Marketing partnerships can be one of the smartest ways for your B2B company to grow. You can create the perfect environment for healthy B2B partner relationships when you align your objectives and optimize resources with the right partners.

You gain access to their customers, expertise, and networks while extending your reach and accelerating sales. However, doing partner marketing well is tricky. There are so many moving parts and partners to manage that programs often become a disorganized mess, limiting their impact.

Read this comprehensive guide for co-marketing partnerships to get the right info on how to avoid those setbacks. We’ll cover utilizing proven strategies for developing high-performance partner marketing initiatives.

We’ll also cover everything from selecting the right partners and activating them to measuring success and continuously improving your program.

What Is B2B Partner Marketing?

Partnering with other businesses is a great way to supercharge your own growth.

When you join forces with complementary companies, you gain the benefits of each other’s networks, new customers, and expertise. B2B partner marketing is all about finding the right allies to help build brand awareness.  

The first step to successful business partnerships is finding partners in your ecosystem who complement what you offer.

Look for companies serving a different but related customer group. You want synergy where 1+1 equals more than 2! Take time to select partners that share your values and brand spirit.  

Once you agree to team up, define concrete goals for sales funnel optimization, like increasing leads, sales, or new markets share. Map out how you’ll support each other in building a strong online presence—maybe cross-promoting products in your social media marketing, sharing content, or exhibiting at the same events.

A partner portal or platform will be helpful in specifying each party’s responsibilities to avoid misunderstandings down the road.

Track leads you generate using B2B partnership marketing software like Google Analytics or partner management software. Are you able to generate leads that are qualified? Winning more potential customers? If not, don’t be afraid to tweak your joint marketing plan.  

Above all, foster open and honest B2B partner communication of your business objectives. Collaboration works best when both sides feel heard and respected. Work together to create fresh, exciting promotions that highlight the combined strengths of your brands.

B2B partner marketing amplifies what you do best by teaming up with a company that complements your offerings. With the right partners, careful planning, and ongoing collaboration, you can help each other grow faster together than apart.

What are the Benefits of Marketing Partnerships For B2B Companies

B2B partner marketing can be a powerful way for companies to expand their customer reach. It also helps manage leads, increase sales, and strengthen their brand as they enter new markets. Here are some of the key benefits:

Increase your reach and exposure

In a partnership two companies can market to each of their existing customers. This referral marketing initiative allows you to have increased brand awareness, by leveraging your partners’ established relationships and personal connection with potential customers.

Lower acquisition costs

B2B partner marketing activities often cost less than acquiring customers through traditional channels. By piggybacking on your partners’ sales and marketing efforts, you spend less on customer acquisition.

Build trust through associations

Partnering with reputable and well-known companies in your industry helps boost confidence in your brand and products among prospective customers. Your partners lend you their credibility and trust.

Reduce marketing workload

Partnering with complementary companies means sharing the workload for marketing campaigns and initiatives. This lets you split costs and responsibilities while still gaining valuable exposure for your brand.

Strengthen your value propositions

Partnering can enhance or add value to your products or services and helps differentiate you from competitors and build stronger value propositions for customers.

Diversify your expertise

Partnering with companies that have expertise in areas where you lack knowledge gives you access to skills and capabilities you wouldn’t otherwise have. This makes your overall offering more robust and compelling.

The Importance of A Comprehensive Partner Marketing Strategy For Successful Collaborations

Partner relationships in marketing involve collaborating with other businesses to endorse each other’s goods and solutions, widening the reach of each.

This strategy allows companies to gain admittance to new consumer portions, increase their offerings, and reduce sales process time.

For partner marketing campaigns to be optimal for all parties, it’s important to implement an inclusive strategy that factors in everyone’s goals and needs. Some key elements include:

Align goals and objectives

Both partners need to have clearly defined and aligned goals for the collaboration. What results do they want to achieve in terms of sales, brand awareness, and leads? Ambiguity leads to diverging priorities and disjointed efforts.

Understand roles and responsibilities

There must be transparency and agreement on what each B2B partner is expected to contribute and what they are accountable for. This includes budgets, content marketing, social media, PR, etc.

Cohesive branding and messaging

The partner brands’ messaging and tone of voice should complement each other and form a cohesive narrative for customers. This ensures the collaboration comes across as authentic and well-planned.

Joint go-to-market plan

There should be a unified strategy for approaching and engaging customers, triggering demand, and driving action. This plan leverages the combined strengths and audiences of both partners.

Metrics and key performance indicators

Both partners need to agree on how they will measure the success of the collaboration through metrics like lead volume, conversion rate, revenue, customer satisfaction, etc. They then review these KPIs regularly and make adjustments as needed.

Governance structure

There must be a defined governance structure that outlines team roles, lines of communication, frequency of updates, escalation paths and decision-making protocols. This keeps the collaboration aligned and progressing smoothly.

How to Identify and Attract Potential Partners

Before seeking out potential new partners, take time to clearly define who your ideal partner would be.

What business or organization would be a good strategic fit? What qualities or capabilities would complement your own?

Having a clear partner persona in mind will focus your search and outreach. Also, define your value proposition for a potential partner.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why would marketing together in a partnership be mutually beneficial?
  • What can you offer that fills a need for your partner?
  • How will the co-marketing partnership create mutual goals and beneficial synergies?

Being able to clearly articulate this value will strengthen your proposals.

Utilize your industry networks and connections to identify potential partners. Talk to associates, customers, investors, and industry leaders for recommendations.

Search industry databases, directories, and event attendees lists. Scan social media for relevant organizations and influencers in your space.

Once you have potential partners in mind, thoroughly research them online. Look for information on their website, social profiles, press mentions, and reviews to deeply understand their business, capabilities, needs, and culture. If possible, get introduced by a mutual connection for a first conversation.

Once you’ve identified suitable partners, craft personalized outreach messages that demonstrate you’ve thoroughly researched and understand their business.

Tailor your value proposition to align with their specific needs and goals. Keep messages concise but compelling, highlighting the meaningful benefits of a partnership.

When ready, craft a formal partnership proposal document that outlines marketing partnerships opportunities, roles/responsibilities, value creation metrics, risks, and next steps. Have higher-level executives send personalized introductory emails with the proposal attached.

Treat objections as opportunities for clarification and adjustment rather than rejection. Address objections genuinely and revise your proposals accordingly. Focus on persuading through value creation rather than hard selling.

Establish rapport and credibility with potential partners through multiple conversations to gain trust. Involve higher-level executives where needed. Don’t be afraid to compromise and adjust proposals based on partners’ feedback.

Treat negotiation as a collaborative effort of value creation. Once agreement is reached, develop a plan to activate and maximize the partnership’s potential.

How to Develop a Partner Marketing Strategy

Developing a successful partner relationships and marketing strategy requires laying a foundation consisting of two key cornerstones. This includes aligning shared goals and objectives, and articulating a compelling value proposition for each partner.

Defining Shared Goals And Objectives

The first step in developing a successful partner marketing efforts and strategy are to clearly define shared goals and objectives. Sit down with potential partners and have an open discussion to understand what each party hopes to achieve from a partnership. While your goals may overlap in some areas, each partner will also have unique priorities.

Finding that sweet spot of mutual benefit is key. Discuss things like:

  • Traffic and leads you each want to generate
  • Customers or audiences you want to reach that the other has access to
  • Marketing initiatives you can collaborate on to boost brand awareness and sales
  • Metrics you’ll measure success against, like website visits, signups, conversions, etc.

The more aligned your goals, the more effective the partnership will likely be in helping both parties achieve what they set out to do.

So take the time upfront to fully understand each other’s priorities and synergies. Then develop a shared vision and objectives that leverage those synergies.

Building A Strong Value Proposition

Just as important as aligning goals is articulating a clear and compelling value proposition for the partnership. Each partner needs to understand the tangible benefits they’ll gain by working with the other.

Your value prop should spell out:

  • The problem you solve or need you fulfill for the partner and their customers
  • How your brand, products, services, or audience can help them achieve their goals
  • Any exclusive access, content, promotions, package deal, or loyalty program perks you can offer
  • Metrics showing the impact you’ve had on similar partners in the past
  • Testimonials and case studies to demonstrate your value in action

With a strong value proposition, partners have a crystal clear idea of what’s in it for them—reducing doubts and helping ensure the partnership gets off on the right foot. They can then internalize that value to their own customers and audiences, magnifying the impact of your combined efforts.

How to Create a Collaborative Campaign Plan and Campaign Motion

Effective partnership marketing requires collaboration at every step, from conducting research to selecting channels to nurturing leads. Working together, partners can develop a more robust, dynamic marketing campaign that leverages the strengths of each brand.

Here are some of the ways to ensure a successful collaborative campaign plan:

Conducting Joint Market Research

Conducting joint market research is the first step toward creating an aligned campaign. By surveying shared customers together, partners gain insights into customer needs, pain points, interests, and preferences.

This research helps partners identify complementary solutions and strategies that will resonate most for the target audience.

Co-Creating Marketing Assets and Content

Co-creating marketing assets and content creation allows partners to develop consistent messaging that highlights their shared value proposition. Jointly produced articles, case studies, videos, infographics, ads, and more can tell a compelling story that combines the offers of both brands.

Partners can use their respective creative teams or enlist outside agencies to develop the highest quality assets.

Choosing Effective Marketing Channels

Choosing effective marketing channels as a team ensures partners cover the appropriate range of channels to reach the target audience. This may include owned channel partnerships like social media platforms, email marketing, websites, blogs, newsletters, and paid channels like search, display, and influencer campaigns. Social media strategies should also be aligned to amplify each other’s posts.

Implementing Lead Generation and Nurturing Strategies

Implementing lead generation and nurturing strategies in an integrated way is key. Partners must work together to develop funnel stages, qualifying questions, call scripts, offer guidelines, and more.

The ultimate goal is to pass qualified leads to the right partner at the right time to maximize revenue for both sides. With aligned processes and tools, partners can create a seamless experience that converts interested prospects into loyal customers.

The Importance of Channel Partner Enablement and Support

Channel enablement and support is crucial for success in an indirect sales and distribution model. Partners deserve the proper training, resources, and backing from vendors to efficiently and profitably sell, provision, and service vendor products and solutions.

With a robust channel enablement program, partners can:

Leverage Partner Training and Resources

  • Receive comprehensive product training on key features, configuration, and use cases
  • Get access to marketing assets like sales decks, brochures, and presentations
  • Leverage enablement marketing materials that educate their own employees and customers
  • Utilize enablement portals with knowledge bases, certifications, and billing resources

The most effective vendors provide tiered training and support based on partner level. Basic training covers the vendor’s full product line at a high level, while advanced training dives into specific product areas and strategies. Vendors should constantly refresh marketing materials to align with product releases and strategic shifts.

Coordinate Marketing Activities

  • Partners require marketing support in the form of demand-generation campaigns, co-branded marketing materials, and event sponsorship
  • Vendors facilitate joint marketing activities, including webinars, seminars, trade show booths, and customer events
  • Communication channels keep partners informed of product news, promotions, success stories, and best practices
  • Vendors provide access to an automated partner marketing platform to launch their own campaigns using vendor-provided assets and templates

Channel enablement is critical to empower partners with the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to leverage a vendor’s products and solutions. Comprehensive training programs and deep marketing support lead to higher partner, and ultimately vendor, success.

How to Optimize and Measure Partner Marketing Performance

Optimizing partner marketing programs and measuring their impact is key to maximizing performance. With the right metrics and insights, you can continuously improve your strategies and activities.

Here are the main areas to focus on:

Tracking Partner Marketing Metrics

The first step is gathering the right metrics to track performance. Common marketing metrics include:

  • Revenue generated through partners: This shows the actual impact of your partner program.
  • Leads generated: How many new prospects are you acquiring through partners?
  • Impressions and click-through: For content and digital marketing programs with partners.
  • Campaign participation: How many partners are actively engaged in different initiatives?

