As a channel partner looking for value-added support from your technology vendors, what’s on your wishlist? Dawn Woodward, Marketing Manager at IT solutions company Xiologix, ranks custom content right up there with flexible MDF processes and marketing-focused incentive programs. Here are excerpts from her responses to a brief Q&A on what technology vendors can do to improve relationships with channel partners:
Q: What can vendors do to improve your relationship with them?
Provide custom content that speaks to IT professionals’ specific pain points and areas of interest.
“As a marketer, my area of expertise is not in the inner workings of IT Infrastructure. Our engineers, who are all very knowledgeable and experienced, are busy with configuration and installation work. This leaves me eager to have help from vendors sourcing non-salesy content that speaks directly to what today’s IT professionals want to learn, and how various solutions solve specific pain points.”
Q: What causes the most friction in your vendor relationships?
Strict MDF timeframes.
“Some vendors run very strict MDF quarterly request and approval schedules; there can be as long as a six week delay between when fund requests are due and when approvals are communicated. Because of this, we have had to pass on some time-sensitive marketing opportunities.”
Q: Describe a vendor-provided program you’ve found to be most supportive of your goals.
“Through Fortinet, we’ve had the privilege of working with ContentMX. ContentMX provided a marketing program that was the answer to my custom content shortage. I would identify a hot topic and ContentMX would write content using our company voice. They offered a number of other tools that were helpful such as a robust newsletter and social media management tool, as well as aggregated content from sources of my choosing. It’s a marketing program aimed at giving me tools to be successful in my role.”
Q: If a vendor were to ask your advice on the three things it could do to improve your relationship and/or better support your business, what would you say?
“My wishlist for vendors would be:
- Adopt flexible MDF request and approval processes with short timeframes between request and approval. By short, I would suggest less than a week.
- Provide channels for VAR marketers to access custom content aimed at topics that IT professionals seek. This would read like non-sales informational material, addressing specific pain points and offering information on how specific solutions address these pain points.
- Consider incentive programs for non-sales marketing professionals. That could be a win-win proposition!”