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5 Strategies to Master Channel Partner Marketing

Are you looking to maximize the potential of your channel partners? Channel partner marketing is the key to expanding your reach and boosting sales through these strategic partnerships. In this guide, we'll explore the fundamentals of channel partner marketing, common challenges, and actionable strategies that can help you drive success.  

👉 Keep reading to learn more about:

What is channel partner marketing?  

Channel partner marketing empowers you to amplify your company's marketing efforts by leveraging strategic partnerships with third-party partners like resellers, distributors, affiliates, ISVs, and more.  

Channel partner marketing can look very different depending on your industry or size, but some examples include:  

  • Co-branded campaigns: Collaborating with partners to develop and execute marketing campaigns that feature both your brand and theirs, leveraging shared resources and audiences. 
  • Joint events: Hosting educational webinars or live events with partners to showcase your products or services. 
  • Content co-creation: Collaborating with partners to create blog posts, videos, or whitepapers that address common pain points or industry trends, showcasing expertise and building credibility. 
  • Referral programs: Implementing referral programs that incentivize partners to refer leads or customers to your business, driving lead generation and sales. 
  • Social media collaborations: Partnering with influencers or complementary brands on social media to amplify reach, engage with new audiences, and foster brand awareness. 

Through these partnerships, you can effectively market your products or services to broader audiences, tapping into new markets and expanding your sales. It's about harnessing the marketing capabilities of your partners to reach and engage with customers in ways that may not be achievable on your own. 

Why is channel partner marketing important?  

First, let's take a step back and start with the big picture. Many channel partner marketing programs are viewed internally as “nice to have” but not absolutely essential to the business as a whole, as they truly are.  

This is either because your channel ecosystem is not producing or, more likely, because it's not accurately measured and shared with the rest of the company. Make your partner program more relevant to your business by tracking and proving the ROI on your channel partner marketing efforts.  

An ROI-validated ecosystem means that you can show full, real-time metrics to your leadership team. Use detailed reports and numbers to show how much of a difference your partners are making to create a business case for spending more time and resources on these partners, and then do exactly that!  

As your business gets behind your channel ecosystem, more resources can be allocated to strengthen these important partnerships.  

How to build your channel partner marketing strategy 

By forging strategic partnerships and unleashing the collective marketing power of your network, you'll unlock untapped markets, accelerate sales, and skyrocket your success to new heights.  

It's time to grow faster, together. Here's how.  

1. Start with a give-and-take approach  

Vendors cannot just take, take, take from partners. They need to feed opportunities back into their channel ecosystem as partner-shared leads or marketing campaigns. Offload deals that are not the right fit for your direct teams to work on and then pull leads out of that same channel that is brought in by your partners.  

As this symbiotic relationship continues and strengthens, you will see stronger and more loyal partners who will continue to fill up your sales pipeline.  

2. Build a personalized partner experience  

Your channel partners are made up of people with different backgrounds, knowledge, needs, and understandings. At the very least, focus on those who sell and market on your behalf versus those that provide ongoing support and services. Segment by their location or region, as well.  

Want to go further? Focus on the groups that tend to be very active and even those who aren't engaged, and organize your messaging for each group differently.  

3. Engage your partners in your portal  

Think about your audiences and build a portal that serves all of them. Do they all need to receive sales, technical, marketing, and other news? Write different content, journeys, and onboarding/training resources for each group. On your portal, tailor content based on job roles or any other partner segmentation options you have.  

From there, communicate. Partners have typically little time—they work with many other companies and have their own job to do. We'll cover email (the easiest outreach effort) below, but go beyond that. Add in layers of communication: from recurring calls with their account managers to portal notifications to discussion boards.  

4. Use email to reach your partners  

It can be expensive and time-consuming to communicate to partners. One of the easiest areas to start with your channel partner marketing efforts is with email.  

But first, you must understand and segment your partner audiences to deliver meaningful messages. In today’s age, a traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach won't work. Here's how to get started.  

Segment your emails for each type of partner  

Again, give your channel partners the choice about what content they receive from you and when. Send them informative, useful content that appeals to their company interests. This will encourage better overall engagement.  

Rather than providing English-only version emails to global channel partners, you can also increase your reach by providing translated versions. This will make your content more personal. Sending email newsletters in your channel partner’s time zone is also vital to grab their interest. 

By using Impartner's News on Demand tool, you can do just that. Recipients will only receive content that is of specific interest and selected by them, which will increase engagement levels. 

⭐️ Partner marketing example: Siemens scales global outreach to partners  

"We needed to deliver the right message, to the right partners, at the right time. We started localizing newsletters and immediately saw amazing results. All of them had over 50% and some up to 70% unique open rates." 

Learn how Siemens doubled their partner engagement rates with Impartner.  

Read the full case study here. 

Make creation easier  

The review, approval, and creation process for email newsletters is often a tediously long affair. The longer this process takes, the more outdated the content will be by the time you send it. Instead, focus on speeding up the creation process.  

You can do this by either reducing the approval and creation process internally, or using an automated tool which enables articles that have been added to the tool to be sent to users alongside other relevant content. 

Do be consistent 

Be sure to inform your audience about the type of content they should expect to receive from you. By doing so, they will be able to pay special attention to it because they know it will be of value to them.  

Enable your channel partners to become accustomed to receiving your content by sending your emails on the same day and at the same time. 

Track your performance 

Keep track of opens, clicks, and bounces to make future decisions when sending your newsletter.

Analyzing and sorting through this data can be a simple process and once you track your results, you can immediately see the value and show the ROI on these efforts.  

5. Experiment with new outreach techniques  

Go beyond email and your portal with new tools, like text messaging , social media, paid media, and syndicated content.  

Share social assets and shareable content with your partners to make it easier for them to market your products. Also, consider providing co-branded web pages, paid media for partners, and partner locator features to your website. Offer support and analytics so partners can track their efforts over time.  

⭐️ Partner marketing example: Xerox reduces cost per lead by 75%  

"Google Ads has become our first source of leads for our partners across all geographies. With Impartner, we have been able to reduce the cost per lead by 75% and we have seen a huge acceleration in lead generation without increasing media budgets." 

With Impartner, Xerox released paid media campaigns for their partner program with almost no lift from their partners. Learn how! 

Read the full case study here. 

Grow your channel partner marketing strategies  

These marketing strategies can elevate your relationship with your channel partners. We have found, by building solid relationships and sharing the outcomes of your marketing efforts, you can drive more successful results for both you and your partners. 

Ready to build your channel partner marketing strategy? We can help.  

Impartner is the most award-winning and fastest-growing channel marketing solution provider on the market. Our partner management and partner marketing automation solutions help companies accelerate revenue and profitability through their indirect sales channels at every partner lifecycle touchpoint. 

From partner training and onboarding to partner marketing tools, Impartner handles it all and more with best practices and automation built-in. 

Need to accelerate your partnerships? We’re ready when you are. 

About the Author

Impartner is the fastest-growing, most award-winning provider of partner management and partner marketing automation solutions. We've been around for decades, and were the first to coin the term "PRM". Today, over 40,000 users leverage Impartner to manage millions of partners within their ecosystem of distributors, resellers, and more. We draw on decades of experience with best practices in the channel to create content that helps partnership leaders grow their careers and scale their programs.

Profile Photo of The Impartner Team