B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

57: Getting your Channel Marketing Right w/ Graham Smith

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In the highly competitive landscape of cybersecurity, channel marketing should focus on facilitating conversations and building relationships--not pushing agendas. 

Raising awareness among channel partners and end users is only a challenge if your reputation isn't strong

On this episode, I talk about channel marketing with Graham Smith, UK Marketing Lead for F-Secure, a cybersecurity software company. 

What we talked about:

  • 3 solutions to channel marketing challenges
  • Why listening to channel partners is so important
  • How to prove your value without pushing an agenda
  • Scaling partner enablement and facilitating conversations


To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast.

 If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, you can listen to every episode here.



You're listening to be to B RevenueAcceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executives stay on thecutting edge of sailes and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show, I welcome to V to B RevenueAcceleration. My name is Dancy Brook an I'm here today, with Graham Smith, UKMarketin lead at Efsecor. How are you today, Graham I'm? Well Tam, you yeahvery good. Thank you. It's the sun's Shining, although it is starting tofeel a little bit colder. So I think that's a well and truly summer overnowI'nfortunately here in the UK, so frham today we're talking to o about channelmarketing. But before we go into that conversation, you please introduceyourself to our audience and tell us more about yourself as well as F,secure, which is, of course, the company or representing sure. So, let'sstart with F secure we're a CYBE security company. We have head officein Helsinki in Finland and for over thirty years, we've been achievingAtmission, which is pretty simple: It's keeping people and business safe. Sopractically we are a software vendor number of security solutions, so topbanks, airlines and also smaller and medium companies. Trust EF, secure,ethey've, got access to where software and our teams of expert people, and wehelp them to tackle the serer that the world's most potent cyethreats myself,I'm gram Smith. I've got twenty years of experiencin marketing, Ofe work forsmall and large companies across a range of sectors. Here at Efsecure, Ilead our marketing in the UK, essentially a focus on raising profileamong in theewsof buyers of corporate security, individuals like CSOS and itdirectors, for example, and also increasing awareness of secure withinthe channel community in the UK, and so in both instances. What we're lookingto ultimately do is that deliver leads pipeline and revenue from our marketingactivities. That makes sense and if I'm not mistaken, fsecure originally well,not necessarily originally, but as part of your business have been selling toconsumers as well. So I guess for for a...

...marketing. Professional rat presentsinteresting challenges as a business, we've worked with companies like trend,microne Mawere Bites, which Av, which have come from a similar background. Sofor you, when you're, when you're, raising awareness and go ingto, thechannel partners and also end judes, is that a challenge is hat, as thatpresent is that presenting a different Challeng from from your typical B to beorganization from birth? I think it's only a challenge if your reputationisn't strong- and I think the one thing I've observed f secure is Ou, O rreputationist for people now us on the consumer side for having greatantivirus software for the for the home, and we have a number of large operatorclients in the UK orits and they know. As for our corporate solutions, anagain, as I said, we're trying to keep the sort of world's biggest banks andairline safe, think the reputation is really strong. So actually that'sthat's that helps us. People know us as a corporate or a consumer brand as longas the fsecure brand is strong, I think that's the main thing and we achievethat globally, which is really strong clearly with well known in the Nordix,but we're starting to increase awareness and revenue. Frankly, allaround the world, interesting, okay, brilliant. So one of the things thatwe've recently discussed, I a few challenges a that you've come acrosswhen executing your channel strategy ad es secure, as well as solutions thatyou've put in place from a marketing self perspective to Tackle ThoChallenges. itwould be great if you could share your experience with ouraudience around how you solve some of those challenges and also explain. Ithink you said there's three key lessons really that you've learned fromit in Dealin some of those channel challenges sure. So I think that thefirst thing that vendors f secure are no different to any other vendor. It'sa highly competitive landscape and you are competing for share of voice andRevenue, ultimately with any channel partner, and then the UK channelholistically. So, yes, there are a few...