By tracking these metrics over time, you can see which partners and campaigns are most effective. Look for trends that indicate where you need to improve or scale up.

Gathering Partner Feedback And Insights

In addition to numbers, you need qualitative insights from your partners. Conducting surveys, interviews, and focus groups can reveal:

  • Challenges partners are facing in promoting your brand
  • New campaign ideas partners would like to see
  • Additional resources or support that could help improve results

Partners have a unique perspective that can inspire fresh innovations for your program. Listen to their feedback to identify opportunities for improvement.

Iterative Optimization Of Partner Marketing Strategies

Armed with metrics and partner insights, you can then make data-driven optimizations to your partner marketing strategies. Start with small tests and experiments, then scale up the changes that prove successful.

Over time, through this iterative process of measurement, feedback, and optimization, you can constantly refine your partner marketing program to achieve maximum impact and value. Metrics will show you the results of your optimizations, and the cycle begins again with new insights from partners.

With the right framework for measuring and optimizing performance, partner marketing can contribute meaningfully to your overall objectives for business growth.

How to Scale and Manage Successful Partner Relationships and Marketing Programs

Partner marketing programs have the potential to greatly expand your reach and customers. But as these programs scale, managing them effectively becomes a challenge.

To truly optimize and manage partner marketing, you need systems and processes in place to scale successfully while maintaining performance standards. You must consider the following to succeed:

Scaling Successful Campaigns And Partnerships

As your partner marketing programs grow, you’ll need systems and processes in place to effectively scale and manage them. Here are some keys to scaling:

  • Automate as much as possible: Use marketing technology platforms that allow you to easily track partners, campaigns, incentives, performance, and payouts. Systems like CRM tools and partner portals can save time and reduce manual work.
  • Establish clear performance expectations upfront: Set clear goals and KPIs for each campaign. Make sure partners understand exactly what they need to do to qualify for incentives. The clearer you are on performance expectations, the easier it will be to scale.
  • Implement a tiered partner system: Group partners into tiers based on factors like sales volume, long-term commitment, exclusivity, and strategic value. Offer higher tiers greater access, resources, and incentives. This will encourage top performance from your most valuable partners.
  • Monitor progress closely: As programs scale, it becomes more challenging to keep close tabs on individual partners. Use your systems and automated reports to stay on top of performance across the board and catch any issues early. Conduct periodic reviews with key partners.

Establishing Performance-Based Incentives

Incentive programs are essential for recruiting and motivating partners. Successful incentive programs tie payouts closely to actual performance:

  • Offer multiple partner incentive types: Combine partner incentives like revenue shares, bounties, bonuses, and product discounts. Partners value a mix of short and long-term incentives.
  • Measure impact, not just activity: Don’t just reward activity and inputs, but actual sales generated or customers acquired. Make incentives truly performance-based.
  • Set tiered goals and payouts: Offer progressively higher incentives as partners hit more aggressive performance tiers. This gives them something to strive for and rewards top performance.
  • Automate payouts: Automated systems that tie into your CRM and sales data can calculate incentive earnings accurately and then automatically issue payouts. This cuts down on administrative work and disputes.
  • Evaluate incentives regularly: As campaigns ramp up and markets change, review your incentives to ensure they’re still motivating the behaviors and performance you want. Make adjustments as needed.

Future Trends and Innovations in B2B Partner Marketing

Businesses are always looking for innovative ways to market themselves to other small businesses and strategic partners. As technology evolves exponentially, new channels and tools emerge regularly that can radically change B2B marketing strategies.

Here are some of the key trends and innovations that will shape the future of B2B partner marketing:

AI Integration and Machine Learning

One of the most revolutionary technologies that will impact B2B partner marketing in coming years is artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

AI can sift through enormous amounts of data and partner information to provide actionable insights for identifying and engaging potential partners.

By analyzing past campaigns, network structures, and partner interactions, AI can recommend optimized messaging, targeting, and frequency.

AI chatbots and virtual assistants can also automate routine interactions with partners, freeing up marketers for more strategic tasks.

As AI improves and adapts continuously through machine learning techniques, it will become an indispensable tool for personalizing messaging, optimizing campaigns, and scaling partner programs.

AI has the potential to deeply impact every stage of the marketing funnel, from identifying prospect partners based on buying signals and campaign responses. It has the potential to assist in tailoring diverse messages and offers for partners at varied stages of deliberation.

Artificial intelligence can also assist in optimizing partner incentives and rewards programs and providing analysis and suggestions during ongoing partner interactions.

Using artificial intelligence, B2B marketers can create more qualified and successful partnerships with higher odds of success in less time.

Exploring Emerging Channels and Technologies

Besides AI, marketers will experiment with emerging technologies and mediums that introduce innovative means to engage business associates. We currently witness B2B brands utilizing front-running social networking platforms, including LinkedIn and Facebook, for partner marketing. Nevertheless, platforms such as TikTok and Instagram are likewise luring additional business clients and developing into valuable channels as time progresses.

Live video streaming and interactive virtual events are also delivering new engagement opportunities for businesses and their partners. Immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will give marketers innovative ways to demonstrate products, provide training, and nurture relationships with an “experience.” Blockchain technology also promises to make partner reward programs more transparent and efficient through tokenized incentives.

B2B marketers will explore these emerging technologies to engage partners in a more personal, interactive, and engaging manner. However, the most important innovations will lie in creative uses of data and AI to enhance every stage of partner marketing. This includes identifying the right partners, establishing meaningful relationships, and optimizing programs for mutual growth. Those organizations that can capitalize most effectively on these technological trends will gain a formidable advantage in nurturing valuable business partnerships.

Ready to accelerate your sales with B2B partner marketing?

Partner marketing continues to grow in importance for B2B companies seeking to boost sales and expand their reach.

By leveraging the expertise, networks, and credibility of strategic partners, partner marketing programs can increase pipeline generation, acquire new customers and enable deeper customer relationships.

Ready to get started? Contact us today!

Have you ever wondered how two brands can work together to create a win-win situation for both? Or have you been considering taking advantage of marketing together with partner businesses in a partner ecosystem or channel program?

That’s what co-marketing is all about — two brands collaborating to go to market together, supporting each other and promoting each other’s products and services.

When approached correctly, co-marketing campaigns can generate more leads and more revenue than solo campaigns in many ways.

This article will cover co-marketing and guide you through how to plan, execute and assess campaigns for partner revenue. You will learn to identify your ideal co-marketing partner and define your goals and metrics.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Co-Marketing?

Co-marketing is a strategic partnership when two or more businesses collaborate to advertise their products to a common shared prospective customer.

It’s often referred to as a “co-marketing motion” and typically involves a “co-branded” campaign that features both organizations’ logos, branding, and combined messaging that is relevant to the shared prospective customer.

Difference Between Co-marketing and Co-branding

Co-branding and co-marketing both represent combined communication between two or more businesses, but the approach to each differs.

With co-marketing, think of two partners in a partner ecosystem or channel program working together to actively promote their combined offering to shared customers. In co-marketing, the companies collaborating take advantage of each partner’s reach and understand that their shared value proposition is the differentiation that will be meaningful for the shared prospective customer.

On the other hand, with co-branding, the goal is to feature both partner brands to either create a unique product or a shared service that satisfies customers of both businesses. A strategic approach to partner co-branding will consider both brand styles and develop a combined or mutually-recognizable style.

Types of Co-marketing Campaigns

Partner businesses can benefit significantly in reaching new audiences from co-marketing campaigns. Let’s look at some of the different types of co-marketing campaigns to be inspired by.

Co-present a webinar

Partner brands can host a webinar discussing topics that link or relate to both of their existing customers. The benefit of a webinar is that it can show professionalism and educate the audience.

Co-publish an E-book or White Paper

Covering a topic of mutual interest and offering valuable tips in an e-book can foster better brand awareness and authority. You may decide the gate the content offer, so as to capture the contact details of prospects. Alternatively, you may decide to ungate the content as part of your demand generation strategy.

Run a contest together

Running contests is another way partner brands can grow their following and engagement. For example, engaging audiences in polls and quizzes to grow social networks.

Co-host a podcast

Podcasts are a new way to promote brand awareness and build loyalty and trust. Partner brands can interview experts and discuss industry trends or other topics in the podcast.

Co-host or co-sponsor an event

Whether in person or online, events are significant to engage audiences and offer value. Partner brands can use them to boost brand awareness and also be great for attendees to network and learn new best practices.

Benefits of Co-marketing Partnerships for Businesses

There are several benefits of co-marketing can deliver partnerships, and some common ones include:

Broader reach

Collaborating with other brands that share interchangeable audiences can help introduce one business to new leads.

Cost-effective and time-saving

Solo campaigns are expensive and take time to execute. However, partnering with other brands helps lower the workload and costs of running co-marketing campaigns.

Take advantage of partner strengths

If your partner brand has expertise in a specific area like research, you can leverage it. It will help both brands create better offers that fit and satisfy both audiences.

Gain credibility and trust

Partnering with a reputable brand helps build trustworthiness through association. In addition, it shows customers that you share the same ideals and values.

How Co-Branding Campaigns Can Boost Marketing Efforts

There are many ways a co-branding campaign can boost partner brands’ marketing efforts. Some of the popular ones include:

Differentiation creation

Uniqueness goes a long way in establishing yourself in a saturated market. That’s why co-branding can help partner businesses offer value no rival has.

Improving user experience

Customer experience is a priority for any business, and offering a product that satisfies various users’ needs is crucial.

Boosting retention and brand loyalty

Creating a product that customers connect with and solve their problems can help boost retention and loyalty. A co-branded product can help achieve that.

How to Find and Choose the Right Co-Marketing Partner

There are several ways that co-marketing can help tap into new markets, offer value, and cut costs. However, one question arises, How can you identify and pick the ideal co-marketing partner? Let’s look at some pointers.

Co-marketing is a great way to reach new audiences, save resources, and create value for your customers. But how do you find and choose the right co-marketing partner for your business? Here are some tips to help you with this process.

Tips for Identifying and Picking a Co-marketing Partner

Researching and assessing a co-marketing partner should be your first step. A partner that shares your values and matches your audience and ethics is what you’ll be looking for.

Not only that, but they also need to have an engaged customer profile and a positive rating that can integrate seamlessly with your budget and marketing strategy. So, some things to assist you are:

Site analytical assessment

Check your social network analytics, pair them with your website stats, and see who connects with your brand. You can find a prospective co-marketer that is looking for a collaboration.

Engage your clients

Talk with them and get insights on what they prefer, such as their alternative brand and if it relates to your business niche. From the information that you collect, you can find prospective co-marketers that share an interchangeable audience.

Explore your network

Among your close associates or colleagues, you can find a potential co-marketing partner. They are ideal because you already know them well and trust their personalities.

Scout competitors

Checking who your rivals are partnering with and what they are working on could be another option. You can sway them to join you and become co-marketing partners.

How to Assess a Co-Marketing Partner’s Reputation and Reach

You have shortlisted your prospective partners, now assess them thoroughly. Start by checking their recognition, and reach. See if they have credibility and if their audience trusts them.

Not only that, check if they still have relevancy and if they influence their audiences. Lastly, check if their values and objectives align with yours. Some tips to help you assess a co-marketing partner include:


Online ratings and testimonials are a great place to start since they show what their audience thinks of them. Check their blog posts and social networks and see how they convey their message and values.


Leverage tools like Social Blade or BuzzSumo and evaluate the prospective co-marketing partner’s reach. Go on and check their conversion rate either from their email list or any other source.


Check their published content on social networks or websites and see what they talk about. See if the content relates to your products or overall brand.

How Do You Contact Your Ideal Co-Marketing Partner?

