Increased lead generation is a core goal for channel partner program. Channel partners hope to leverage the OEM’s brand and products to attract more leads, and OEMs hope that channel partners’ networks and niche experiences will bring in far more leads than they could otherwise reach.
But the reality is that channel partner lead generation can still be difficult. Partner companies face a variety of unique challenges and there’s a lot riding on their success.
When a partner doesn’t generate enough leads, it’s not just their revenue that’s in jeopardy. They may also risk losing good status or specific perks from the partner program. When multiple partners struggle to generate enough leads, the program itself may be at risk.
To keep leads (and revenue) pouring in for channel partners and maintain a healthy channel partner program overall, here are four lead-generating tips partners can put into action.
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Fill the Customer Journey with Content
Creating content may seem like a responsibility solely for the company running the channel partner program. They make the product or service; shouldn’t they also be the ones creating content about it?
In reality, content creation is an activity that both companies can take advantage of for lead generation. Research shows that B2B buyers usually interact with 13 pieces of content before making a purchase. Eight of those content pieces are directly from the vendor, with the remaining five coming from third parties.
Partners don’t need to reinvent the wheel for content creation. They can often use the content they’re provided through the channel program as a starting place.
For example, they could localize the OEM’s content by translating it to a different language or making edits so that its more applicable to the people in their region. They could also participate in some of the program’s provided content by offering a quote for a case study, appearing in a promotional video, or writing a guest blog post about a new customer. The content can then be reused on the partner’s website and in their marketing and sales efforts.
If partners decide to create their own original content, they can create more in-depth content and gate it behind a registration form to help with lead generation. There are several content types that are common for gating behind a form, including:
- White papers
- Case studies
Whether creating and gating their own content or repurposing content from the OEM, the right educational assets can be extremely effective in increasing channel partner lead generation as well as converting more of those leads into opportunities and customers.
Attend and Host Virtual Industry Events
Trade shows and industry conferences have always been a great way to get face-to-face with prospects. Even with virtual working, events are still a viable way to connect with new opportunities.
Many conferences and trade shows have online components, sometimes even including “virtual booths” where attendees can approach the partner’s team to chat like they would in person.
The upside to virtual events is that they’re cheaper to attend since there are no travel expenses. This can allow even more sales reps to attend the event and find new business opportunities.
Channel partners can also host their own virtual events for prospects. For example, webinars are a great way to educate prospects on industry applications for the products while also turning registrants into leads. Although a traditional webinar is a live event, their lead-generating power can be extended when you record them and share them as on-demand videos once the live event is over. The marketing team can then repurpose the webinars into additional content for awareness such as blog posts, social posts, or infographics.
Whether the partner is attending or hosting the event, they should take advantage of the power of name recognition. Logos for both the partner and the program manager’s company can appear in a presentation or at a virtual booth. This reinforces the idea that prospective customers can expect the same quality, product knowledge, and industry expertise from both companies.
Save the Ad Budget for LinkedIn
While social media advertising is nothing new, businesses are more likely to advertise on Facebook or YouTube than on LinkedIn. For many, that can be a mistake. B2B businesses can get a lot of value from investing some of their ad budget on LinkedIn.
Currently, LinkedIn has over 750 million members. Since the platform functions as a business networking site, there’s a higher expectation for sales-related content, making B2B ads a great fit. With each ad, users can also filter the audience by over 200 characteristics to mirror the company’s ideal customer. They can even exclude their own business’ followers from the campaign so that they’re not wasting ad clicks on people who already see their organic social media content.
With LinkedIn ads, users can set the objective to lead generation, and the ad will collect contact details in exchange for the offer. These types of ads are a great fit for promoting:
- Discounts: share the latest pricing updates for well-known products or services
- Online events: spread the word on an upcoming virtual conference or webinar
- Long-form content: share case studies, whitepapers, reports, e-books, and other educational materials
- Videos: share videos about specific products or use cases
Partners can export several analytics reports for ads to gauge how effective the campaign was and determine how to tweak future channel partner lead generation ads.
Bring a Lead Gen Specialist Team On Board
For partner organizations that would rather have their team focus on closing deals instead of sourcing and cold calling leads, they can outsource lead generation to a company that specializes in delivering marketing-qualified leads.
This is also a great use of market development funds (MDF), especially if you need to be certain that MDF will result in additional leads. Allocating part or all of your provided funds to a pay-per-appointment business development service will let you predict exactly how many leads you can expect for your budget.
Companies like ours, Inside Sales Solutions, take care of prospecting and vetting contacts to make sure each lead is a decision-maker and is genuinely interested in the offer. We also make sure the right leads are routed to the right sales rep and offer reporting capabilities for managers to track the progress of each leads’ status.
In our work specifically with channel partners, we deliver thousands of appointments each year worth millions in revenue. These lead gen efforts relieve much of the strain on partners to meet the expectations of the program manager’s company and allow partners to focus instead on their expertise selling in their region or niche.
Generate More Leads with Efficient Strategies
At the end of the day, channel partner programs are all about generating leads. Employing better strategies around content creation, events, advertising, and sales development can help fill pipelines for both the channel partner and the program as a whole.
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