Channel partners are sales allies — such as resellers, distributors, retailers, or agents — that collaborate with a company to market, sell, or distribute their products or services. Channel partners help companies:
- Scale their reach
- Tap into new markets
- Drive revenue growth
Channel partnerships can be tricky to manage since they involve an intermediary. For the strategy to work, you need to find channel partners who are motivated to sell your services — and you need to give them the insights to sell your services well. The more they succeed, the more they will help you scale up your revenue.
The most effective channel partners are those who have relevant expertise and can effectively sell your products or services.
For example, Salesforce works with external consultants to drive business growth, leveraging their industry expertise to enhance sales and marketing implementation and training. This not only expands the company’s reach, but also strengthens its position as a leader in the market.
Nestlé, the multinational food and beverage company, also collaborates with channel partners to sell its products globally. These partners — like supermarkets, convenience stores, and distributors — play a vital role in reaching consumers and managing supply chains.
Intent data is a powerful tool for finding the right partners and helping them sell.
Here are three ways you can use intent data to power a channel partnership sales strategy.
Intent Data Use Case #1: Partner Acquisition & Retention
Find and keep channel partners
Lack of data available for identifying potential channel partners, and low visibility into the activities of existing partners.
Intent data enables you to:
- Identify other businesses or consultants in the industry who have an interest in your solution. You can then strategically approach them — fostering relationships that expand your partner network.
- Uncover solutions and services that existing partners are researching, which can help you forge collaborative solutions.
- Spot potential risks, such as partners exploring alternative or competitive solutions. This helps you intervene.
Intent Data Use Case #2: Partner Lead Generation
Identify and engage high-potential customers for partners
Channel partners often lack access to critical internal data and systems necessary for targeted marketing and personalization. This inhibits effective sales strategies.
Generating leads for partners is critical for sustained growth and success.
Intent data helps identify accounts ideally suited for partners so they can prioritize the best sales and marketing opportunities. This enables you to:
- Create demand
- Generate leads
- Generate opportunities
- Boost partner ROI
Stronger audience targeting and lead generation makes it easier to convince partners to work with you on co-marketing and co-selling efforts. By pooling funds and resources for campaigns, both parties can maximize their reach and impact.
Reps can send regular account lists to partners that show where their accounts are in the buying process – and which are higher priority. Platforms like 6sense that gather intent data also offer automated alerts to let partners know when an account is showing interest – like researching high-intent keywords. The partner that owns that territory can be sent an alert through Slack, email, or another preferred method. The result is quicker sales.
A workforce management platform provider used 6sense intent data to help power its ABM partner strategy. One hundred percent of the company’s business is generated through its strategic partner network, made up of software developers, platform providers, and resellers.
The company selected high-revenue partners for special programs and worked closely with these partners to prioritize target account lists. In one instance, by loading curated lists into 6sense and adding more robust keywords into the platform, the company narrowed a list of more than 700 accounts to about 100 that were showing active buying signals.
This robust data enabled them to focus on high-intent accounts for paid media campaigns, directing traffic to specialized landing pages tailored for both customers and partners. Site traffic alerts provide real-time visibility – while weekly checkpoints on account progression ensure alignment and continuous optimization with partner objectives.
Intent Data Use Case #3: Partner Marketing & Sales Enablement
Close deals more effectively
Inadequate communication channels and collaboration tools between you and your partners can impede the sharing of vital information, leading to misunderstandings and missed opportunities.
By sharing valuable insights like account activity, you can help partners drive active deals and maximize sales efforts.
Communication is key in this case. Partner reps must stay up to date on partner priorities and preferences and develop content that caters to the unique pain points and needs of different customer segments.
Channel partners often have a broad portfolio of services to sell. Keeping your brand top-of-mind, and providing strong educational materials and sales material, is key for success.
Walk into any Lowe’s and you’re likely to see a kiosk for ReBath, which offers bathroom remodeling services. A home improvement store is a valuable channel partner for a remodeling brand, so ReBath put a lot of effort into sales enablement.
They set up:
- A training portal to help Lowe’s employees learn how to sell ReBath
- An expert hotline that Lowe’s sellers can use to answer questions they have about ReBath
- Educational booklets detailing situations where ReBath is an ideal solution for Lowe’s customers
- Sales collateral
- In-store signage and displays
Another example: Wealth management consultants typically work with a range of institutions to provide services to clients.
A financial institution that wants to engage wealth management consultants as channel partners would want to:
- Identify strong potential customers for specific channel partners
- Help the consultant market more effectively to high-priority clients by providing account intelligence (keywords specific accounts are researching, and how far they are in their buying journey).
- Provide custom marketing materials and joint marketing campaigns. For instance, the financial institution may run a digital campaign to drive registrations for the consultant’s webinars.
- Host partner appreciation events that allow consultants in different territories to network and share best practices for growing revenue
Intent data can transform your channel partner sales strategy, from identifying and nurturing partner relationships, to arming those partners with powerful insights that drive mutual success.
Keep in mind, the impact of your partner strategy hinges heavily on:
- Open lines of communication between reps and partners
- Accurate and up-to-date account data
What works for one channel partner may not fit the mold for another. Take an adaptive approach, tailoring strategies to align with the needs and dynamics of each.