You have assessed your prospective co-marketing partners, now you have to reach out to them with a concise and engaging proposal. Using a friendly but professional tone, introduce yourself and your business.

Next, engage them and discuss the reason you want them to become your co-marketing partner. Don’t forget to highlight the benefits they can get for partnering with you. Lastly, present them with your idea and let them know how it complements your business goals.

Now, to accomplish this, you need to:

Run a background check

It is the first thing you need to do before reaching out to them. Know their details like name, role, contacts, objectives, and obstacles. This information will help you customize your message and demonstrate that you understand them well.

Be Concise

The first thing you do when you make contact is let them know the purpose of your message. Make it simple and concise by expressing who you are, your business, and your goal of having a partner.

Use an engaging tone

Ensure you convey the benefits they will get after becoming your co-marketing partner. Expound on the partnership details by using data to showcase the potential.

Be Precise

Remember to highlight that your idea aligns with business objectives and target market. Let them know the type of campaign you are proposing, its structure, application, timeline, and each partner’s role.

How to Negotiate the Terms of a Partnership

After you have contacted your potential co-marketing partner and received a positive response, you need to negotiate the terms of the partnership. You want to ensure that both parties agree on the co-marketing campaign’s expectations, deliverables, roles, responsibilities, and metrics.

You also want to protect both parties from any legal or ethical issues arising from the partnership. Here are some tips to help you with this:

Be flexible

When negotiating the terms, be ready to compromise and adapt to your partner’s needs and preferences. Try to find a win-win solution that benefits both parties equally.

Be transparent

Be honest and open about your expectations, deliverables, roles, responsibilities, and metrics. Communicate clearly and frequently with your partner throughout the process.

Be respectful

Be respectful and courteous to your partner. Don’t pressure or manipulate them into agreeing to something they are uncomfortable with. Appreciate their input and feedback and acknowledge their contributions.

Be professional

Be professional and formal in your communication. Use proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and tone in your messages or emails. Follow up with your partner regularly and keep them updated on the progress of the co-marketing strategy.

How to Plan and Execute a Co-Marketing Campaign

Co-marketing can be a great way to boost your brand identity, generate leads, and grow companies involved network. But how do you plan and execute a successful co-marketing partnership with your partners? Here are some steps to help you with this process.

Defining Shared Objectives and Expected Outcomes

The first step to planning and executing co-marketing strategies is to define your shared objectives and expected outcomes. You and your partners need to agree on your goals, how to measure achievements, and how to split the costs and benefits.

Some tips to help you define your shared objectives and expected outcomes are by using:

The SMART framework

Means your objectives need to be “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.”

The RACI matrix

Assign who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed for each task or deliverable in the co-marketing partnership.

The OKR framework

Define your Objectives and Key Results for the co-marketing strategy.

Measuring and Analyzing Co-Marketing Campaign Performance

Co-marketing campaigns can help you reach new audiences, generate leads, and grow your network. But how do you measure and analyze their performance and impact? Here are some steps to help you with this process.

1. Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

The first step is establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) for your co-marketing campaign. KPIs are measurable values that indicate how well you achieve your objectives and outcomes. You should choose relevant, specific, and quantifiable KPIs for your co-marketing campaign. For example, some common KPIs for co-marketing strategy are:

  • Impressions: The number of times your co-marketing content gets displayed or viewed by your audience.
  • Clicks: The number of times your audience clicks on your co-marketing content or links.
  • Conversions: The number of times your audience completes a desired action after clicking on your co-marketing content.
  • Subscribers: The number of new email subscribers you gain from your co-marketing campaign.
  • Leads: The number of qualified prospects you generate from your co-marketing campaign.
  • Sales: The number of sales or revenue you generate from your co-marketing campaign.

2. Monitoring and Analyzing Campaign Data

The second step is to monitor and analyze your campaign data using tools like Google Analytics, HubSpot, or SEMrush. You should track and measure your KPIs throughout your brand partnerships and compare them with your goals and benchmarks.

For example, you can:

  • Compare the performance of different co-market content formats, channels, or platforms.
  • Segment your audience by demographics, behavior, or source and see how they respond to your co-marketing works.
  • Calculate your co-marketing campaign’s return on investment (ROI) or cost per acquisition (CPA).

3. Assessing the Impact on Partner Revenue

The third step is to assess the impact of your co-marketing campaign on your partner’s revenue. You should communicate and collaborate with your partner to share and analyze the results of your co-marketing campaign.

It would help if you also calculated the revenue share or profit split each partner receives from the co-marketing campaign. It should be on the basis of the terms and conditions of your partnership agreement.

You should also evaluate the value and satisfaction that each partner gains from the co-marketing campaign and see how it affects their business objectives and customer relationships.

4. Strengthening Co-Marketing Partnerships for Long-Term Success

The final step is to strengthen your co-marketing strategies for long-term success. You should maintain open communication channels with your partner and provide them with feedback for their contribution to the co-marketing campaign.

You should also evaluate your partner’s compatibility and performance and see if you want to continue or end the co-marketing efforts.

If you want to continue the partnership, you should scale up your successful campaigns and explore new opportunities for collaboration. To end the partnership, you should do it respectfully and professionally.

Co-marketing campaigns can be a powerful way to grow your business and network. Following these steps, you can measure and analyze their performance and impact and strengthen your co-marketing campaigns for long-term success.

Ready to explore how partner co-marketing can drive new revenue for your business?

Co-marketing is a powerful way to leverage the strengths and audiences of two or more partners to create value for both sides. Following this guide, you can plan, execute, and measure co-marketing campaigns that drive partner revenue and increase brand awareness.

Whether you want to co-create a product, a piece of content, or an event, co-marketing can help you reach new customers. It can also help boost your brand awareness.

Ready to get started? Contact us today!

Building a successful B2B tech business often hinges on fostering the right partnerships. While a larger network can boost your customer base and sales, the process isn’t as straightforward as it may seem.

Growing a channel partner program or partner ecosystem, finding the right fit partners, managing marketing efforts with partners, and coordinating co-selling strategies – these tasks require careful planning and execution.

This is where Ecosystem Qualified Leads (EQLs) can make a significant difference in the partnerships space. These aren’t just any leads; EQLs can help streamline partner relationships, optimizing engagement, alignment, and sales conversion.

But what exactly are EQLs? How do they function, and how can your business benefit from them? In this post, we’ll dive deep into understanding EQLs, their potential advantages, and how you can leverage them effectively.

What Are Ecosystem Qualified Leads (EQLs)?

Ecosystem Qualified Leads (EQLs) are new leads and potential customers that have been identified through an ecosystem marketing strategy and come from ecosystem partners.

Unlike traditional leads, EQLs are nurtured and identified within a collaborative business network, leveraging partnerships and integrations across the ecosystem. By interacting with different touch points in this ecosystem, these leads demonstrate higher engagement and alignment with the company’s product or service.

EQLs typically have a better understanding of the product value proposition and therefore present higher conversion potential and sales readiness, enhancing the effectiveness of the company’s sales and marketing efforts.

In some cases, EQLs are simply new leads that come to you from partners. In other cases, EQLs are net new leads to the whole ecosystem and are qualified based on their fit to the ecosystem itself.

What Are the Benefits of Ecosystem Qualified Leads?

With that said, let’s look at the main benefits that EQLs offer.

Access a Larger Pool of Leads

EQLs give you access to a larger network of prospects and potential customers. This is especially useful if your partners have different customer bases and may expose you to new markets or verticals.

By leveraging data from all your partners, you can quickly build up a larger pool of fresh leads that you might not have had access to before or might not have considered targeting. Plus, the lead sources are trusted. The result? New business for you!

Improved Targeting & Personalization

EQLs also enable you to better personalise your campaigns. By having access to detailed customer profiles from multiple partners, you can tailor your messages more effectively, increasing the chances of turning leads into paying customers.

Go-to-Market Strategies Expand to Include Go-to-Ecosystem

Leveraging EQLs makes it much easier to go to market together with your partners. That’s because if you have access to their data via a partner ecosystem platform, you get a better understanding of the best targets for your business and each of your partners.

This allows you to align your strategies more easily, maximizing the effectiveness of your joint partner marketing efforts and leading to more valuable partnerships.

How Do You Acquire Ecosystem Qualified Leads?

Ecosystem Qualified Leads are sourced through a network of partnerships and collaborations in a business ecosystem.

So where do Ecosystem Qualified Leads come from? Here are several ways a partner can acquire EQLs within this context:

Co-Marketing or Partner Marketing

Partners can collaborate on marketing activities that appeal to their shared audience. This can include webinars, content collaborations, joint events, or shared promotional campaigns. Leads generated from these activities who show a significant interest in both partners’ offerings can be considered EQLs.

Product Integration

When companies integrate their products or services, they can tap into each other’s customer base. A user from one product who expresses interest or starts using the integrated feature can be considered an EQL for the partner company.


Partners in an ecosystem often have complementary products or services. They can refer leads to each other when they identify a customer need that can be better addressed by the partner’s solution. This is especially the case when partners can upsell or cross-sell when they find overlapping customers as well.

Co-Selling Initiatives

When partners align their marketing and sales teams’ efforts to sell their solutions as a bundle or a comprehensive package, leads showing interest in this combined offering can become EQLs.

Data-sharing Partner Platforms/Marketplaces

Many larger companies have a partner ecosystem platform or marketplaces where partners can list their products or services. Leads that express interest in a partner’s offering via these platforms could be considered EQLs.

In essence, EQLs come from the intersection of collaborative efforts between companies within a partner ecosystem.

By working together, partners can mutually enhance their lead generation, enriching the pool of potential customers who are already interested and engaged within the ecosystem.

How Can You Ensure Success With Your EQLs?

Once you’ve acquired your EQLs, the next step is to ensure you make the most out of them. Here are some tips:

Set Clear Goals & Objectives

Before you get started, it’s important to define clear objectives for your campaigns. This will help you create tailored messages that are more likely to resonate with your target audience and track and measure your efforts’ success.

For your B2B tech company, you may aim to increase the number of accounts that convert within the first month or two. Setting this objective can help guide your entire strategy and ensure that each step of the process aligns with it.

Create Targeted Outreach Campaigns

Once you have set your objectives, you can create targeted outreach campaigns for each of your EQLs. This should include a mix of emails, direct cold calls by sales teams, and personal messages that speak to their particular needs.

Create Valuable Content

Your interaction with your EQLs should be more than just selling—you should focus on providing them with the educational content and resources they need to make an informed decision.

Make Use of Automation

The process of outreach and engagement with your EQLs can be quite time-consuming. To save time and effort, consider using automation tools such as marketing automation software or chatbots to automate certain parts of the process. This will help you scale up your efforts with personalized content without investing too much of your time.

Keep Track of Performance

Finally, it’s important to keep track of your campaigns’ performance to identify improvement areas and maximise ROI. This can be done easily with a CRM tool that allows you to monitor lead engagement, conversion rates, and more.

Ecosystem Qualified Lead vs Marketing Qualified Lead: What’s the Difference?

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Ecosystem Qualified Leads (EQLs) are both crucial in lead generation strategies but represent different aspects of the lead qualification process.


MQLs are typically generated through traditional marketing activities like digital advertising, content marketing, social media engagement, and meet various marketing qualification criteria such as company size or ideal customer profile. On the other hand, EQLs are generated through partnerships within a collaborative business ecosystem, such as integrations, co-selling, or co-marketing efforts.

Qualification Process

MQLs are leads that have engaged with a company’s marketing efforts and have shown enough interest to be considered more likely to become customers. In contrast, EQLs have interacted with different touch points in a broader business ecosystem and demonstrated higher engagement and alignment with the company’s product or service.

