“Do you have co-branding?”

I have heard this question more times over the past 5 years representing PRM and Channel Management technology than I have any other question.

As an eager, and hungry sales leader this question hit me in the gut every time, because my answer was… “No, but…”

This was typically followed by some frustration being felt by the prospect. Overtime, the feature got built and when we started to see the lack of actual partner adoption of the feature it really made me start to wonder why vendors wanted the feature, but partners weren’t using it. Where was the disconnect?

Is Co-branding really useful?

It was at this time that I began to realize that when it came to the world of channel programs and PRM, Co-branding as a feature usually did more harm than good. At Vartopia, once a quarter we meet with our Partner Advisory Council, a group of leaders from the largest Resellers in the world to get feedback on what they like and don’t like about the technology being deployed by vendors they do business with.
What we learned, when it came to the feature of cobranding was a bit of a surprise. In short, their favorite partners had conversations with them, they did not ask them to use a feature in their PRM.

Here are some of the main reasons why co-branding should be a conversation and not a feature:

Sales Reps are NOT marketers

JPEG, PNG, PDF, SVG… Enough said. Leaving this option to choose is generally not a good idea. Now, let us talk about Pixels. What size is the correct size for the logo? Is this the most updated version of the logo?

Our data here at Vartopia proves that more than 98% of the time, sales reps are the ones logging into the partner portal, not marketers from the partner organization. If a sales rep needs a piece of Co-branded collateral, chances are it is a worthwhile opportunity (probably one that has already been approved through your deal registration software).

As a vendor, wouldn’t you want to know that a sales rep needs your help on an opportunity? Let alone, they would undoubtedly pick the wrong one ending in a lost opportunity to gain brand recognition with that partner and prospect.

Don’t automate away an opportunity to collaborate

The world of channel and partners, at its core, is all about collaboration between two organizations. Sometimes three if a layer of distribution, or Master Agents are involved. Channel Account Managers working with Partner Reps, all with the goal of closing a deal with a prospect who is not doing business directly with the vendor.

Since the proliferation of partner portals being deployed over the past two years, vendors are seeing consistent declines in marketing related activities inside their portals already. Vendors – wake up! Take this as a sign.

If a sales representative needs help, give it to them. You are trusting them with revenue targets, why not invest time together on a document that will wow the prospect. What we have found is that high performing channel teams ask Sales Reps at partners to submit a form with a few pieces of information usually requested:

1. Deal Reg ID associated with the opportunity
2. Level of Urgency needed on marketing collateral
3. Buyer Persona/Title
4. Do you have an example document we think we should use together? (With a spot to insert a link to the document)
5. How else can we help you win that deal?

Treat this form submit like a HOT Inbound lead. Strict internal SLA adherence, build routing rules to get it to the right rep quickly. Collaborating with this partner will turn into such a better experience than asking them to go find the right logo, and the right size of the logo, log into your portal etc.

Across the channel and partner world we are seeing a resurgence of organizations looking to humanize their partnerships more and more, trying to find ways to not ask partners to login to partner portals. This comes as music to the ears of resellers who are consistently being provided with hundreds, if not thousands of portal options to login to.

Replacement of Co-branding feature!

It is undoubtedly frustrating for channel marketers who invest in PRM software, but that frustration can be turned around by simply turning off the co-branding feature and replacing it with a form. Yes, it will entail a bit more work, but your partners will benefit, and in turn your channel revenue will grow.

How Vartopia can help

With Vartopia’s tools like EZUpdate, and QuickReg vendors now can provide access to partners for deal registrations and updates without ever having to login to partner portals. To learn more about how Vartopia can help you in closing more deals with help of our products, request a demo today.