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In-Person Seminars: a Vendor-Channel Partner Collaboration and a Source of Leads

When you offer an in-person seminar, make sure your local channel partner takes an active role.

Relayware Partner Relationship Management

In-Person Seminars: a Vendor-Channel Partner Collaboration and a Hot Source of Leads

Ask Vickie Zona, a senior channel sales manager based in NJ with over 20 years in the IT channel, what lead-gen activity gets the best results, and she'll pick face-to-face interactions every time. Prospects who walk up to your booth at trade shows, or into your classroom at seminars, are looking to be sold. They're looking to you to make the investment in their scarce time pay off. And while you, as vendor, may be doing the heavy lifting where course materials and content generation are concerned, you'd be wrong to carry the whole presentation burden. When you offer an in-person seminar, make sure your local channel partner takes an active role.

"The best thing is to have your partner invested," says Zona. "If you're doing a regional event and you're expecting that partner to follow up there, get them involved in that event, because then they have more skin in the game. They can meet some of the leads in person. And even though your people will be there too, and probably orchestrate the event, they [the partners] are going to be much more invested in the follow-up. They'll be much more diligent about that follow-up if they're allowed to participate, rather than you [the vendor] doing the event and sending them the leads."

Your channel partner is the local face of this marketing effort. Ideally, he or she is giving at least part of the presentation. He's definitely introducing himself, and best yet, bringing a happy end customer to add real-world credibility to the solution you're explaining to the folks with business challenges.

"If partners don't bring in their end-users on their own, you can have your channel marketing person do the heavy lifting," says Zona. "Have her tell the channel partner, 'Great, you carry our product and two or three complimentary vendors. Let's get two or three of us vendors together and produce some sort of event or local seminar for your top customers.' If they're a smaller reseller, you may have to do the logistics and market the event and just get them to drive the attendance."

Use a recent customer success as your guide in scripting and marketing your event. Make sure your event invites and publicity describe the pain point you resolved, and invite them to learn how.

Once you've got your roomful of registrants, of course, you should track them as leads and keep tabs on the partner's follow-up, and gauge your results to refine future presentations, regions and marketing efforts.

"These local seminars or alliance events and trade show leads tend to be the best in my experience," says Zona. "The percent of actual revenue created is always much greater, as compared with someone who visited your site or downloaded a white paper. You've had a good conversation with them, and they may be further along in the buying cycle by the time they come to an event."

Relayware's Training Pack provides partner event management—handling everything from invitations, registration, logistics and post-event training results for single courses and multi-day events..