Sales Readiness

MQLs have shown interest in the company’s offerings and are deemed ready for the next step in the sales process. However, EQLs are often more sales-ready as they have a better understanding of the product value proposition due to their interactions within the ecosystem, resulting in a higher conversion potential.


Both MQLs and EQLs provide value, but EQLs can deliver a higher level of value due to the deeper engagement and alignment from the ecosystem, potentially leading to larger deal sizes and higher lifetime value.

In short, while both are effective strategies for driving growth, EQLs represent a shift toward more collaborative, ecosystem-driven marketing strategies.

Ecosystem Qualified Lead vs. Partner Qualified Lead: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve heard of Partner Qualified Leads (PQLs), you might wonder what the difference is between those and EQLs.

Think of it this way: PQLs are new leads that match criteria for two or more partners to co-market and co-sell to, whereas EQLs are considered net new leads that fit into a wider ecosystem of partners.

To put this in practical terms, PQLs might be new leads you and your partner come together to market to and close a deal with (they’re overlapping customers, essentially), while an EQL would be a lead that many partners in your ecosystem can take advantage of.

Ecosystem Qualified Lead vs Product Qualified Lead: What’s the Difference?

An EQL and Product Qualified Leads (confusingly, also called PQLs) are different concepts in lead generation that reflect the distinct ways companies can identify potential customers.


A Product Qualified Lead is a potential customer who has used a product and reached certain usage milestones that indicate a strong likelihood to convert to a paying customer. These leads are generally identified through a freemium model or a free trial where the user can experience the product firsthand.

On the other hand, an EQL is identified within a collaborative business ecosystem, leveraging partnerships and integrations. These leads have interacted with multiple touch points in this ecosystem and demonstrate high engagement and alignment with the company’s product or service.

Sales Readiness

Product Qualified Leads are sales-ready because these new leads have experienced the product and demonstrated an interest through usage, thus showing potential for conversion. EQLs, however, may not have used the product directly but have been identified as sales-ready because of their interaction and engagement within the wider business ecosystem.


While Product Qualified Leads are engaged through direct product usage, EQLs are engaged through a network of partnerships, providing them a broader context and understanding of the product’s value.

Customer Journey

Product Qualified Leads typically follow a bottom-up customer journey, from usage to purchase, often in a self-serve or low-touch sales model.

In contrast, EQLs may follow a more traditional, top-down sales funnel, where leads are identified, nurtured, and converted through an ecosystem of partners.

In summary, while Product Qualified Leads and EQLs both offer ways to qualify leads, they represent different approaches based on product usage and ecosystem engagement respectively.

Ready to Tap Into the Power of Ecosystem Qualified Leads?

The power of EQLs shouldn’t be underestimated—if you’ve been relying on marketing qualified leads (MQLs) only, it’s time for a change.

EQLs have 43% better win rates than MQLs, but not many B2B companies participating in partner programs are leveraging them to their full potential. Don’t be one of them, and start taking advantage of EQLs today! By leveraging reseller programs or partner ecosystems, you can quickly and easily acquire quality leads without investing too much in resources.

At Filament, we specialise in helping B2B tech companies make the most of EQLs and have seen great success in the process. If you need help with your acquisition efforts and want to be our next success story, get in touch.

Do you sell your products or services through channel partners, such as distributors, resellers, dealers, or agents? If so, you probably want to motivate and reward them for their efforts.

After all, they are the ones who interact with end-user customers, promote your brand, and generate revenue for you. 

But how do you ensure they are loyal to your brand, engaged with your products, and aligned with your goals? That’s where channel partner incentive programs come in.

This guide defines channel incentive programs and their benefits for your business and your channel sales strategy. We also look at the best practices for such a program to drive growth.

What Is a Channel Partner Incentive Program?

A channel partner incentive program is a sales growth strategy used to influence the behaviour of channel partners and motive them to increase sales activity.

These channel partners can include resellers, service providers, system integrators, retailers and a range of other partner ecosystem participants that market or sell a vendor’s services or products to the end user.

A channel incentive program motivates your partners to promote and sell your offerings. In return, they get rewards like increased partner tiering, discounts, partner perks and benefits, gift cards, merchandise, or travel opportunities.

Some examples of partner actions that can be incentivised include:


  • Selling more of your products or services
  • Achieving sales targets or quotas
  • Upselling or cross-selling to existing customers
  • Completing training or certification courses, or
  • Providing feedback or referrals.

Why Does Your Partner Program Need Channel Partner Incentive Programs?

There are several reasons your partner program needs an incentive program, some of which are:

  • Motivate partners to sell more.
  • Create urgency with time-based incentives.
  • To speed up innovation where your partner model of business paired with customer preference matches your program incentives.
  • Support partner promotional skills through learning workshops and market development funds.
  • To keep track of your partner lead flow and sales

In order for you to improve your ROI, you need to have a channel partner incentive program. It will help you build better partner collaboration relationships in the long term.

What are the Benefits of a Channel Partner Incentive Program for Your Business and Your Channel Partners?

There are several benefits that your business and partners can gain from having an incentive program.

For Your Business as a Vendor

  • Sales revenue and market share rise

    Channel partners can have an impact on your sales and marketing efforts as partners are motivated to invest the effort to sell more. One way you can motivate them is through incentives and rewards when they meet sales volume targets. You can also leverage their networks to tap into new markets.

  • Improve brand recognition and loyalty

    Using partner networks can help bring awareness to your brand. It can also help your business gain loyal partners if you stand out from your rivals and offer better and more valuable rewards. 

  • Influence partner commitment

    You can influence partner commitment to improve their performance by giving clear feedback, setting goals, and offering learning opportunities for them. It will help strengthen your relationship with them and help you collaborate better.

For Your Channel Partners

  • Boost profitability

    Thanks to this program, your partners can boost their earnings through sales target rewards. They can also get bonuses and rebates that increase their margins.

  • Improve competence and skill

    Learning incentives benefit partners since they can learn new skills and become competent.

  • Enjoy satisfaction and recognition

    Feedback and appreciation for achievement are other benefits partners get when participating in an incentive program. It makes them feel valued and respected by you as a vendor.

Channel partner program | Partner Ecosystem | Filament

6 Best Practices for Creating a Channel Partner Incentive Program That Drives Sales Growth

There many factors that can influence a channel partner incentive program development. Let’s look at six prominent best practices.

1) Define Your Goals and Objectives

Defining your goals and objectives represents the first step that you need to take before starting a partner incentive program. Create a plan that outlines what you want your program to accomplish. Then, determine how to assess progress and whether the partner program aligns with the business objectives. 

Planning this road map is crucial because it will help you focus your attention on partners and provide them with what’s expected. From there, you will have an easier task analyzing and evaluating program milestones. 

2) Identify Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is the next step after creating a road map for your program. Here, you look for the ideal channel partners you want to incentivize. Check what they prefer, their traits, motivation, location, and overall output.

Collecting all this data will help you segment the partners based on their strong attributes. In return, you can personalize your program to suit their individual needs. Not only that, you will pair each partner to where their interests lie, boosting engagement and ROI.

3) Choose Your Rewards and Incentives

Now that you have found your suitable prospect, the next step is to pick rewards and incentives for your program that will motivate your channel partners. It comes down to the following:

  • Reward type: Ensure the reward matches your partner’s preferences, either monetary or any other form. The incentive can also be solo or a collective.
  • Value: Incentives or rewards should always be equivalent to the partner’s achievements. Let it be a reflection of the market value of the offering sales.
  • Timing: It has to be right, whether predictable or not. Ensure you balance excitement with stability, whether in urgency or on a consistent basis.

4) Design Your Program Structure and Rules

The next step is creating structures and guidelines for your program, which can include: 

  • Qualification: Make it clear which partner can take part and the guidelines to follow. Ensure the rules are fair so that no disagreements or rifts arise.
  • Model of earning: Lay out a model showing how your partners will earn their incentives and rewards. Ensure it’s easy to understand and doesn’t risk your overall business goals. The model should also offer ways partners can monitor their sales results. 
  • Redeeming process: Create a redeeming process that is simple for your partners. Ensure it is flexible and convenient with simplified guides on ways to redeem and get their rewards.

5) Implement and Manage Your Program

Your structure and guidelines are now in place; now you can carry through with your program. Start by creating:

  • Promotional plan: Start by creating a strategy that can lure partners to your program through webinars or Ad campaigns.
  • Feedback system: You need a platform that collects your partners’ feedback. It can help you learn the challenges they are facing and improve on them. Examples of feedback systems include testimonials, surveys, and more.
  • Support platform: Create a platform with a knowledge base where a partner can learn more about your program. In addition, have a communication system where they can get in contact through email, phone call, or SMS. 

6) Evaluate and Optimise Your Program

It is the last step in creating your channel partner incentive program. It helps you understand what are the positives and downsides of your program. The good news is that you can optimise it when needed to boost your program efficiency.

How Can You Measure the Success of Your Channel Incentive Program and Optimise it Over Time?

Careful planning is necessary for measuring your channel incentive program’s success. Follow these six techniques to optimize your channel partner incentives over time:

1) Surveys and Interviews

Collect your partners’ satisfaction and feedback during or after using your program. This feedback is a goldmine since it illuminates where your program needs improvement. Not only that, you learn what your partner expects to achieve through your program.

2) Data and Analytics

Use data and analytics to assess your programs’ achievements. You can use it to monitor revenue growth, margins, and more. The data you collect and analyse can then help you make better decisions and adopt better strategies for growth.

3) Benchmarks and Comparisons

Benchmarks help you compare your program performance against the rivals. These comparisons give you insights into where your strengths and weaknesses are. From there, you can develop an approach to improve your program’s weak points. Lastly, you can identify competitors’ best strategies and learn from them to become successful. 

4) Testing and Experimenting

It’s an approach where your new ideas undergo tests to see their viability. Then, if they are viable, you can implement them in your program. Testing and experimenting with new ideas can help assess how new changes affect your partnerships. The good thing is that you can optimise them to achieve your business objectives. 

5) Personalising and Customising 

Your partners have preferences, and personalizing your strategies to suit their needs can help create a better relationship. The partners will feel recognized and will become motivated to work harder. Not only will it motivate channel partners, but it will boost loyalty and contentment.

6) Updating and Refreshing 

Consistent updates to your channel incentives program keep it relevant. These constant updates keep you ahead of emerging trends that fulfil customer expectations. You will also be able to introduce new features to your channel incentives program.

4 Examples of Channel Incentive Programs That Drive Channel Sales

There are a range of different channel incentive program models which can vary based on industry, channel sales strategy and partner tiering model. Let’s look at four key examples of these channel partner programs.

1) Group Incentives

If your company was looking to boost its sales through channel partners, you would have to create a group incentive program. The program would have to reward or incentivise its partners when they meet a sales target. The channel incentives would be prizes, awards, or bonuses.

This type of group incentive can motivate the partners to meet the targets set and increase the business product sales.

2) Sales Performance Incentive Funds

A leading hardware manufacturer wanted to boost its new product line sales through its channel partners. It launched deal registration incentives as a result. It rewarded partners who sold a minimum number of new product units within three months. The channel sales incentives included gift cards, merchandise, and free training. The program resulted in a 25% increase in new product sales among participating partners.

3) Learning Incentives

A cybersecurity vendor wanted to improve its channel partners’ skills and competencies in selling its products. It launched a learning program that rewarded partners who completed online courses or exams related to its products. 

The rewards included redeemable points for various prizes, such as cash, gift cards, or merchandise. The program resulted in a 50% increase in partner certification rates among participating partners.

4) Rebates

A leading supplier of office supplies wanted to increase its channel partners’ profitability and loyalty in selling its products. It launched a rebate program that rewarded partners who achieved a specific volume or value of sales over a year. 

The rewards included discounts, rebates, or bonuses that increased their margins. The program resulted in a 30% increase in partner retention rates among participating partners.

