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Ways to Enhance Your Brand-Channel Relationship (From Your Partners’ Perspective)

A look at the challenges and opportunities in the brand-channel partnership, as told through the partners’ point of view.

July 24, 2019

Editor’s note: In mid-June, we brought together some of our technology clients — Cisco, Sage, Citrix, and Red Hat — to discuss challenges and opportunities associated with market development fund (MDF) programs. We had lively debates and discussions, heard outside perspectives from Forrester and CDW, and shared program best practices. This is the second article in a series that captures our learnings and workshop highlights.

Do you ever wonder what the day-to-day is like for your channel partners? We do. They are the primary end users of our Ansira Edge Technology Suite™, so we wanted their perspective represented at our recent MDF workshop. We asked CDW Partner Investment Supervisor Tristan Towne to lead a panel discussion. Her team handles more than 300 partners, for whom MDF is one source of funding.

On any given day, her team shepherds more than 50 MDF claim activities through their various original equipment manufacturer (OEM) processes — of which no two are the same. Roughly seven to 10 people within the partner organization (CDW in this case) touch some aspect of the claims process, and those stakeholders stretch across departments, from marketing to finance. Each stakeholder has a role to play, but his or her activities often occur in isolation.

With help from Towne, we covered a range of topics and delved deep into MDF challenges and opportunities as partners see them. These are some of the takeaways from our discussion:

Top partner challenges:

  • Ambiguous language in program guidelines
  • Not enough communication surrounding program guidelines
  • Not enough lead time when updates or changes are made to a program
  • Difficulties with certain proof of performance (POP) requirements based on policy, regulations, or common marketplace practices (e.g., leveraging media-buying power by entity)
  • Siloed stakeholder activity

Top opportunities for greater partner engagement:

  • Training, especially for larger partners who might work across multiple OEMs in a vertical, because they add new team members all the time
  • Segmenting partner communication to ensure all stakeholders receive relevant information
  • Helping partners think about what needs to be done to earn funding, not just that funds are available
  • Helping partners find ways to nurture leads if your products aren’t click-to-buy
  • Consider policy over preference and determine if POP is really a requirement
  • Bridge the gap created by GDPR and ideate feasibility of using a third-party list match
  • Reconsider the program metrics captured and use custom analytics to illustrate partner growth in different ways

This information not only provided critical input for the remainder of our workshop, but it also reminded us that insights don’t have to be revelatory to make an impact.

Read other articles in our MDF workshop series:

About the Author

Courtney Acuff
VP, Marketing and Product Marketing

Courtney is charged with commercializing Ansira’s proprietary technology and with crafting, deploying, measuring, and optimizing data-driven marketing, public relations (PR), and customer engagement campaigns.

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