms may offer training, but that’ll most likely be an additional cost. You’ll also need to coordinate schedules, which takes time out of your day. You may also need to get executive buy-in, which means you’ll be spending time trying to justify why you need all of these platforms when you could be doing more important work instead. 

There are also integration costs to consider as well. In some of these plans, the number of integrations is limited and you may need to purchase the higher tier to get the integrations you need. And once you integrate them, you can only use them for a certain period of time before the integration permissions expire and you have to renew the permissions. Depending on how things are set up, this could take a few hours to an entire day. 

You may also need to pull your IT team away from their work to help with the integration, especially if it needs admin permissions. This takes them away from their own important work which could potentially slow progress on your company’s next big project. 

Your partners will also need to set up these automations on their end, so they may be asking you and your IT team for help. This means you and your IT team may have to balance your partners’ requests for help with your own company requests. This can result in partner requests not being answered on time which leaves partners feeling neglected. 

They may also submit MDF requests for the licensing costs as your plan most likely won’t cover them. This takes money away from lead generation activities your partner may be doing such as hosting webinars and attending trade shows. This may result in you needing to increase your total MDF budget which can potentially result in additional costs. 

Why use a platform built for channel marketing automation?

Creating your own marketing automation stack is expensive, in terms of both money and time. Costs add up quickly, and those costs only increase with a large partner program. Basic marketing automation platforms tend to have everything you need for marketing automation and can save you thousands in monthly and annual costs. They can also save you time and effort and allow you to focus more on your partners than on setting up and managing your own marketing automation stack. 

Take us, for example. We are a marketing automation platform specifically designed for the channel marketing space. 

We give you:

  • Video hosting 
  • Landing page and PDF creation
  • Social Media marketing features 
  • Customized dashboards for you and your partners 
  • Unlimited storage for all of your sales and marketing content
  • Email campaigns, video campaigns, event campaigns, landing page campaigns, and social media campaigns
  • A built-in LMS
  • Single Sign-On
  • Unlimited users for you and your partners

Most marketing automation platforms tend to be all-inclusive in their pricing model. This is a lot more affordable than being charged for multiple platforms and multiple features. 

You’ll also save time as you and your partners only have to learn one platform instead of several. You won’t waste time checking if all of your platforms are compatible with each other. You also won’t have to keep track of when you need to renew your integration permissions as all of the features you need are contained in one single platform. 

You also don’t need to remember more than one login as most marketing automation platforms come with Single Sign-On, so you can access them using just your company login and password. With a platform made for marketing automation, you’ll save yourself money, time, and the frustration of having to keep track of all the different platforms you’re using. 

When you buy a channel marketing automation platform, you get unlimited users for both you and your partners. This means that everyone on your team and your partners’ teams can have an account on the platform without incurring any additional costs. It’s all included. This means that your partners can stop submitting MDF requests for licensing costs and go back to submitting MDF requests for lead-generating and other development activities. 

For more information about how marketing automation can help your business and how much you can save by using xAmplify, schedule a call

Conclusion

Marketing automation is a great way to make marketing easier for you and your partners. But trying to create your own marketing automation stack often defeats this purpose. Creating your own stack will likely cost you a lot in time and money. You’ll need several platforms to do the work of a dedicated marketing automation platform, and you’ll need to purchase additional licenses for the number of additional users you have. 

A basic marketing automation platform does the work of many, saving you time and money. as you typically pay for the platform plus a set number of contacts. There’s no need to worry about incurring additional costs as your number of contacts increases. Unlimited users are included.  

So, ultimately, you can choose to individually set up your marketing automation using different platforms, in hopes you can easily integrate across them all, or you can simply save yourself hours of unnecessary work and potentially thousands of dollars by using a designated channel marketing automation platform.