Final Thoughts – Channel Incentive Programs

Vendors with a channel sales strategy can benefit greatly by having channel incentive programs. They help you build better partnerships with your partners and boost revenue. These programs also help to inspire your partners in their marketing efforts and earning rewards.

However, for your business to have an effective partner program, you need to develop a strategy. It should align with your business objectives, prospects, and influence. 

The good news is that we’ve highlighted the best way to plan, execute and optimise an effective program in this guide. Use it to grow your channel partner incentives program today.

Ready to Grow Your Channel Sales with Results-Focused Channel Partner Incentive Programs?

At Filament, we help B2B tech brands and vendor channel programs create and implement marketing strategies that generate demand and drive better results.

Having worked with a wide range of partners, vendors, and organizations across many technology industries, we know what it takes to execute successful channel marketing strategies that work and satisfy both vendors and partners.

Contact us now to discuss how we can help you make the most out of your channel marketing programs.

Accelerating the growth of your B2B tech organisation can be challenging. No matter how good your growth strategy is, your resources remain limited, and unless you have a big pile of reserve cash to spend on scaling your business, hitting your growth goals won’t be easy.

By partnering with other companies, you can expand your market reach and get your products in front of more people without incurring the costs associated with hiring additional staff, opening new offices, or launching expensive marketing campaigns.

But what are channel partnerships, and how can they help boost sales for your tech organisation? Let’s discuss this in more detail.

Let’s dive right into it!

What Are Channel Partnerships and How Do They Work?

A channel partnership is a form of collaboration between two organisations, where one organisation resells, distributes, or markets for the other organisation’s products or services.

The purpose of a channel partnership is a mutually beneficial arrangement to increase market share, boost revenue, and support the growth of the organisation by making its products available to more customers in different markets.

Sometimes, the scope of a channel partnership covers more than just sales. In many channel partnerships, the channel partner also handles customer success, technology implementation, and managed services.

Referral partners generate revenue through referral fees or by offering complementary services or add-ons to the original service product, such as training, managed services, consulting, and customer support.

How Can Channel Partners Benefit Your B2B Tech Business?

According to a recent survey, up to 66% of B2B business leaders expect at least an 11% increase in sales and revenue with partner ecosystems. Here’s how leveraging channel partnerships can help your organisation:

Channel Partners Boost Sales and Maximise Your Growth Potential

The value proposition of a channel partner program is pretty simple: it helps you make more money faster. In a recent survey by HubSpot, Canalys, and Partnership Leaders, 49% of respondents credit their partners for up to 29% of their revenue.

Take Atlassian as an example – one-third of the Australian software company’s revenue comes through its 700+ list of service and sales partners. If you do the math, you’ll learn that Atlassian has made roughly US$930 million from channel partnerships alone out of a total revenue of US$2.8 billion in 2022.

This allowed Atlassian to direct more resources to R&D instead of sales, resulting in better SaaS products that their customers will love even more.

One might argue that Atlassian is an already-established player in the market, but younger companies can take a similar approach with an even more amplified impact on its sales potential. TrialPay, an alternative e-commerce payment system, managed to grow its client list from zero to 10,000 clients in just 2 years after launching in 2006.

The company relied on partnerships with other companies, like WinZip. When people used WinZip’s services, they were also using TrialPay’s payment system.

Channel Partners Unlock Access To New Markets Faster

Breaking into new, geographically distributed markets can be costly and time-consuming. On the other hand, growing with channel partners doesn’t require a significant investment, ensuring that your company’s growth isn’t constrained by your company’s resources, location, and spending capabilities.

This means increasing revenue by reaching end customers in new market segments.

Let’s take a look at a quick case study. The US-based Zoom Video Communications sought to expand its presence in the Japanese market. The main challenge here was to find a compelling way to convince customers in Japan with their product.

The Zoom team decided to create strategic channel partnerships with local allies that have a proven track record of expanding the growth of new products in the Japanese market. In 2020 alone, channel partners made up 40% of Zoom’s business in Japan.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Channel Partners?

Channel partnerships, when utilised effectively, can bring a whole world of opportunities for your business. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows; channel partnerships also come with potential challenges that may affect your business depending on your specific case.

Pros of Channel Partners

  • Faster time to market: Launch your products in geographically distributed markets more quickly by partnering with reputable local brands.
  • Lower customer acquisition costs: Since other partner companies handle the sales process for you, acquiring new customers won’t cost you as much as your direct sales efforts.
  • Establish credibility in local markets: Sell your products through trustful partners that have already developed strong positioning and brand authority in their respective local markets.
  • Shared expertise: The right channel partnerships enable you to develop better products and improve your marketing efforts as they let you benefit from your partners’ expertise.

Cons of Channel Partners

  • Smaller profit margins: Channel partners take a cut of your sales profits in exchange for closing the deal or servicing the end customer.
  • Managing partners can be challenging: With every new channel partnership, you’re automatically responsible for sales support, training, technical support and communicating with your partner to make it a worthy investment.
  • Tracking revenue is more complex: Measuring revenue and sales metrics across multiple sales channels is complex and resource-intensive.
  • Higher risk exposure for your brand: If your partners face legal claims, negative media coverage, or other reputation-damaging situations, your brand reputation could be affected as well.
  • Dependency: Becoming increasingly dependent on your channel partnerships and sales channel can put your organisation in a stretching situation in case one or more of these partnerships end.
Channel partner program | Partner Ecosystem | Filament

What Are the Different Types of Channel Partners?

Channel partnerships don’t exist in a single form; you have a large pool of channel partnership types to choose from based on the nature of your organisation and your objectives.

Here are some of the most common types of channel partners:


Resellers are channel partners that purchase your existing products and make them available to more customers; it’s as simple as that. Reseller partnerships enable B2B businesses to introduce their products to new markets without having to build a customer base from scratch.

Value-Added Resellers

Unlike normal resellers, Value-Added Resellers don’t just resell the existing products to their customers; they’re channel partners that bring something new to the table with additional features or software that further improves the products’ benefits and functionalities.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) remotely manage their customers’ IT infrastructure. Many organisations prefer working with an MSP to offload the day-to-day management tasks that prevent their IT teams from focusing on more important tasks.

With a managed service provider, you’re not only offering your customers an IT solution but also letting them hire a third-party company to maintain it for them.

Affiliate Partners

B2B businesses can create affiliate programs that enable partners to promote their products in exchange for a pre-determined commission fee for every referral that comes through them. The biggest advantage of affiliate programs is that you don’t need to provide marketing materials for your affiliate partners.

Indirect Sales Partners

Indirect sales partners are channel partners that take the work of customer acquisition off your plate by selling your products on your behalf. The scope of an indirect sales channel may be limited to just sales or encompass other professional services and customer support.

This type of partnership can help you maximise your revenue with fewer expenses, especially if you compare it to direct sales that require more significant costs and resources.

Systems Integrators

Systems integrators combine multiple products from one or more vendors into one system that functions optimally to perform various tasks. One example is integrating Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software with email marketing and appointment scheduling tools.

How to Identify the Right Channel Sales and Channel Partner Program For Your SaaS Business

Channel partnerships have proven to be successful for many businesses, but they may not always work. The key here is to be selective with your channel partners.

For starters, think about the goal behind the partnership.

What exactly are you trying to achieve? Do you want a channel partner that acts as an extension of your in-house sales team, or a partner that can add more value to your customers with additional services or support? Are you planning on expanding into new markets?

For some businesses, through-channel partner marketing may not be the best way to go. Seeking a channel partnership can be a good step only if you have a well-defined direct sales process that actually works. That also depends on your product and whether it aligns with your target market’s needs.

Further, you need to evaluate whether your organisation is prepared for smaller profit margins; that’s something you’d want to discuss with your finance team.

Channel Partner Program Performance | Filament

How to Measure and Improve the Performance of Your Channel Partner Program

Measuring the performance of your channel partner programs will help you identify missed opportunities and capitalise on your success.

According to an IDG study, this is how partner marketers measure the success of their partner programs:

  • Total revenue generated from programs (55%)
  • Number of customers (55%)
  • Market share growth (42%)
  • Number of qualified leads (42%)
  • Number of new partners (41%)
  • Strong channel partner relationships (51%)

But these aren’t the only metrics you need to track. There are other KPIs that you have to keep an eye on to evaluate your channel programs. Here’s a complete breakdown:

Channel Sales Metrics

  • Revenue. What per cent of your revenue comes from your channel partners? Which partners are bringing you more money? Analysing these numbers will help you identify which partnerships drive the lowest or highest revenue shares.
  • Revenue Growth Rate. Learning how much revenue each partner is driving isn’t enough to support your decision-making when it comes to maximising the results; you need to measure the revenue growth rate as well. The revenue growth rate is simply the month-over-month percentage increase in revenue. Tracking this for each partner across different partner levels and product lines will help you decide how to direct your resources.
  • Deal Size. What’s each channel partner’s average deal size? How many customers choose to opt for larger packages, and how do they make their decisions? If a channel partner’s average deal size falls short relative to your expectations or other partners, consider discussing this with them to find out what could be improved.
  • Number of Closed Deals. Tracking the number of closed deals in comparison to registered deals should be a good indicator of your partner’s conversion rate. This will help you direct your efforts to the customer journey stages that require more attention.

Pipeline Activity Metrics

Measuring your sales pipeline activity metrics will give you a comprehensive idea of what works so you can replicate it with the same or other partners. Some of these metrics are:

  • Opportunities per Partner. Who are your partner’s clients? Are they large enterprises, small startups, or a mix of both? Identifying the number and quality of opportunities for each partner can help you utilise your resources more effectively and rethink your priorities.
  • Pipeline Value. This is a multifactor metric that encompasses quote requests, applications, deal registration, and any other activities that could influence the pipeline’s overall value.
  • Lead Generation. How many qualified leads does each partner generate?

Other relevant pipeline activity metrics and KPIs to track include active pipelines per partner and support requests.

Customer Success

The two most important customer success metrics to track are customer churn rate and customer service satisfaction score.

The customer churn rate indicates how often your partner’s customers abandon your product after a given time period, while the customer service satisfaction score provides an idea of your partner’s customer support quality and effectiveness.

Other relevant customer success metrics to measure include:

  • End-client consumption rate
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Portfolio adoption (upselling and cross-selling new products to existing customers)

Enablement Engagement

Creating training resources and marketing materials for your partners costs you time and money. So you don’t want to be creating these resources just for them to “be there” when you’re closing a partnership deal.

You want your partners to be actually using them. To learn which materials your partners use, take a look at the following KPIs:

  • Channel partner portal logins
  • Number of completed engagement training programs and certifications
  • Sales and marketing materials that partners use
  • Open, click, and send rates of partner communication
  • Number of attended events

Partner Satisfaction

Measuring the satisfaction of your partners is essential for maintaining healthy business partnerships. The best way to find out how satisfied your partners are is to conduct a partner survey. It’s also important that you keep an eye on the following metrics:

  • Number of completed tasks
  • The ratio of active to inactive partners
  • Annual revenue capability

Partner Activity

If you have lots of channel sales partners made up of various solution providers, learning how many of them are active, inactive, or pending is crucial for maximising the ROI of your partnership programs.

You can reward active partners by dedicating more resources to the partnership to help them grow faster. If a partner is pending, check what obstacles they’re currently facing in the process and how you can help them overcome these challenges.

For inactive partners, communicating with them is essential as it’ll help you decide whether these partnerships are worth it and if investing in them may help take them any further.

How Can You Adapt Your Channel Partner Program to Shifting Customer Preferences?

Customer needs are constantly changing, making it crucial to adapt your channel partner program to these fluctuations.