...lessons that I've learned and I thinkthey can be applied to make that difficult challenge slightly easier. Sothe first lesson would be to clearly segment your channel base and that'sgoing to be around your existing anters and Alse of your prospect, ones, theone you want the ones you want to work with and then you've got a way offocusing your efforts, because we've all got a limited amount of time andresources so that might men you have three groups of partners. You've gotyour high touch partners. It's a small number of high revenue focus partnersthat you're going after could be. You know single single figure numbers somehigh potential partners, perhaps less commercially important, but you'redoing some work with them, and certainly they may have the potentialto and then there's the long tale. Typically Yo, your smaller partners-and I think the related lesson here- is that all of your partner base can bringyou revee, you they're all valuable and important, but it just by segmentingthem. It means that you can focus your efforts where they're most likely togetAr Return. Second, less than is certainly around listening. MARKETESare typically holding the microphane when it comes to your organizations,communications and it's a kind of privilege, but dangerous position to bein at times I's, certainly dangerous. If you don't fully understand what thechannel wants, you kind of run the risk of being irrelevant and disingenuous.So I think channel marketers need to be in the field as much as possible tonetwork with their marketing counterparts working in the channel,but where possible, meeting with the leadership teams and certainly thesales teams working in the channel. So from a cybesecurity perspective. Thequestions I tend to ask our channel partners is: Why do your clients byessecure and why don't they by US- and I think, knowing these answers andlistening to them can help you shape future communications and make surethat you win more than you lose? And you know one of our focus. UK partnersgoes to market by sector, but I only know that by having a good relationshipwith their managing director, who also...

...oversees their marketing than weproduced a great report for the finance sector, looking at the threat landscape-and I sent that to him on a Monday and by Tuesday was on their website, so fecwas positione as the vendor of choice for their financial services, clientlepossible by listening and understanding, you know what's relevant to aparticular partner. The third lesson, for me is around proving value. In myexperience, marketing from technology venders to the channel is often a listof kind of generic unquantified benefits and at a high level, thismight kind of read something like drive your business growth by selling oursolutions to your customers, and that might be true. But often the detailbehind these communications doesn't sort of answer some of their crucialquestions. So why should I buy F Secor Cypersecurity Solution? Instead of allthe other choices, I've got in the market and how much bottom line will Imake from this? So it's really kind of understanding, jis the quantifiedcommercial opportunity from a partnership with ever secure and kindof Bein. Conclusion how how valuable can you be to me? So I think that proofof values really important- and I think, if you marksing, doesn't answer thosekey questions and it is quite a challenge to do so. It's not easy. Youshould still be asking yourself. Is there more? I can do to achieve kind ofimportant shiftin mindset. What I mean by that is the current mindset amongvendors is sometimes you know. We've got to keep telling the channel howgreat our technology is. Think that needs to change, so the channel isinstead saying to its fenders. You know what I've got a great customer for youand I think I want to deliver a solution for them lip. Let me tell youabout them and let's go on that journey together and win that win that client,but you can only do that. You can have that mindset if the channel trulyunderstands the value that your salutes everybody yeah interesting, there's someinteresting point shere and I think if I look at that first point: You justmade around segmenting your partner base. I think some of the challengeswhen it comes to from a marketing perspective to your point, is if you're,if you, if you've, got a large channel...

...network, if you've got a lot ofpartners, it's really realistically you can. You cannot support every singlepartner with either marking activities or marketing funds, or indeed, if yougo one step further from a Solos perspective, a partner account manager.I is impossible to do that for me from a sort of marketing perspective at F,secure when you said ment load partners, lhose partners get different levels ofmaybe not attention, but whether it's cofunding, marking activities orsupport or opportunities dread drit fed to them. How do you sort of decipherhow much support you give each of those different levels of partner? They dosimply. We have a global partner program, it platinum, gold, silver. Soit's relatively, I think, traditional and understood by the channel, and, yes,it gives them different levels of benefit, largely related to revenue. Sohow much Ho? How kind of financially important? Are they the the reallyimportant message that we share with the channel whether it's in the UK oranyone else else for that matter? Is that they're valuable to us? We areabsolutely a channel business and all levels of partner gets, gets benefitand gets value from the relationship, whether it's comarketing funds, whichare available at certain evels or just simply having a point of contact withinwithin the UK or the market they operatn in or access to our content.We've also got a partner Porto where it makes it really easy for our partnersto self serve and get pricing and effectively registered deals reallyefficiently. So we understand the channel, we're passionate about it andtry and make it as easy as possible for them to be commercially successfulalongside US yeah, and I think, that's really important, because what you'vejust described there round how you actually support the partners of allsizes, it's just varying levels of support, of course, sort of links tothat third point around proving value to the channel and actually gettingyour channel partners to buy into...

