While indirect sales channels and the channel marketing programmes are often vital in the B2B arena, many organisations have yet to achieve the business value on which their channel programme or strategy was based, according to a white paper from PlanetDNA.
The white paper, entitled 'Adopting an intelligent approach to building sustainable value from indirect channels', points out that countless organisations the world over have already embraced channel marketing and sales strategies, and have set up channel marketing programmes of varying sizes and complexities.
However, the paper examines some of the common reasons why these channel programmes and strategies fail, and presents a comprehensive framework to assist those organisations in building more intelligent business processes that can deliver sustainable value from their indirect sales channels.
For example, some of the key reasons that channel programmes fail include:
- They have a short-term tactical focus (no strategic imperative);
- They're seen as "something marketing does";
- They're driven by tactical revenue generation;
- There's no baseline on current activities;
- There's no tracking or measuring of results over time;
- There's only poor quality channel data and historical sales pattern analysis;
- There's no scalable infrastructure;
- Too much time is spent on executing, and not enough on analysing what's working and what isn't;
- Vendor-created schemes are not being properly validated before launching.
But the most significant reason that channel programmes fail, the company argues, is simply a lack of senior executive sponsorship, leading to a tactical rather than a strategic response. More often than not, this results in channel marketing initiatives not being seen or managed as a strategic asset.
As a result, companies that are running successful channel programmes and initiatives are generally adopting a more strategic approach. In fact the paper reports that adjusting channel strategies and programmes can take between 18 and 24 months, so senior management must take a long-term view regarding the value it will create, and not become distracted or discouraged by short-term results.
Companies with a long-term approach have, albeit sometimes unconsciously, taken a systematic approach to the problem. PlanetDNA describes this approach as 'Intelligent Channel Marketing', and its key characteristics usually include a desire to move from traditional short-term attitudes to more holistic and longer-term thinking.
The white paper has been made available on request from PlanetDNA - click here (free registration required).