What's in a name? A brand name to be precise. A lot, I would say.
You could take a company with technical expertise, customer loyalty, tons of experience, a dedicated team, and you'd still be left with a company half as good as it could be if it had brand recall. In today's hyper-competitive climate, brand equity is critical across companies, immaterial of their size.
Traditional channel partners, in particular, continue to grow in the reflected glow of the brands of their vendor alliances. But with technologies' colours changing fast and OEMs spreading themselves thin, it will be a 'mission impossible' for enterprise channels to continue to piggyback on the brands of their alliances.
Ask yourself: Are you identified first as a channel partner of X or Y and then seen as a competent solution provider or a popular technology company? Do you believe that technology companies that are majorly-or solely-dependent on their OEMs for all branding activities are seen as loyal channel partners? Think again.
Spend time, money, and resources to create your own brand. Allocate the budgets necessary to create vital components of a channel business including marketing, advertising and PR. Many channel folks are reaping the benefits from taking this plunge. Be willing to spend on branding as a portion of your sales targets and profit margins, and cast it in stone at the start of a fiscal.
Enterprise technology companies continuously empower their channel partners at events, awards ceremony, partner meetings and networking conferences. I am not suggesting to impart less importance or boycott these vendor-led activities. The mutual benefits of co-marketing, joint GTM, MDF-shared events to both the sides-OEMs and the channel-is colossal. But partner organizations must also market their stories highlighting technical strengths, domain expertise, and entrepreneurial vision. Customers should weigh your company's value proposition first, and then weigh your vendors alliances.
Many partner companies seldom bother to redesign their websites. That's a 'self-dug' pit. Websites are the virtual face of your company. Highlight the 'vendor agnostic' story you have proudly been asserting with customers-on your site. Mentioning OEM alliances is great-but it should not always be the 'poster thing' on your online space.
Indulge intelligently in 'almost-zero budget' social media marketing. Popularize reference case studies among potential customers. Create innovative visiting cards for the team. Design e-brochures that get you noticed. Websites, visiting cards, brochures et al may sound inconsequential but as coach and trainer Mike Marchev says in his blog, "Little things can make or break deals. Remember Elephants don't bite, mosquitoes do."
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