Today’s B2B buyers are tech-savvy and acutely aware of what they need. This means resellers must work harder to get their attention and gain loyalty. Buyers will oscillate between channels and typically spend 27% of their purchasing time researching independently online.
To engage modern prospects on a nonlinear buying journey, you must understand how to interact with different sales channels and use them for outreach accordingly. The best resellers combine several avenues to drive brand awareness, generate pipeline opportunities, and increase channel enablement.
Paid ads, social media, in-person events, and other cogs work together to leverage leads, increase visibility, and drive revenue. The following are a few of the top sales channels successful resellers are using to stay on top of their game and why they work so well:
Organic Search and Online Ads
Organic and paid search create more touchpoints in the buyer’s journey and increases the likelihood of engagement. Online ads are about improving your “findability” through search engines like Google and Bing. This is a natural first step since approximately 68% of all online connections start with a search query.
The main difference between organic and paid search is that organic refers to the actions taken to naturally build domain authority, like SEO. Paid search uses paid online ads to reach an audience faster and increase your ranking.
Some quick tips to improve your organic and paid search include:
- Direct user segments to personalized landing pages with programmatic ads and ABM.
- Align content with buyer intent and search queries, rather than keywords.
- Always give clear CTAs and makes sure ads lead users to immediate conversion points.
This can be a tricky reseller channel as search algorithms and privacy compliance laws can completely change all of your efforts overnight. That’s why it’s important to use this strategy along with other channels on this list.
Webinars and Podcasts
Resellers who specialize in SaaS and other technologies understand that presenting as a thought leader to answer questions is the best approach to modern sales. You have to solve problems and make the buyer’s life easier. One sales channel to accomplish this is through webinars and podcasts.
Webinars are typically live events (although they can be pre-recorded) that will feature both audio and video. Podcasts are an audio-only medium and are generally recorded ahead of time. Both are great ways to reach a niche, and more informed audience, as they discuss topics in greater detail.
Some partner enablement strategies to improve webinars and podcasts include:
- Call in experts to your live virtual events with high authority, like founders and CEOs.
- Conduct a question and answer session to improve engagement and involve listeners.
- Have dynamic visuals and a well-prepared presentation or topic to stay on track.
These types of sales channels are intended for top-of-funnel reach and are powerful tools for warm leads. Social media is a vital part of a partner enablement framework. According to a recent survey by Gartner, social advertising and organic social media have risen to the highest of all sales channels.
A good social presence ensures your brand is easily discovered when buyers scroll through social media to gather information on a product.
When it comes to specific social channels, buyers tend to use Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to educate themselves. LinkedIn and Twitter are used to search for a company and find out about a product/service (i.e. awareness).
For technology and software, review sites like TrustRadius, Capterra, and G2.com are all good places to engage with consumers and educate users.
Some channel enablement strategies for social media platforms include:
- Engage with communities where target buyers are active and prioritize discussions.
- Use your website to retarget prospects on social media through advanced advertising.
- Know your goal when choosing between cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-impression (CPM) models.
Resellers should never underestimate the importance of in-person sales channels. Are you headed to where your best prospects are? It should be your goal to position your brand at every event possible to convey a sense of breadth, depth, and channel involvement to your potential and current partners.
The best way to do this is by showing the value that your brand is already associated with. What better way to build partnerships than at a big IT conference? A few of the top events include:
Gartner Symposium - October - Orlando
This is the world’s gathering of CIOs and Senior IT execs. It’s a great opportunity to establish your dedication to innovative approaches to old problems.
ChannelCon - August - Miami
Top tech thought leaders spend three days of collaborative and educational sessions for building new partnerships.
IBM Think - May - San Francisco
This is the premier event for what’s new in mobile, cloud, and security. It’s for every reseller interested in creating better solutions
Small Local Events
Another often overlooked channel is that of small events that focus on community building. It’s a combination of experiential marketing and influencer meet-ups. Here are a few creative ways to bring smaller groups together in a localized setting:
Host a Class or Workshop
Bring customers into your business and build a community by hosting a local class. Partner with other small businesses to see what skills they may be able to showcase and even teach interested attendees. Boost engagement by making these classes a monthly occurrence.
Create a Festival
This is a classic community event that can increase brand visibility in the local region. As the organizer, you can choose from countless themes from seasonal to interactive, and so forth.
Host a community event in your space that will support other local businesses. Seek out independent professionals and others that might not be able to host in their own space.
This type of sales channel is for the mid to lower funnel prospects who are already paying attention. Email marketing is one of the best ways to customize your messaging and reach a small segment of interested buyers. It’s still one of the most effective ways to speak to prospects.
Email helps to drive purchases among buyers who already show a propensity to purchase. It’s also a valuable source of insights for other channels since it’s an owned, first-party data asset, which is mostly immune to changes in data privacy laws.
Best practices for effective channel enablement and email marketing include:
- Segment your data through lead generation forms, with parameters like location, job title, and industry.
- Have prebuilt email templates to help target broader user segments more effectively.
- Create emails that are mobile-friendly and responsive to mobile device formats.
Email retargeting is also helpful because a reseller can leverage information about existing customers, to offer a more personalized experience.
When it comes to reseller sales channels, stats on the Gartner survey show that CMOs are allocating 72% of their overall budget to digital channels (whether that is owned, paid, or earned).
B2B leaders are spending a lot more on paid search, which typically follows a PPC model. This means resellers should be prioritizing investment in paid search whenever possible. The same goes for social media. More than 50% of B2B marketing leaders have increased investment in social channels. Why shouldn’t you?
There’s no rule that says you can’t combine your channel enablement efforts across multiple verticals. Scale your business and reach new markets by cross-marketing on the right sales channels. The more research you put into channels that work best for your business, the easier it will be to reach a target audience, engage prospects, and satisfy clients.