Channel Call

Microsoft Resellers: Cracking the Demand-Generation Code

The Microsoft reseller that can implement a process and system to develop opportunities on its own will always win in the marketplace.

I've been discussing efficiency and productivity -- all the great things that you must do if you want to increase your profit margins as well as build sustainable, long-term businesses. This month, I round out the "gears" in optimal channels by discussing demand generation -- a topic that seems to always get attention.

Reap the Benefits
Cracking the code on generating leads and opportunities has always been essential within a channel. The vendor expects the reseller to produce new leads and the reseller looks to the vendor for the same thing. This circular logic always leads to the same outcome: frustration and finger pointing.

With this said, the reseller that can implement a process and system to develop opportunities on its own will always win in the marketplace. Those that get stubborn and wait for leads to be sent to them will wither away. How do we create the former scenario so that you can reap the benefits?

Multi-Pronged Problem
For small to midsize resellers, the problem with conducting demand generation is multi-pronged.

Small and lean, they typically lack dedicated marketing employees, time and money for list purchases, SEO and campaigns.

Second, they go after marketing in a piecemeal fashion, tackling tactics opportunistically -- never really gaining traction.

As an example, I recently spoke to a reseller who asked a salesperson to buy a list and then conduct a campaign. The salesperson bought the list (not a great list), wrote a marketing message (not a great message) and then did a generic broadcast e-mail (only one e-mail, without any follow up or "drip" campaign). The results were not great.

Sound familiar?

Turnkey System
As I was developing my paradigm for efficiency, I went on a search to find a solution to the problem, because over the past year, this problem expanded to larger resellers who started slashing marketing budgets in an effort to survive.

As I outlined my requirements, I looked for a system that was turnkey, used minimal resources to operate, could get up and running in a short period of time, leveraged the cloud, and aggregated all the marketing processes in one spot (think lists, SEO, templates, content and so on).

I found a good example of a solution that meets those requirements at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference last July. There, in a session on cloud-based computing, I met the CEO of a group called Marketing Advocate. Its solution essentially does all the heavy lifting for the reseller when it comes to marketing. It has the relationships already established with list companies, SEO experts and outbound telesales companies, and the company provides e-mail campaign templates, methodologies and metrics. All the reseller needs to do is plug into the system, run the processes and then measure the leads that come through.

Like any system, it's what you put in that counts, but tools such as that from Marketing Advocate simplify the entire process into a low-cost, cloud-based offering that any reseller can leverage to create leads and opportunities.

Key Areas of Efficiency and Productivity
Over the last three months, I've investigated three key areas of efficiency and productivity: enablement, partner relationship management and now demand generation -- all of which reside in the cloud and all of which provide cost benefits.

Those vendors and resellers who decide to leverage these sorts of systems will undoubtedly leapfrog their competition and attain higher profits as well.

Next Time: Could Metrics

About the Author

Keith Lubner is Chief Business Strategist at Sales Gravy, the sales acceleration company, and managing partner of C3 Channel, a global consulting organization focused on channel strategy, design, enablement, outsourcing and training for growing companies. For more information about Keith, visit www.c3channel.com, www.channeleq.co or www.salesgravy.com.

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