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10 Ways to Evaluate Channel Marketing Management (CMM) Platforms

Effective channel marketing management (CMM) requires channel teams to have a dedicated program and methodology designed to deliver campaign materials and programs to partners.  But it doesn’t stop there.  It also needs to foster a collaborative relationship with your partners to encourage and support joint lead generation and sales efforts. To accomplish this, channel teams need a robust and comprehensive platform for channel marketing management.

There are several viable CMM options to choose from, a solid evaluation strategy should ensure that you choose the right CMM platform for your business.

Before you get started, it’s a great idea to understand and document your own channel requirements to make sure you select the platform that’s right for you.  Some requirements may be more important than others so ranking your requirements will help you effectively evaluate your options.

While reviewing offerings from companies such as Averetek, Elastic Grid, Revenew, StructuredWeb, Zift Solutions, and Zinfi consider the following criteria.

Once you’re ready to kickstart your channel marketing management program, download our eBook to learn how you can build a brand messaging strategy that speaks to your target customer.

1. Turnkey CMM

The first thing to look for is a platform that offers a comprehensive package that is ready for use. It’s ideal to hit the ground running, so seek out a platform that only requires minimal setup and customization to get started.  Platform features are important but It’s important to keep platform scalability, the total cost of ownership, and vendor viability in mind when making your selection.

2. Integration

Before selecting a CMM platform, it’s a good idea to ensure it will integrate seamlessly with other programs or systems your company already has in place. If you have a CRM or a marketing automation platform that the CMM platform needs to connect to, it’s important to understand these requirements upfront to avoid unwanted trouble uploading assets or sharing data across several networks.

3. Ease of use

Intuitive navigation within a platform is a necessary feature, not only for your company’s benefit but also for channel partners.  Keep in mind this solution is for the masses.  There will be varying levels of marketing sophistication within your channel so you need a tool that is easy for ALL partners to use. It’s difficult enough to encourage partners to participate in channel marketing and lead generation efforts without demanding they spend their precious time learning to utilize a challenging and confusing platform.

4. Access to assets

Most suppliers have digital libraries chocked full of marketing assets. Giving your partners access to assets that can be used to customize their campaigns is wise. A good CMM platform will include an avenue for permission-based entry to your digital warehouse of assets.

5. Customization

Both suppliers and partners require the ability to customize campaigns with elements that work for their business and their market. As a channel team, you will use the templates and frameworks provided by a platform to enter pertinent data and upload ready materials. You may also have the need to develop custom campaigns.  Your partners will then tweak as needed for co-branding and market customization. It is imperative that the CMM platform you choose offers this flexibility.

6. Event planning features

Lead generation often includes a variety of events meant to convert leads to form partnerships or make purchases. Comprehensive CMM software will provide tools to integrate such events into the overall marketing strategy.

7. Online syndication

Whether you have a handful of partners in your channel marketing structure or hundreds in the pipeline, delivering the most up-to-date information individually is tedious and redundant. Ensure the platform offers online syndication so that live updates can be pushed across partner sites automatically – without any manual labor required.

8. Long-term use 

Considering the time and expense involved in upgrading your CMM platform, it’s worth a little extra time upfront to find the right system for your business. You need a product that will work for you and your partners in the long run.  This is another reason why understanding your requirements before you get started is so important.  Not all CMMs are created equal and you want to make your selection based on your needs mapped to their strengths.

9. Tracking and analysis

Reporting is a must when it comes to tracking the efforts of your partners and assessing the results. Relying on partners to enter tracking data and report back with regularity is a dubious proposition, automation features will give one system the edge over a less sophisticated competitor.

10. Customer support

No matter how easy a CMM platform is to use and how comprehensive its features and tools are, it’s likely you’ll need help with implementation and integration at some point as well as updates and fixes over time. So make sure the customer service and support are well-trained and available before launching your new CMM platform.  Some CMM platforms even set themself apart by offering concierge services where they work 1:1 to support your partners with marketing plans, execution, and reporting.

At Leadit Marketing we’re experts at helping you get there.  We work with both channel teams to select CMM platforms and set up their channel marketing campaigns.  We also work with partners to create and execute the best possible plan, messaging strategy, and even content to help them succeed — so you both sell more, faster.   For more information about our planning services, do not hesitate to contact our B2B lead generation agency for a free marketing consultation.

Shannon Prager

Shannon Prager

Shannon Prager is a recognized B2B marketing strategist and the President of Leadit Marketing. At Leadit, she is responsible for partnerships, business development and the strategic direction of the company. A marketing leader with 25 years of B2B demand generation and marketing experience, she understands the importance of a fully developed integrated marketing strategy from marketing automation to end-to-end marketing operations. Follow her on LinkedIn (@ShannonPrager) for her take on the latest and greatest in B2B SaaS marketing.