By Latane Conant, 6sense
Any successful company knows that one of its most valuable relationships is with its channel partners. In fact, 75% of B2B sales will be done through some type of channel, so it’s a huge revenue-generating opportunity for many of us. We know our channel partners are an extension of our sales team, but because of the unique relationship — where they work with vendors that are in direct competition to us — we need to differentiate ourselves and stay top-of-mind with our channel’s front-line sellers.
ABM is a great option to provide that differentiation. The results don’t lie. A recent TOPO report shows that when you leverage ABM, you see better win rates, increased upsell and deal size, and shorter sales cycles, not to mention, increased pipeline. However, that same study also reveals that ABM leaders are only leveraging 4% of account-based efforts to support partners. Obviously, this is a huge opportunity that remains largely untapped. So, if you’re looking to break out of the noise and differentiate yourself as a channel champion, here is your opportunity!
Applying An ABM Approach For Channel Partners
If we want our channel partners to sell for us, we need to ensure we’re helping them select the right accounts, given their unique profile as a partner. This means, as an extension of our selling team, channel partners need the same advantages as our revenue teams to generate quality leads.
To successfully leverage ABM for the channel, we must have a great foundation for ABM, which is all about insights and orchestration capabilities. AI and predictive intelligence can determine the ideal customer for a partner or segment of partners by uncovering the “dark funnel”— a.k.a. anonymous research being done on the web. They can also help our partners execute multi-channel campaigns to drive net-new demand. Sharing rich account data like persona maps, dark funnel activity, keywords and buying stage with partners allows them to appropriately engage the right accounts at the right time.
In a competitive landscape where partners can offer your solution or a competitor’s, this is an approach that will set you apart as the brand of choice.
Recruiting And Retaining Channel Partners
Through next-level engagement, you can grow your partner ecosystem dramatically in a short amount of time. But, to construct your messaging strategy and target prospects with personalized ads about becoming a partner, you’ll need insights like:
- Who are your ideal partners?
- Which partners are spending time on your website?
- Which partners are spending time on your competitor’s website?
- What top keywords are partners interested in?
- What key personas from partners are engaging? Who’s not engaging?
We can determine our ideal partner profile the same way we would determine accounts who are “in-market” — or currently looking to buy a solution. Use insights to discover which partners are in-market to represent or help sell the product line and determine what’s important to those partners. This only creates a win-win situation.
And, just like you can never stop selling and engaging customers, you can never stop selling and engaging your channel partners. Because channel partners often represent multiple brands, we need to cut through the noise. Uncovering our partners’ activity helps us learn where and how we should be “selling” to them. Using targeted ABM ads means we’re top-of-mind while providing relevant help and information to their team.
As any channel champion knows, channel sales work. Now more than ever, platforms are emerging to deliver both insights and orchestration to sales, marketing and channel teams. With account-based orchestration, we can stand out from the crowd, strengthen relationships and generate and close new opportunities with our channel partners.
As CMO of 6sense, Latane Conant is passionate about empowering marketing leaders with effective technology, predictive insights and thought leadership, so they can confidently lead their teams, company and industry into the future.