Here are a few actions to consider:

  • Revise the terms of your channel partnership agreements. This may include modifications to the offered products themselves.
  • Maintain an open line of communication between you and your partners. Discussing the shifts in customer preferences with your partners and keeping communication open will help you steer the partnership toward success.
  • Consider setting up new partnerships. Changing customer preferences might make them favour one reseller over the other. Conduct market research based on customer preference data to identify potential strategic partnerships.

Overcoming Potential Challenges: Tips to Maintain and Grow Your Channel Partner Programs

To ensure the success of your channel program, consider implementing these vital steps:

  • Leverage content marketing in promoting customer trust and engagement
  • Offer multiple marketing options that suit different types of partners
  • Provide frictionless access to marketing resources
  • Constantly communicate with your channel partners
  • Increase the ROI of your channel partners’ marketing campaigns by helping them get the most out of their marketing efforts
  • Emphasise the value of educating end-users with your channel partners

The Future of Channel Partner Programs: How Will Technology Shape the Way Channel Marketing Is Done?

Technological advancements are already reshaping partner ecosystems, and they’re expected to have an even higher impact in the next few years.

Here are some tech trends that will revamp how you do channel marketing:

  • More and more vendors are adopting a cloud-based approach. This can help partners access their enablement resources more efficiently and make partner management less time-consuming for vendors.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) will make it easier for vendors to identify the most valuable partnerships. Using AI and machine learning, vendors can use pre-trained models to find and recruit partners.
  • Virtual and Augmented Realities (VR/AR) will revolutionise the sales experiences for partners. With VR and AR, partners will be able to create immersive sales experiences for their customers and vendors will provide a more streamlined partner onboarding and training experience, resulting in more effective partnerships that generate higher revenues.

Ready to Grow Your Business With a Result-Focused Channel Partner Strategy?

At Filament, we help B2B tech brands and vendor channel programs create and implement channel marketing strategies that generate demand and drive better results.

Having worked with a wide range of partners, vendors, and organisations across many technology industries, we know what it takes to execute successful channel marketing strategies that actually work and keep both vendors and partners satisfied.

Contact us now to discuss how we can help you make the most out of your channel marketing programs.

This article is about marketing in channel ecosystems, such as vendor channel programs with a complex array of different channels and channel partners, distributors and many other company types.

In this article you will learn about channel marketing, its benefits, and how it can contribute to the business growth of vendors and channel partners.

Let’s dive right into it!

What Is Channel Marketing?

Channel marketing is a type of marketing completed by vendors and manufacturers with and through third party partners in a channel sales program distributing products and services to the market.

The purpose of channel marketing includes:

  • Contribute to revenue growth with through-channel marketing partner sales enablement, and
  • Increase a vendor channel program by attracting the right potential partners.

Channel marketing includes many different stakeholders along different stages of the channel. That’s why taking a customer’s mindset can be complicated and requires careful analysis by Channel Marketing Managers, since there are various customers at various stages along the channel value chain.

What Is a Vendor Channel Program?

A vendor channel program involves a go to market strategy that uses third-party partners to reach end user audiences. The vendor or manufacturer scales up by taking advantage of the reach and sales of each partner.

The vendors enjoy increased sales and a large market share from the program. They also gain insights into the needs of the customers. On the other hand, the partners get business opportunities and enjoy a profit.

What Is a Channel Marketing Manager?

A Channel Marketing Manager is a marketing professional who implements a marketing strategy through partners in the channel.

The role may also be responsible for contributing to channel partner acquisition programs by attracting and nurturing each right-fit potential partner.

The primary purpose of the Channel Marketing Manager role of vendors and manufacturers generate demand to achieve more sales, increase lifetime value of partners and end-user customer, and to increase revenue growth.

What Does a Channel Marketing Manager Do?

A Channel Marketing Managers is responsible for developing a successful channel marketing strategy and for implementing the relevant channel marketing activities.

They also need to identify potential channel partners across multiple marketing channels. Once they find them, they have to establish and maintain relationships. Together with these partners, they then need to promote the vendor’s products and partner’s services.

The responsibilities of the role vary depending on the type, size, location, and type of organisation’s products or services.

Most commonly, a Channel Marketing Manager will:

  • Develop a strategic channel marketing plan
  • Implement digital marketing campaigns with a key target audience
  • Optimize marketing campaigns to improve the company’s return on investment (ROI)
  • Stay updated with trends across digital marketing channels
  • Liaise between vendor marketing and sales teams
  • Contribute to product beta testing with focus groups
  • Contribute to partner acquisition campaigns and helping identify each potential partner
  • Liaise and collaborate with channel partners for collaborative campaigns
  • Participate in approving Market Development Funds (MDF) for channel partners alongside a Channel Account Manager
  • Gather data, in depth information and generate performance reports
  • Perform market research and compare hard market data
  • Identify new channels or new revenue streams.

Source: Forrester

What Are Common Channel Partner Company Types That Benefit From Channel Marketing?

Channel programs have many different types of partners and it’s critical that channel marketers understand what these partners do and whom they service or sell to.

Each partner company type may leverage channel marketing is different way depending on their market and buyer persona. That’s why digital marketing for technology companies is so varied.

Here are some common company types involved in a channel partnership which benefit from through-channel marketing.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

 A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a company involved in monitoring and managing the IT systems of their customer base. Duties of the MSP may include installation of products, securing data, or monitoring the company’s network. An MSP eliminates the administrative resources needed by the end-user to maintain the software. MSPs are generally partners in a range of vendor channel programs.

Value-Added Resellers (VARs)

A Value-Added Reseller (VAR) is a company that buys technology products from another company then adds a profit margin by adding their services or features to the product then passing it on to the end-user. VARs can boost sales and are receptive to new technology. VARs are generally partners in a range of vendor channel programs.

System Integrators (SIs)

A System Integrator (SI) purchases hardware and software programs from different companies and then combine the products into a single product to sell and integrate for an end user business.

One benefit of SIs is that they can easily propel you into a lucrative enterprise market. SIs are generally partners in a range of vendor channel programs.


Distributors buy products from wholesalers and sell the products to service providers or retailers. Distributors act as agents between the producer and potential customers, enjoy profit, and act on behalf of the producer. Distributors, sometimes called disties for short, are generally partners in a range of vendor channel programs.


Affiliate partners are channels or online presences with an established network that allow a retailer to advertise their products (retailer) on their website. In return, the retailers pay a commission to the website owner. The commission is based on sales made due or through the webpage.

Independent Software Vendors (ISVs)

An independent software vendor (ISV) channel provides software to end-users, but the software remains the property of the ISV. ISVs partner with hardware vendors to establish long-term business partnerships. They offer support such as pricing and licensing to the end-users through a mutually beneficial arrangement with the hardware vendor.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) combine another company’s products to create a solution and then sell them under their brand. OEMs are suitable for companies that wish to expand their market. They help aid companies to identify markets for new applications for their technology.


Retailers are common in channel marketing and come in different forms.

They can be a single retail store a large national chain of stores. They earn profit through direct selling. They buy products from distributors or wholesalers and resell them to the end-user.


IT consultants can recommend the products or services of a technology company to another business. The idea is not to refer but rather establish a working relationship between the consultant, the referred business, and the technology company itself. The IT consultant plays the role of providing support going forward.

3 Key Through-Channel Marketing Benefits For Vendors and Channel Partners

Channel marketing requires a collaborative approach from all players in the channel. Conversion rates and sales will increase when each party plays its role effectively.

Here are three key benefits of channel marketing that vendors and partners can both leverage.

1) Enhanced customer influence

A target customer’s mindset and purchasing behavior has changed over time. The changes are due to digital transformation. Potential customers turn to technology-driven platforms like Amazon to choose what product to buy. Customer trust in such platforms to help them make hard decisions. They also trust the platforms’ reviews on products.

Due to the trust placed on these platforms, through-channel marketing may benefit by influencing demand on certain products and their prices. Vendors can opt for certain ‘trusted platforms” to sell their products.

2) Attract new customers and enter new markets

Through-channel marketing can help you tap into uncharted opportunities and attract new and potential channel partners. A significant number of buyers turn to the internet before purchasing a product.

Adopting through-channel marketing may help an organisation’s marketing department scale up and take advantage of these opportunities. Partner channels understand the needs of clients in a better way.

An appropriate channel partner can thus help position a vendor in the market more positively than the producer could themselves. Using their market knowledge, they can help a vendor realize unexploited opportunities.

3) Measurable impact and ROI

Firstly, through-channel marketing has a better understanding of the most pertinent details of your target market. Channel partners can help you in analyzing and elaborately tracking your marketing progress.

Through-channel marketing will help you compare your marketing campaign with a measurable ROI. You will determine whether your marketing campaign is worth the ROI and control the marketing progress.

What’s Included In a Through-Channel Marketing Campaign?

Through-channel marketing campaigns are varied and depend on many variables, including the nature of the distribution channel, whether a vendor sales representative can be available for co-presenting type activities, size of partner’s database, existing demand or opportunities and many other factors.

If Marketing Development Funds (MDF) have been approved to wholly fund or co-fund the campaign, the campaign budget will need to be clearly set and be seen to be cost effective.

Types of effective through-channel marketing campaigns

Effective collaborative through-channel campaign types can include:

  • Go to market campaign for vendor-related product or service
  • Content offer campaign
  • Co-presented webinar campaign
  • Email drip campaign
  • Special offer campaign
  • Trade show or event co-sponsorship
  • Co-branded case study

Common marketing assets of a through-channel marketing campaign

Through-channel marketing campaigns can contain all sorts of marketing assets or content types and will vary based on campaign purpose and intent. While some content can be customisable, most will require dual branding of both the vendor and the partner.

Common through-channel marketing campaign assets can include:

  • White papers
  • Webinar slide deck
  • Email / eDM templates
  • Press release / media release template
  • Blog post templates
  • Social media post templates
  • Digital ads
  • Sales deck templates

6 Tips For Channel Partner Marketing Enablement

Through-channel marketing is a collaborative process. To ensure you achieve reasonable brand recognition and generate demand from end users, there is a need to empower and enable your channel partners with meaningful and relevant support.

1. Provide engaging and relevant partner marketing content

One critical way of boosting marketing is by providing partners with effective marketing content. Customers need sufficient information about the products they are buying. When customers are informed, the conversion rates will be higher, and loyalty to the brand will heighten. So how do you ensure they are well informed?

Providing your partners with relevant and meaningful content and templates to enable them to generate demand across a range of marketing channels and lead acquisition sources. They’ll customise it in a way that supports their own direct selling methods.

Some resources that your partners may benefit from across marketing channels include:

  • Go to market content
  • Service or solution website page templates
  • White papers
  • Customer success story templates
  • Case studies
  • Statistics
  • Competitive analysis

Giving your partners content will create a standard. Partners will provide verified and proven content to clients. Therefore, provide templates with guidelines, messaging, and branding guides. Give them a schedule on how to use the materials. Combining these resources will help them add more value to your brands in the long run.

Consider optimizing the content for different types of partners.

Lastly, ensure you show the partners how to use the content to gain optimal results.

2. Provide the right marketing enablement for your ecosystem of partner types

Different partners have varied ways of doing marketing. The partners have different budgets, serve different sizes of markets, and are in different locations.

Due to this uniqueness, each partner’s way of generating leads is different. For example, distributors will differ from Value-Added Resellers in marketing their products.

To better enable them in their marketing programs, it will help customise the support, guidance, and resources you provide them with. When you offer them blanket support, you risk giving some ineffective content.

To effectively promote adoption of partner marketing support, understand the different needs for each type of partner while remembering that they will have similar marketing channels they deploy. For example, have options for marketing styles, budget plans, and different levels of experience in marketing. Some partners may need financial support, while others may need informational support like the content.

3. Enable frictionless access to customisable marketing resources

Once you have established a suite of marketing resources for your partners, avail them. It makes no sense to have useful resources that are inaccessible or underused. Establish a simple and clear channel software platform for your partners to take advantage of marketing resources.