...wanting to sel our solutions, ratherthan you pushing your solutions down the throat and then why that's onImportanan it partparticularly in a space that that are secure in aroundTha mpoint security, antivirus type Tiberia. It is, of course, a saturatedmarket and when you think about the other eit or ten or fifteen vendors,that will all be trying to do the same. I guess if they, if f CR, have a achannel model which is proving or providing value to partners ell sizes.It does it help to solve that challenge. You mentionein the third point, which is getting them to select you as a partner ofchoice for their for their own dusup. One of the the things that we seechallenge, of course, is enabling partners all types to leverage yourcontent, the vendor, content, messaging branding and demand generation.Initiatives with consistency in the local market is critical, drivingdriving sale success. Of course, each partner operates independent Lyan intheir own way and have different celves marketing processes. Differentstrategies on how to get the, which means partners will need to be enabledin different ways will be t with some consistency. We spoke a bit or prior tothis around how you can scale or how you do brint enable those partners. So,from your perspective, how? How do you go about scaling partner En Aban whenthey have so many different requirements based on their sides orrevenue or region or current strategies? Yeah? This is a really good, complexquestion that all all channel marketere should be thinking about I'll, try andsimplify my answer by making it deliberately short, you can reallyscale partner enablement by having a number of one to one marketingcommunications, almost account based marketing or ABM for the channel and anumber of one to many ations. That way, you can be personal, but also providemarketing support that can be accessed by all of your channel partners,whether they're, big or small, so mor one to one marketing. Communicationcould be something like a specific cobranded landing page with an abilityfor any leads to go direct to the crm...

...or our crm flagged for that particularchannel partner, and that's something that that we do and works well and thenthe one to many communications. I think one that again works particularly wellwith the channel of Webbenars, so you can give updates on commercialdevelopments with your products, which F secues, put to good at offeringcommercial incentives for choosing efsecure or the classic. We've got anew product or we've enhanced some functionality within an existingproduct. That means different chator against the competition. I think that'sa really good one to many communication. Tha again is popular with our UKchannel partners. So I think that in that way and Thoese, one to one tersone to many communications, that blend can make sure that you are able toskate scale partner, enablement, okay, interesting and that that actually is anice segue really into my next question, which was Youre talking ther about oneto one or building one to want a few one to many relationships, and we'veactually recently seen an article from forester that suggest, channelmarketers or marking professionals in general need to become communitymarketed, which is all about. You know getting the brand out there amongstyour peers. That will then of of course, want to youtolize yoursolutions a D andand shift more of your solution. What are your thoughts on that idea thatthat channo marketers need to become community marketers? Yes, I'd agreewith that. It's certainly part of the role of a channel marketer being partof a channel community allows you to listen and interact with a relevantaudience, and I would certain posis on marketers, using communities to listenactually, rather than just purely about thinking about participating in them.Thinking to our F fsecures attendance at IMFASEC. In London this summer,which brings together a large security audience, the channel spot partnersthat we spoke to gave us good insight about the problems they wereencountering relating desciper security...

