Gaining visibility into investments for ROI and marketing development funds (MDF) is a top priority for vendors across all verticals. At the same time, companies that implement a channel sales model also seek strategies that will drive growth for tier two and three resellers. As a result, progressive companies are implementing joint marketing planning programs to align sales and marketing efforts throughout the channel and to boost campaign success.
“Joint Planning is a mainstay for consumer product areas, particularly in retail items,” noted Craig DeWolf, VP of Strategic Development for CCI Channel Management Solutions during a recent webinar. “In the BtoB area, it hasn’t quite caught on, but it has now infused interest into a lot of BtoB channel marketers.”
During the webinar, titled “Improve Channel Effectiveness through Joint Planning,” DeWolf highlighted the top benefits of leveraging Joint Marketing Planning in channel operations, including observing and tracking behaviors of top-performing partners and understanding where partners focus their sales and marketing activities. These noted capabilities make Joint Marketing Planning a top investment for BtoC companies, according to DeWolf.
Employing a Joint Marketing Planning solution begins with the development of a CHAMP (Channel; Alliance; Management; Plan) program, which covers the following areas:
Executive Summary: This area includes plan summary and goals, partner value proposition, company value summary, a success criteria, company overview and market position, and vertical/solution focus;
Performance Plan/Review: In this section, companies can cover investments in MDF, training and certification and also track partner performance plan and overall review. This can act as a “report card,” for partners over a specific period of time, according to DeWolf; and
Marketing Plan: Companies can cover partner objectives and other related goals, as well as how these goals align with vendors’ go-to market strategy. A comparison of forecasted and actual ROI can be provided, as well as optimal strategies based on target focuses.
“The CHAMP process has been around for a long time,” DeWolf said. “Although, its adaptations can be different from client-to-client or company-to-company. It is very much dependent on if your product is volume-focused versus value-focused, how long the sales cycle might be, whether you’re in a mature category or a leading edge category, what the consumer or end-user buying process may be, as well as what your competitive environment is.”
Although Joint Marketing Planning can increase operational efficiencies regardless of company go-to market strategies, there are multiple barriers that hinder adoption. Poor compliance regarding resource requirements, time management, or data standardization can halt channel progress.
“Complexity, right now, is one of the big targets for channel marketers out there to try to eliminate or reduce, and make it easier to do business with their partners,” DeWolf explained. “Very often, you’re putting these plans together, and yet the MDF processes to request funds as a result of the plan and managing claims and updating the plan often are separated from other processes that have to be done within the normal day-to-day components of making sure the plan gets executed. As a result, it’s a dis-incentive for partners and channel account managers (CAMs) alike to update the plan when essentially they’re already managing much of the data through separate systems.”
If partners and CAMs do not understand the benefits of implementing a Joint Marketing Planning strategy, they will view it merely as a waste of time, DeWolf noted.
Vendors can avoid these obstacles by following 7 best for Joint Marketing Planning:
1. Capture only the information you need;
2. Set realistic goals;
3. Attach consequences to Plan attainment;
4. Standardize data where possible;
5. Use approved plans as basis for MDF allocation;
6. Monitor performance against plan throughout the lifecycle; and
7. Use top performers as basis for best practices.
To gain further insight on the 7 best practices and learn how channel operations can benefit from Joint Marketing Planning, view an archived version of the webinar, here.