Seamless accessibility of marketing tools and resources provides partners with the opportunity to exploit their potential fully. You may help the partners by setting up campaigns and grouping them to know where to access the resources and how to employ them.

To support implementation, consider deploying a through-channel marketing automation software platform.

Establish a mechanism to monitor and track the performance of the programs. This will help you know which program is effective and needs optimization.

When partners can easily access marketing material that they can deploy across more than one channel, they can take advantage of the resources and educate and market your products.

So how can we improve the accessibility of marketing resources? Practice the following:

  • Think about the local audience and customise your content for each particular region.
  • Provide fresh content. As the needs for the audience change, so should your content. Old content is likely going to sound out-of-date and boring.
  • Ensure you provide relevant content. Enable your partners to personalise content for their audience with their own brand image and according to the various brand touch points important to them.

4. Enable your partners to get the most out of their marketing efforts

Efficient channel marketing strategies require collaborative efforts. When you empower your partners, they become motivated. As a result, they improve their marketing efforts. To enjoy maximum channel marketing benefits, provide your partners with great content and tools. Make them accessible.

Invest in empowering the partners with marketing skills to have a solid understanding of marketing basics. Regular training gives the partners confidence and knowledge to increase leads.

It will help if you offer certification to the partners for passing training programs. Certification is an opportunity for recognition and partners will feel valued in the marketing channel.

Invite partners for face-to-face training on aspects like:

  • How to create leads and follow-up processes.
  • How to build GDPR compliant target lists
  • How to segment markets and target audiences to suit their environment, and
  • How to develop buyer personas.

5. Enable your partners to better educate their customers

Providing channel partners with resources to educate clients will lay a solid foundation for why the clients need to consume your products. Educating leads about your products will lead to conversions and loyalty.

Empowering and enabling your partners to educate leads will also lead to customer satisfaction and bolster a positive association with your brand.

How do you empower your partners to educate leads?

Support partners to educate leads by giving them good and relevant content. Provide them with competitor analysis, statistics, and any other information about your products that gives them assurance about your products.

Enabling your partners may also entail giving them first-hand experience with your products. When partners use your products, they understand the context of the content they share with their leads. First-hand information means increased credibility and more leads.

6. Enable face-to-face interactions with partners

Establishing face-to-face interactions provides a collaborative environment to share ideas. Personal interactions with your partners make them feel valued. You also benefit by getting first-hand qualitative feedback to improve your relationship in the future.

Besides face-to-face interaction, regular virtual meetings shorten the communication channel. You get feedback instantly, and you can probe further where you don’t understand. This way, both you and the partners benefit.

Personal interaction is crucial for all the channel partnership enablers we’ve discussed to work best.

Channel Marketing vs. Distributed Marketing: Are They the Same?

Yes, channel marketing and distributed marketing are both terms for the same type of marketing.

Channel marketing is promoting and selling products and services through channel partners from producers to end-users. The partners make it possible for the products to reach leads the producers could not have reached by themselves.

Distributed marketing involves marketing and selling products through distributed branches or networks of partners, agents, distributors, dealers, and retailers.

Which means, both terms are referring to the same concept.

Channel Marketing vs. Partner Marketing: What’s The Difference?

The main difference between channel marketing and partner marketing are the amount of people and companies involved.

Channel marketing involves promoting a vendor’s products and services through distributors and many different types of channel partners. Channel marketing involves many people or organisations across a channel program or ecosystem.

Partnership marketing is a marketing program that involves two or more organisations collaborating to reach a larger target market. The two or few companies combining efforts have a similar audience with potential no or low competitive overlap, hence collaborating for mutual benefit.

Ready To Implement a Successful Channel Marketing Strategy?

Getting the right channel marketing strategy with the right partner base is crucial to your business. And if you feel like you’re at a loss of what to do, we’re here to help.

If you’re looking to implement an effective channel marketing strategy, our experts are ready to help with your channel marketing and channel partner engagement.

Contact us today!

Why is channel partner marketing enablement so powerful?

CompTIA found that about 88% of the 137,421 channel partners in the U.S. information technology sector were “micro-channel firms”, each with nine employees or fewer. This data suggests that the majority of partners might not have the resources to efficiently market your products.

And it’s not just the smaller end of the partner spectrum – even mid-tier and larger partners struggle to implement channel enablement content. This is often because their marketing teams are already stretched to their full capacity, so they can’t make full use of vendor marketing materials. 

Added to that is the fact that marketing materials tend to be vendor or product-centric, and partners find it too time-consuming to rework materials so that they mesh with their own brand tone and appeal to their own target audience.

But channel partner marketing enablement can help your partners overcome these limitations and still provide great value. And enabling your partners with the tools and content they need to take their marketing efforts to the next level goes beyond just improving their sales and increasing your profits. It also breeds channel partners who will be loyal to you

If these advantages seem compelling to you, the following six areas of partner marketing are prime targets for promoting better enablement. 

1. Enable Engaging Marketing Content and Optimised Use Of Content

Marketing cannot exist without content, and not all content is effective. Every marketer knows that a significant driver of sales is engaging content that promotes customer conversions and loyalty.

How do you make sure your partners are producing engaging content, and getting the most out of every post? Provide marketing templates and collateral that partners can customise for distribution. 

It’s also important that you give them data-driven assets to inform their strategy, like:

  • Competitive analysis
  • Statistics
  • Case studies
  • Customer success stories
  • White papers

These types of marketing assets do more than make you look good on paper. They also give your partners material they can draw their own insights from, and so give back more value to your brand over a longer period of time.

But making sure your partners know how to use your content is just as important as making it engaging. 

How important is this alignment? A 2018 Content Marketing Institute and LinkedIn study found that 80% of marketers in highly-aligned companies did more than provide their salespeople with great content. They also showed them how and when to use it. 

When you’re creating assets for your partners, think about incorporating scheduling guidelines, like frequency rates and cross-sharing opportunities, as well as branding and messaging guides. This is both to make it easier for your partners to use your resources and to ensure that you’re creating the right content for your marketers’ needs.

Your partners’ marketing efforts might be well-intentioned, but they also might be a bit random and hit-or-miss. But, by ensuring you give them the right types of content and a proven template for how to use it, you’ll not only make your brand messaging consistent across channels, you’ll also be creating systems and processes for your partners to help support future growth.

Just remember: Engaging marketing assets and optimisation should always go hand in hand. And you don’t just need to optimise for different channels or audiences – you also need to optimise for different types of partners. 

Which leads us to our next point…

2. Enable the Right Marketing Options For Your Spectrum Of Partner Types.

Individual channel partners are always unique. They may vary greatly in terms of their team size, locations and budget.

The type of technology company they are in your channel will also have an effect, since Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Value-Added Resellers (VARs) may generate leads differently to System Integrators (SIs), Distributors or Aggregators.

Also, each will have a different marketing maturity and might have different ideas about how best to market their products and services in the context of your products.

Providing the same resources, guidance and support to all partners is a recipe for overwhelming your partners with information they might not need. Companies with good partner marketing enablement programs are cognisant of that fact. They try to avoid falling into the trap of becoming one of the 43% of B2B companies who have lost sales as a consequence of not having the right content, at the right time, for specific customers.

So if you want to promote better channel partner marketing enablement, make sure you have options for partners of different experience levels, budgets and marketing styles. Keep in mind that, while some might need resources from you to customise a single brochure, others might need assets to support multi-faced, integrated campaigns.

Naturally, expanding the marketing options you make available to partners introduces an added layer of complexity to your campaigns. This is why it’s also important to have a platform that facilitates intuitive and frictionless access to the precise resources partners need, when they need it.

3. Enable Frictionless Access To Marketing Resources

A fully-realised suite of marketing resources for every type of marketer is only good if your partners can get to it when they need it. So, make sure you have a platform your partners can use to access all your marketing resources and tools.

A cloud-based partner platform, however, is only as good as its design allows it to be, so you should put careful consideration into making sure it is as intuitive as possible. The fact that enterprise organisations lose over $2.3 million each year to the unrealised opportunity costs of unused or underused marketing content makes the importance of frictionless access very clear.

To make it easier for partners to get what they need, group different marketing resources in logical ways. Use groupings, topics, campaigns and end-user targets to enable partners to know instinctively where to find them. Additionally, track their usage so that you know which assets your partners need easier access to. This will also help you identify material that might benefit from better optimisation.

The easier you make it for your partners to access your marketing materials, the better you enable your partners to leverage them to improve their marketing and customer education efforts.

On top of organising your content well, you also need to make sure that it’s relevant for your partners to use. We tend to see vendors developing product-centric content that partners don’t want to deploy, so giving them the ability to personalise content for their own audience is important. 

Furthermore, new and fresh content needs to be continually added to the platform. It’s hard for vendors or channel marketing teams to keep up with the needs of all of their partners, but the consequence of not doing so is that content gets stale and out of date.

Finally, the content needs to be developed for local audiences. The most common issue we see is global channel marketers developing content that is only good for audiences in a single region. The content you provide for your partners needs to be developed globally, but relevant locally (where possible) in order to maximise relevancy.

4. Enable Channel Partners To Get The Most Out of Their Marketing Efforts

Great content and the tools to access it quickly put your channel partners in a position that improves their ability to market your products. But that doesn’t mean your support should end there. All good channel marketing strategies are collaborative efforts. So, anything you do to improve your partners’ marketing efforts helps.

You should expect most channel partners to have a solid understanding of marketing basics. Many partners are appreciative of companies who invest in sharing some marketing essentials, because it helps to fill gaps in their existing knowledge and update their skills.

So when you’re creating a partner enablement programme, consider offering online or face-to-face training in marketing essentials, such as:

  • Developing detailed buyer personas to complement the ones provided by your company
  • Segmenting markets and target audiences to better suit their environments
  • Building out targets lists in ways that are fully GDPR-compliant
  • Creating lead pipelines and sales follow-up processes to augment your own

You may also find setting up a marketing certification programme beneficial to your channel partner marketing enablement. This is something you should especially consider if your channel marketing program is large or well-resourced enough to support it.

A marketing certification programme provides partners with an opportunity for recognition. It also creates a prime opportunity for using gamification to improve training effectiveness and partner engagement.

5. Enable Channel Partners To Better Educate Customers

While marketing resources play an important part in attracting potential customers, they are also useful in channel partners’ efforts to educate them about your brand during the earlier stages of the sales funnel. Educating leads effectively is the key to conversions, improving customer satisfaction and retention, and encouraging a positive association with your brand.

Enabling channel partners to educate customers better entails empowering your partners to speak with assurance at any customer meeting. This objective ties back to the first point we made above about giving marketers the numbers, stats and competitor analysis to back up the claims they make.

In addition to great content, enhancing partners’ abilities to teach customers should also include getting them roped into the what, why and how behind any product and its promotion. This can mean giving them time to use the product for themselves. This firsthand knowledge helps your partners understand the context of the content they present to customers, which boosts their credibility and win rates.

6. Enable Face-To-Face Interactions With Partners.

Finally, all the other channel partner marketing enablement efforts we’ve mentioned see their best results when you engage with partners on a more personal level.

Like direct sales, partner engagement is something you can do best when you make an effort to get to know the personalities of the people involved and build closer relationships with them. Personal interaction develops a collaborative environment for sharing ideas, tips and advice. This environment results in an increased sense of community that makes your partners feel valued, and can be a great source of qualitative feedback for you to improve your partnerships in the future. 

Even if you can’t meet your partners in person, holding regular calls or video calls with them to get their insights and give them one-on-one tips for accelerating sales can go a long way towards improving the effectiveness of your partner marketing overall. 

There are some things that are just easier to communicate face-to-face, rather than via messages or email. 

