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.

Channel marketing is a unique and highly-specialised type of marketing.

Ultimately, the purpose of channel marketing is to generate demand, as well as identify and nurture leads, as part of a vendor channel sales program. This often includes through-channel marketing across many partners across a channel ecosystem.

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!

Attracting and retaining ideal fit channel partners unlocks the success of your channel program. But, if you want your channel sales to skyrocket, enabling your partners to perform their best is the surest way to success. This fact is particularly relevant when it comes to marketing.

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.

A vendor’s Channel Partner Program is meant to engage and enable Channel Partners to create value for end user customers.

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.

Want Support With Your MDF Application?

 Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you discuss MDF opportunities with your vendor partners.

Channels programs are a proven method to scale revenue and reach additional markets.

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.