PRM Best Practice: Partner Communications


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Communication is defined as “the process of conveying information from a sender to a receiver with the use of a medium in which the communicated information is understood the same way by both sender and receiver.”

Effective communication can be challenging enough between two people who know each other well, who are familiar with each others thoughts, ideas and communication styles and who are in close physical proximity to each other. It becomes more difficult for a vendor attempting to communicate with the channel partners with whom it has the most intimate of relationships. But what of the difficulties faced by countless vendors who must communicate daily with 100’s, 1,000’s or 10,000?s of channel partners with whom they have only the most basic of relationships and about which they have little or no knowledge?

The tendencies are either to deluge channel partners with daily generic email blasts, newsletters, announcements and direct mail in the vain hope that a handful might find them of some interest or value or else do nothing and maintain “radio silence”. Not surprisingly neither of these approaches ensures optimal channel partner performance. In this whitepaper, we will examine methods for improving your chances of turning partner communications into sales.

In most companies, the marketing director is a member of the main board or executive management team. The incumbent presides over and oversees the execution of the company’s marketing strategy. Curiously, even in companies who sell entirely through indirect channels, the individual responsible for the somewhat more complex task of marketing to, through and with the indirect channel does not enjoy such a senior position in the company. Very often, they do not even reside within the marketing organization at all.

This is unfortunate because it leads to a number of issues which we have come across time and time again:

  • Channel marketing is disenfranchised from corporate marketing
  • Channel marketing is seen as a tactical activity and an extension of channel sales and product marketing
  • Channel marketing staff are often not party to nor are they made aware of strategic marketing planning
  • Channel marketing fails to communicate important and useful information adequately or early enough to the channel to allow them to act upon it
  • The channel fails to market collaboratively with vendors – on message and on time
  • Vendors consequently fail to leverage their channel partner’s marketing resources and budgets effectively
  • Since channel partners fulfill the demand generated by vendor campaigns, the vendor fails to maximize ROI on marketing spend

This blog post is unlikely to address the lack of organizational development evident within most vendors. However, recognizing the problem and taking steps to minimize its impact would be good first steps.

“Channel marketeers” should adopt the same approach to partner communication as their corporate brethren take to corporate marketing communications to customers, they should develop a strategy, take a proactive rather than reactive stance and adopt an approach most likely to maximize the effectiveness of their partner communication activities:

  • Objective – What do you want to achieve through this or any partner communication?
  • Selection and segmentation of receivers – Who do you want to target and why? Medium – What is the best means of delivering your message
  • Message – What is the message?
  • Syntax – What do you want to say?
  • Semantics – How will you say it and how do you want it to be interpreted? o Call to action – What do you want the receiver to do next?
  • Response – What response do you want to solicit and how will it be made? Repetition and frequency – Will you repeat the message and if so when and how often?

More next week.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mike Morgan
Mike has over 20 years of ICT, OA and CE channel sales and marketing management experience and is responsible for Relayware's global go-to-market strategy as well as the sales and marketing functions while overseeing the company's operations worldwide. Mike is recognized as one of the industry's leading experts in indirect go-to-market strategy best practice.


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