Engaging the overwhelmed partner

Engaging the overwhelmed partner

Insights from Amanda Hill, Director Channel Marketing, EMEA, 8×8

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We all understand that communicating with your technology partners must be clear, relevant and timely. Effective exchange of information is critical for transparent collaboration from enablement and product updates to sales and marketing programmes, and it fosters a positive and constructive environment to help build a strong foundation for a successful partnership. Some channel partners choose to focus on a few key technologies and vendors, perhaps between 5-10, to keep operations manageable. 
But for many partners this number is considerably higher, especially global partners or distributors who work with dozens or even hundreds of vendors. Offering a wide range of products and services requires more resource to manage these relationships, and with that also comes a huge volume of communications and information that needs to be shared with product managers, sales and leadership in these partners. It is needless to say but it’s easy for tech partners to feel overwhelmed…
With every vendor vying for attention, it’s critical for companies to not just reach out, but to genuinely connect. Amanda Hill, Marketing Director at 8×8, shines as an exemplar in this arena, employing targeted and strategic messaging to cut through the noise.

The challenge of overcommunication:

Amanda faces a common dilemma: the barrage of vendor communications that leads to partner disengagement. During a recent Coterie Community virtual meet-up Amanda highlighted the breadth of this issue—partners are swamped, and generic emails or social media blasts are no longer effective.
A Guided Approach: To combat information overload, Amanda and her team at 8×8 employ a suite of refined strategies:

Simplify to amplify:

Clear messaging: Amanda’s team crafts messages that are straightforward, focusing on key benefits and actionable items, which helps partners to quickly grasp the essence without sifting through extraneous details.
Predictable timing: Establishing a rhythm, 8×8 sends out communications at expected intervals, so partners can anticipate and allocate time to engage with the content.

Personalised engagement:

Segmented content: Amanda segments partners based on various metrics, such as sales data and past engagement, to customise messages that speak directly to each partner’s unique situation and needs.
Personal touch: Beyond emails, Amanda ensures that her team engages in direct conversations with tiered partners, using video calls to convey authenticity and build rapport.

Utilising Data:

Intent data analysis: Amanda’s team actively analyses intent data to help partners understand which customers are in the market for certain solutions, allowing them to tailor communications that hit the mark.
Incentivised engagement: Similar to other community members, 8×8 might offer exclusive programmes or tools for partners who consistently engage, creating a symbiotic relationship.

Tiered communication:

Dedicated training for top-tier: 8×8 invests in personalised training sessions for top performing partners, recognising their contributions and equipping them with advanced knowledge and skills.
Scalable training tools: For broader reach, 8×8 develops on-demand webinars and resource libraries that partners can access at their convenience, respecting their time and autonomy.

The power of proactive planning:

Proactive engagement is central to Amanda’s strategy. By sitting down with partners and co-creating H1 and H2 plans, she ensures that communications are not just sent but are also expected and welcomed because they are inherently aligned with partners’ goals.

Technology as an enabler:

Amanda leverages through-channel marketing automation tools to empower partners with personalized marketing materials, such as customisable Google ads and co-branded campaign templates, that partners can cobrand or  reskin using with their own branding.
Amanda’s approach at 8×8 provides a roadmap for meaningful partner engagement. The blend of clarity, personalisation, proactive planning, and smart technology deployment illustrates that the most effective planning is resonant and responsive to partners’ needs. By learning from these strategies, companies can craft a partner engagement approach that not only stands out but also strengthens the bonds with their partners for long-term success.

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