...solutions for their clients and knowingtheir pain, is really helpful and, as absolutely informed, our channelmarketing content. As a result, another point I'd like to make ite marketing isthat Brans, don't actually have to say anything in this context, justfacilitating and amplifying conversations between a relevantcommunity of peears can can work. In a previous marcasing role, I actuallycreated a HR leaders for him and all that we did was to organize round tableevents and then write up what was discussed by the participant. What youhad was views on topics like recruitment or coaching from reallyexperienced, well informed, board level, HR professionals and the brand that Iwas working with, didn't really add its own content, Ol vollutions, but theperception was that we were part of this really high level conversationfrom an important community and that's really great for your brand reputation,and I think that these kind of things can work really well with the channel.To good example of this is from soft cap who one of our channel partners inthe UK. They run a pintof tech event that facilitates tisdiscussions amongstamong their target market. A group of ctos, okay, interesting yeah, and Ithink, to your point there around your theevent that you previously put on with HR leaders. That's it's an interestingidea. Actually, as a company operatics. Typically we deal with people in yourposition to marking or Sel leaders, and actually we recently put on just a fewweeks ago an event at Shard in London. The idea was not to pitch operatics. Wedidn't not talk about Oporatics, but it was a sort of panel lead event wherethere was three individuals that were two individuals and a moderator on thepanel, and we got together probably a room of two thousand and twenty fivemarkting professionals. The idea behind that was again not to talk aboutoporatics. Actually, the conversation whin many around ABM, but it was reallyinteresting because what quite quickly developed an that in that event wasthat the panel stopped talking too much between themselves and actually h theaudience. Tael iy really participating...

N, asking questions and and conversingwith each other and by the end of it it was the event actually overran, becausethe marking professional were just talking amonst themselves, not withoutcontrol. Obviously, everyone was participating, but what we really cameout of that event wit was with an idea that actually to your point, is justabout stimulating conversation between like minded professionals and notreally just pushing pushing your solution or your service down theredown their throat and probably what came out of that was them saying toeach other and to themselves. O pratics are part of that community a and, Ithink that's that's a general concept. I guess my last question would bearound how to make the best use of the type of services that operatics offersjust meant touched on us there and just to provide some some audienc somecontext to the audience. We actually support F secure in their pipelinegeneration activities, so we work with Graham and our Rolles to directlysupport his sales Timpo by providing them with qualified sales opportunity.So they can progress, a sale process to the point to the point of revenue gram-and I was talking before this- The relationship going well, which ispleasing to hear, but it's also an important part of their efforts withtheir channel partners and their relationships with their channelpornner. So they can see a quicker results from from a Seles perspective,gramma just a last some last thoughts from you around this. Could you pleaseshare with our listeners why? You think that sort of enjues a pipelinegeneration piece is a part of your strategy and and where you see thevalue of it, whether that's directled, with your sells tim or or in thechannel sure. The context here is that seniortechnology professionals like CSOS and it directors and atorously hard tospeak to and therefore the more points of contact and the more conversationsthat we have with this audience. The more successful we are at creating pipelining, plasing deals frankly, and certainly operatics helps us to do that.So they are, you know you guys are very...

...strong at getting opportunities withwith end users and opportunities to speak to them and as we're aexclusively channel business in the UK in order to deliver any solution to toan inducer to a CSO, an IT director. We need a partner channel partner to workwith us as a result and with the channel being fundamental to execuesgrowth. Success here in the UK to be able to introduce and user lead to thechannel and go on a journey with them and whin that business is kind ofcritical to our continued success, so the work that you're doing as well asall the other marketing efforts that we do to drive leads and ultimatelyrevenues. S is really important and Woy for your continued support. Excellentwel appreciate the Instihe Sogram really appreciate that you've taken thetime to Shaw your thoughts, not only on escure and your channel business, butalso lostly on operatics. If anyone wants to connect with you to learn moreabout F, secure or yourself or continue this conversation offline, what wouldyou suggest have been the best way to get in touch with you and the business,so f secure check out our website, which is F, hyphen, securecom and interms of getting in touch with myself, Grahm Smith. You can find me on linkedin excellent cool all right. Well many things once again, Graham, is it's beena pleasure having you on the show today, thanks Dan thanks for having me uperadics has redefined the meaning ofrevenue generation for technology companies worldwide, while thetraditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams in househas existed for many years, companies are struggling with the lack of focus,agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprisetechnology sales see how operatics can help your company accelerate pipelineat operatics, dot net you've been listening to be to be revenueacceleration to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the showin your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening until nexttime.

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