Influencing a decision has always been the goal of strategic marketing. More importantly, the fundamentals of marketing are based on the fact that doing so requires multiple touchpoints at different steps in the decision-making process.
At its most basic form, brand advertising is the first step in the process. Its goal is to raise the awareness of the company to the point where in the future the decision-maker will recognize the brand and be at least open to considering it when it’s time to buy.
While there has been a lot of research around the “buyer’s journey” in the decision-making process, the most significant research around the “partner’s journey” toward deciding whether to sell one supplier’s offering over another was conducted last year by The Channel Company.
The details around that are too complex to discuss here, but there is another equally important consideration as to why influencing the channel partner when it is deciding to bring on a new suppler is so important.
Fundamentally, it’s about scale. It’s important to understand the buyer’s journey to know how to influence that single buy. But in the end, the work and expense necessary to accomplish the desired result produces a single, while important, purchase.
Understanding how the Strategic Service Provider (SSP), aka the solution provider partner, decides which supplier to add and executing successfully to engage partners produces something else. It produces a potential sale opportunity every time the SSP engages a customer.
Let’s use a simple math formula as an example. If an SSP has five outside sales reps each with just 25 regular customers and meets face-to-face with each one monthly, there are 1,500 sales calls happening every year from that single solution provider organization. If the SSP employs an outside call center that can set three appointments per day, there is another 750 sales calls in a year.
So understanding and successfully bringing a new partner on board clearly scales very nicely.