Getting your Channel Marketing Right


Dan Seabrook
Reading Time: 3 minutes



Getting your Channel Marketing Right

Dan Seabrook

VP Sales at Operatix

Graham Smith

UK Marketing Lead for F-Secure

Channel marketing is really easy IF you have a really strong brand and IF you have really strong relationships with channel partners.

Recently, I got to talk with Graham Smith, UK Marketing Lead for F-Secure, about how channel marketing helps F-Secure keep people and businesses safe. 

He pointed out that raising awareness among channel partners and end users is only a challenge if your reputation isn’t strong.

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You can scale partner enablement by having a number of 1-to-1 marketing and communications and a number of 1-to-many communications.

Graham Smith – UK Marketing Lead for F-Secure

3 Solutions to Channel Challenges

F-Secure is well known in the Nordics (it’s based in Helsinki), but it’s raising its brand awareness all around the world.

Naturally, it’s come across few challenges when executing a channel strategy–as well as the solutions from a marketing sales perspective to tackle those challenges.

“It’s a highly competitive landscape,” Graham said. “You are competing for a share of voice and revenue, ultimately with any channel partner, and then the UK channel holistically.”

1) Segment

Clearly segment your channel base, both around existing clients and prospects.

“Then you’ve got a way of focusing your efforts because we’ve all got a limited amount of time and resources,” Graham said.

He suggested three groups: high touch partners (just a few of these), high potential partners, and the smaller partners.

“All of your partner base can bring you revenue. They’re all valuable and important, but by segmenting them, you can focus your efforts where they’re most likely to get a return,” Graham said.

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If you don’t fully understand what the channel wants, you run the risk of being irrelevant and disingenuous.

Graham Smith – UK Marketing Lead for F-Secure

2) Listen

Marketeers typically hold the microphone when it comes to your organization’s communications. 

It’s a privileged but dangerous position.

“If you don’t fully understand what the channel wants, you run the risk of being irrelevant and disingenuous,” Graham said.

Channel marketers need to A) be in the field as much as possible and b) network. Including with marketing counterparts, sales teams, and leadership teams.

Listeners ask questions.

“From a cybersecurity perspective, the questions I tend to ask our channel partners are, Why do your clients buy F-Secure, and why don’t they buy us?” Graham said. “Listening to these answers can help you shape future communications and make sure that you win more than you lose.”

3) Prove Your Value

Marketing from technology vendors to the channel is often a list of generic, unquantified benefits.

Drive your business growth by selling our solutions to your customers. 

Which might be true, but these communications don’t answer crucial questions, like Why should I buy F-Secure and not some other cybersecurity solution?

Instead, entertain this shift in mindset:

“The current mindset amongst vendors is we’ve got to keep telling the channel how great our technology is. That needs to change so the channel is instead saying to its vendors, I’ve got a great customer for you,” Graham said.

When a channel partner genuinely offers a vendor a solution that is your company and offers to take them along that journey–that’s golden.

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All of your partner base can bring you revenue, by segmenting them, you can focus your efforts where they’re most likely to get a return.

Graham Smith – UK Marketing Lead for F-Secure

Scaling Partner Enablement

If you segment partners–as you should–you’re still acknowledging that all partners matter a lot. How, then, can you scale partner enablement?

Graham said it perfectly: “You can scale partner enablement by having a number of 1-to-1 marketing and communications, almost account based marketing for the channel, and a number of 1-to-many communications. That way you can be personal but also provide marketing support that can be accessed by all of your channel partners, whether they’re big or small.”

An idea of a 1-to-1 marketing communication could be something like a specific co-branded landing page. And a 1-to-many example would be webinars, for example.

Communication and community go hand-in-hand.

“Being part of a channel community allows you to listen and interact with a relevant audience,” Graham said.

Channel marketers need to listen and understand, not merely participate. Channel partners can give you insight about the problems they are encountering, and knowing their pain points can inform your channel marketing.

“Brands don’t actually have to say anything in this context. Just facilitating and amplifying conversations between a relevant community of peers can work,” he added.

Case in point. At a recent event in London, Operatix facilitated a panel-led event for 25 marketing professionals–not to talk about Operatix but to talk Marketing. Eventually, the panel stopped talking so the audience could ask more questions–and talk to each other.

That’s an example of stimulating conversation among like-minded professionals and not pushing your solution down their throats.

It’s really a partnership. “The work that you’re doing, as well as all the other marketing efforts that we do to drive leads and ultimately revenue, is really important,” Graham said.

To connect with Graham and learn more about F-Secure or continue the conversation offline, contact him on LinkedIn

This post is based on an interview with Graham Smith from F-Secure.

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About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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