Now, this isn’t new information. The digital revolution has made an enormous impact on how we do business, and we’re seeing lots of brands and vendors investing heavily in digital advertising. They’ve adopted digital marketing; they know how to engage with their customers – but what about the channel partners (like resellers) these organizations often work with?
For leading channel management teams like those at Xerox, next-generation through-channel marketing automation became the beacon in their reseller digital strategy. In teaming up with Impartner, Xerox managed to develop, launch, and manage a global digital channel marketing program that drove record success. Their approach, steps, and insights are all shared here.
Benefits of Google Ads for channel partners
It's time to narrow the gap between your channel partner success and digital marketing goals.
Channel partners are typically small and midsize businesses (SMBs), but they generate a large percentage of revenue for vendors and brands. Yet most of the time, they’re still struggling to get up to speed with digital. They’re small; with an average of 8 to 10 employees, they don’t have the time or resources to work on digital marketing, and often work with multiple brands.
The numbers don’t lie – research shows that resellers use less than 10% of their market development funds (MDF) and co-op funds on digital (email campaigns, webinars, digital ads). Another 50% is left unspent. It just goes to show that:
- Resellers may not know how to get their digital engine running.
- Resellers don’t have the time and resources to start other tactics.
- They could be helped with tools that enable digital tactics – without the need to invest too much of their time and resources.
Imagine working with 300 partners in one country. Expecting them to set up Google Ad campaigns for you is out of the question. It requires knowledge and skills not all your partners have. It’s complex, it can be expensive, and the results may be disappointing at best. But setting up a landing page, let alone an ad campaign for each of your 300 partners? That’s not feasible.
To solve this problem, Impartner and Google have developed a revolutionary, one-of-a-kind TCMA solution that does just that. Google Ads for the Channel helps channel marketers run fully automated, co-branded Google Ad campaigns with their partners at scale.
There’s a reason why Jay McBain (Principal Analyst, Forrester) called Google Ads for the Channel ‘the crown jewel’ of Impartner’s TCMA solutions. It’s huge on so many levels, and we’ll reveal why here. Or, read our full guide below.
How TCMA powers scalable digital marketing for Xerox channel partners
Xerox wanted to enhance new partner prospect engagement via digital avenues. With ‘search’ being the top digital source for new sales, they knew Google Ads was the way to go. The challenge they faced: getting all their channel partners in on this and enabling them to be digitally present where today’s buyer is buying. They wanted to raise awareness of the Xerox brand and offerings with the lucrative SMB market, which is under-penetrated.
On top of that, they wanted to be a lead generation vehicle for their partners, enabling them – with no efforts, at no cost – to receive leads (a critical cornerstone of the Xerox value proposition). By implementing the Google Ads for the Channel solution, Xerox can centrally create and implement local Google Ads campaigns for all their channel partners – and optimize them at scale. This eliminates the need to manually build, manage, and optimize ad campaigns for each partner individually, as the solution automates the process.
How to set up Google Ads for channel partners
While many parts of this process are more technical, here’s a step-by-step on the process Xerox took to set up their Google Ads campaigns.
- Channel partners subscribe to the platform: Partners simply need to provide their logos and contact details once.
- Configure a landing page: Xerox provides and controls the content on the landing page. These landing pages are automatically co-branded with the reseller’s logo and contact details.
- Configure Google Ads: Xerox creates a campaign and selects the participating partners. The solution automatically creates accounts and co-branded campaigns for each partner via API.
- Embed landing page: Partners embed a script for the landing page on their own website.
- Activate campaign: Working with radius, postal code, or state targeting, Xerox can choose where their partner’s ads are shown. When a customer clicks on a partner ad, they will be automatically redirected to the co-branded partner landing page.
- Analyze and optimize: With extensive reporting, Xerox can see how their partners are performing, the number of leads, clicks, impressions, etc. They also receive aggregated data that enables them to optimize accounts at scale.
Xerox kicked off the Google Ads adventure in pilot mode, with just 11 EMEA partners, and the goal of engaging the local online audience to create and increase traffic, understanding the behavior of their audience, and seeing how they could make this program successful.
They then decided to engage more countries with the same offerings, with the same amount of budget per partner, focused on finding the best strategy to increase the number of leads and gain the right position to promote the Google Ads for the Channel program so that partners would pay more attention to it. From this, they discovered the importance of putting in place a powerful lead management process to measure the ROI. That’s where Impartner’s Lead Management module plays a critical role in delivering that capability.
Over the course of the program, they identified that more than 60% of leads were phone calls and that being in the position to track these phone calls was critical. Not only did they want to deliver as many leads as possible to their partners, but they also wanted to enable them to convert them.
Today, a selected 100 of Xerox’s partners benefit from the support of Impartner to implement Xerox co-branded assets, as well as Impartner’s expertise to accelerate the results by optimizing campaign settings. In that way, Xerox can make sure campaigns are set up as best as possible to deliver the highest level of results while aligning to the overall corporate campaign. This enables Xerox to be in control of the whole campaign landscape, and not compete against each other, but instead work together as a team to benefit on both the corporate and the local level.
"More and more partners want to expand their digital coverage, and they need guidance. The COVID situation has changed a lot of things among our partners, they do pay attention now to digital tactics, and they want to accelerate on Google Ads, so bringing them this unique value is key. For us, for them."
—Isabelle Pampelune, Global Partner Marketing Optimization Manager, Xerox
This allows Xerox to create new interactions through impressions and clicks, identify new contacts for partners, generate business opportunities through leads, and measure the number of closed won deals the campaigns have delivered on a local level. They also enable their partners to pursue the conversation with prospects by implementing automated nurture campaigns through the tool, with content that delivers higher results.
To drive the performance of this program very closely, Xerox has implemented monthly reviews with each country involved.
The results? This is how Google Ads for the Channel helped Xerox reach its digital goals:
- Even though Xerox stuck to the same media budget per partner per month from the get-go, Google Ads has become Xerox’s first source of leads across all geographies and all partners and has seen a huge acceleration in lead generation.
- From 2020 to 2021, the number of leads sent to partners had doubled, thanks to the ability to track phone calls, which also allows their partners to call prospects back.
- 15% of total leads are related to corporate website retargeting efforts.
- Cost per lead has decreased by 75% since the start of the program.
- 25% of Google Ads leads are being converted by channel partners themselves into opportunities.
- The 2021 YTD4 pipeline is growing, having doubled from 2020 to 2021.