Ready To Boost Your Channel Sales With Partner Marketing Enablement?

At Filament, we keep up to date with the latest developments in channel marketing. We also understand the enablement required to sustain an effective channel sales strategy.

We draw our knowledge from our years of working with vendors, organisations and partners across the IT, manufacturing and insurance industries. We can help you develop, implement and maintain partner marketing enablement programmes that directly translate into increased performance in your channel sales.

Get in touch with us to discuss how our team can become your agency partner for partner marketing enablement.

The best channel programs are structured to be mutually beneficial for the vendor and partners, whether they be Managed Service Providers (MSPs), Value-Added Resellers (VARs), System Integrators (SIs), Distributors, Aggregators, Retailers (e.g. for hardware) and various types of As-a-Service providers, e.g. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

Channel Programs are complex and require a well-defined value proposition and strategy to attract, recruit and retain ‘ideal fit’ Partners. Strategic consideration need to be made about channel marketing and Channel Partner enablement to support their marketing and sales programs. Some Channel Programs also support Partners directly by contributing or investing in their marketing, lead generation and sales.

These vendor contributions are called Market Development Funds (MDF).

What Are Market Development Funds (MDF)?

Market Development Funds (MDF) is a resource or sum of money that a vendor allocates to its channel sales partners to market their products and build brand awareness by funding a variety of marketing initiatives and activities. The funds can consist of monetary contribution, knowledge, a provision of executive or senior management time for appearances or co-hosted events, or providing access to in-house or existing resources.

How Do You Access Market Development Funds (MDF)?

MDF represents a meaningful resource in increasing or accelerating a Channel Partner’s sales and marketing efforts. However, accessing the MDF isn’t easy.

Every vendor’s Channel Program strategy is different. As a result, the structures and parameters of Channel Partner enablement is also different.

The process of accessing MDF varies according to application and acquittal criteria, the nature of the Channel Partner portal, the Partner’s relationship with the vendor and whether there are Partner tiers in place that have increasing MDF amounts built into higher tiers. Generally, MDF is allocated to Partners that can provide assurance to the vendor that this resource will be used for channel marketing purposes only.

Importantly, Partners usually have multiple vendor relationships across their service catalogue. That’s why it’s critical Partners can verify that MDF resources will only be deployed to promote the products and services related to the vendor’s business.

Unfortunately, market development funds have had a long history of being spent on channel marketing activities that are either not effective or don’t amount to any returns. So, the partner would also have to assure the vendor that their money won’t be misused.

Tips To Help You Access MDF To Increase Your Revenue Growth

Here are eight tips on how to access marketing development funds (MDF) to increase revenue growth.

1) Focus on a relationship with your vendor’s Channel Manager

Developing strong relationships with your vendors is the most critical component of all. Fundamental to this relationship building is enabling your Channel Manager to understand how they fit into your service catalogue. While Channel Programs are based around product or consumption sales margins, the real value for Channel Partners is in all the other high-margin services that can be delivered to end user customers. Working on strong and collaborative relationships for mutual understanding will be the most important factor in accessing MDF.

2) Develop a detailed campaign plan

In the past, MDF could be seen to be under-leveraged or misused due to lack of planning. The MDF proposal should a detailed plan for the MDF usage in the context of the campaign schedule. Creating an action plan that lists down the campaign purpose, target audiences, marketing assets and activities, metrics that will be monitored, reporting rhythms and target outcomes will support any MDF application. A detailed plan also gives your vendor’s Channel Manager assurance that the funds will only be used for activities related to the products and services relevant to the vendor.

3) Clearly demonstrate realistic ROI

Being able to show a Return on Investment (ROI) for the MDF is an important component, particularly when it comes to the acquittal of the funds. This means that your vendor’s Channel Manager must be able to report on what was gained by investing in you as a Channel Partner. This means that applying for MDF should include a demonstration or target ROI for the campaign, and for the vendor.

4) Outline measurable targets

Aside from ROI, the MDF proposal should also outline the targets the marketing funding will be used to achieve. Any target metrics measured should meaningful and relevant to lead generation.

5) Think digital with your approach

Common MDF applications have included requests for funding ‘lunch-and-learn’ or a ‘presentation and drinks’ evening. Looking for digital tactics to find prospects, nurture and qualify leads and convert sales will help in making an MDF proposal more promising.

6) Communicate, communicate, communicate

Regular communication between the vendor and the Channel Partner is of key importance when it comes to the effective utilisation of the MDF. Be upfront about how you will engage and keep the vendor updated on campaign progress. It will build confidence as to how the funds are being spent and will allow the vendor to give feedback about the partner marketing activities and let the partner know if they need to make any adjustments to their MDF spending strategy.

7) Figure out how and where to find net new prospects

Channel Partners often look to their vendors for access to prospects. Vendors want Channel Partners to find new audiences for their products. Developing a strategy to generate demand among net new prospects will make an MDF application stand out. Explore new avenues, develop prospecting lists, develop cold outreach campaigns and nurture funnels to generate demand for the vendor’s products.

8) Leverage external expertise

Experienced lead generation or marketing agencies that understand complex channel ecosystems and channel sales can be a great asset to have for both the Channel Partners and the vendor. These third-party agencies can ensure that MDF is deployed appropriately and can help in lead generation, creating clear plans, and marketing the products and services of the vendor and the partners.

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Leveraging the resources of their partners can enable organisations to sell more. But how can channel programs generate demand and qualify leads with and for their partners?

What is through-channel marketing?

Channel Sales Programs: The Advantages and Disadvantages

There are several advantages and disadvantages when leveraging your channel to complement your organisation’s sales and marketing efforts.

On the positive side, channel sales programs can harness the existing trust partners have with their customers. For example, if customers view your partners as a trusted advisor, your product and brand gain credibility by association. Channel sales programs are also highly efficient due to their economies of scale. Leveraging a partner’s sales force and existing customer base can act as a force multiplier for your sales and marketing efforts. It is a far more effective model than trying to build the same pipeline capacity in-house.

Although partner sales channel models may have many advantages, they also come with a few drawbacks. As you are not directly managing the sales process, you have less control over what is being said and done. This challenge does not only put potential sales at risk but can also damage your brand.

Another disadvantage often stated by organisations that are hesitant to pursue a channel sales program is reduced profitability. As the partner will earn commission in some form or another, sales are less profitable for the product or service owner.

Nevertheless, the positives of a sales channel program far outweigh any negatives. Even though organisations may have legitimate concerns about adopting this marketing model, proper management can mitigate potential disadvantages.

Working closely with your partners can reduce the risk of any brand damage and lost sales. If the relationship is mutually beneficial, the exponential increase in revenue can far exceed any diminished profitability in the medium to long-term.

What is Through-Channel Marketing?

Through-channel marketing is an innovative way for organisations to reach more customers by leveraging their partners’ relationships and connections. Harnessing the synergies offered through a consolidated marketing effort can help you grow sales while delivering a single, consistent brand and product message.


A through-channel marketing program can be a beneficial arrangement for both the vendor and the partner. Vendors get greater market reach and insight by centralising all their partner pipeline information. Partners benefit from enterprise marketing support and increased sales through collaborative marketing campaigns.

Through-channel marketing formalises, implements, and manages a consolidated strategic approach to channel sales. By consolidating every partners’ sales pipeline in one centralised location, the organisation can leverage channel synergies to drive better marketing. This distributed marketing model also enables organisations to scale their sales efforts.

Traditional channel programs often limit the number of partners an enterprise can manage. However, by consolidating pipeline and marketing effort, through channel marketing allows you to standardise your approach, giving you efficiencies through economies of scale.

Through channel marketing is also well suited for SMB and Mid-Market partners. Typically, these organisations have limited time and marketing resources. However, due to their size and market segment, they have trusted relationships with their customers. By leveraging through channel marketing synergies, organisations can offer their SMB and Mid-Market partners an enterprise marketing service.

This approach helps partners close more sales, leading to a greater affinity for the organisation’s brand, product, and service. The organisation also benefits by gaining better insights into potential customers, increased revenue, and a larger market share.

What Are the Benefits of Through-Channel Marketing?

In addition to the consolidated insights and strategic synergies through channel marketing offers, organisations can leverage several other benefits by adopting this marketing strategy.

Through-channel marketing can be a new source of competitive advantage

With the continual disruption organisations face today, the channel marketing strategies that worked in the past no longer apply. Partners continually refocus their activities on emerging trends and new delivery models. Customers are looking for more information before making any purchasing decisions, and when they are ready, look for trusted advice. New digital engagement channels have changed the way organisations interact with their customers, partners, and suppliers. 


Due to these constant changes, organisations need to adapt their channel marketing strategies. Stimulating demand in customers through traditional marketing media is no longer as effective as it used to be. Customers want solutions, not products, and only trusted advisors can provide that for them. Through channel marketing helps organisations unleash the true potential of their partner ecosystem. A consolidated view of their market and a consistent marketing strategy across the entire channel provides the data-driven insights needed for success.


Technology may underpin and help automate much of the heavy lifting needed to consolidate data and launch consistent content-led marketing campaigns. However, organisations still need service providers that understand the needs of both the vendor and its partners. A winning through channel marketing strategy relies on people, process, and technology, so finding a service provider that understands the entire channel ecosystem is vital in achieving a measurable impact. 

Enhanced customer influence

Digital transformation has had a direct impact on customer purchasing behaviour. As the world continues to embrace technology-driven platforms, customers often need to choose between complex alternatives. Due to this complexity, they often turn to organisations they trust to help them decide.

Through-channel marketing could take advantage of this change in customer behaviour by leveraging the trusted status many partners have with their customers. Leveraging this marketing approach, organisations can benefit from more effective demand generation, prospect nurturing, and sales outcomes.

Attract new customers and break into new markets

Another advantage of adopting a through-channel marketing strategy is the potential to sell products and services to new customers. As the internet has fundamentally changed the way we make purchasing decisions, including for B2B, through-channel marketing can help organisations reach new untapped markets.

These days customers are tech-savvy and prefer to take a proactive approach when purchasing a product or service. Organisations can benefit from this modern customer trait by leveraging partner relationships. For example, a through-channel marketing strategy can help you uncover differentiation opportunities and attract new channel partners. As partners have an intimate understanding of their customers’ needs, they can position your products and services to new markets far better than an internal sales function.

Measurable impact and ROI

One of the primary benefits of through-channel marketing is the deep insights you gain on your target market. A consolidated pipeline view of your partner ecosystem can help you track your marketing effort in a far more effective and efficient way.

As you can match your marketing campaigns with a quantifiable ROI, it gives you confidence in the measurable impact your activities make across your channel. With through channel marketing, you not only get an enhanced, consolidated view of your entire potential market. It gives you the capability to track all activities centrally, giving you better insight and control.

Where is Through-Channel Marketing Headed?

The growth in popularity of through channel marketing is evident in the growing number of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings available.

Multiple SaaS products can help you create, maintain, and automate your through-channel marketing strategy. However, even though technology automation can reduce the effort of a through-channel marketing campaign implementation, it cannot fulfil every need of the organisation’s partners. 

The human element in a through-channel marketing campaign remains a vital component. For example, automation cannot cater for brand personalisation and the regional relevance of content.


Although through-channel marketing tools offer numerous features, they are still tools. They always rely on people with the relevant skill and expertise to operate them. As a result of this interdependence between people, process, and technology, there will be an increased demand for service providers who can meet the needs of both vendors and partners.

Want to Discuss Your Through-Channel Marketing Strategy?

At Filament, we understand the modern challenges channel ecosystems face. 


 Having collaborated with organisations, partners, and vendors across technology industries, our proven track record gives us the unique capability to implement through channel marketing strategies that work. We can help you create, implement, and maintain through marketing channel strategies that deliver results


Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you take a strategic approach to through channel marketing.