What we often see is a mixture of tools being used for different things. A regular combination is outlined below. Hubspot seem to be the go to vendor for marketing automation and Mailchimp another popular choice for email marketing.
We work with a lot of companies that are using Hubspot for their marketing by twisting Hubspot out of all recognition and trying to handle joint marketing campaigns with partners, partner recruitment campaigns towards partners and asset tracking, which it simply can’t do over different partner layers.
Hubspot is renowned for its marketing capabilities with landing pages, asset based campaigns, content management systems and content marketing engines but is it any good for the channel?
The answer is no. It doesn’t do what we need it to do. We can’t track any marketing activities conducted outside of our own company and can only market to direct customers.
We have come across vendors who are building individual campaigns in Hubspot on behalf of the partner but this takes away the automation piece by them having to create content for EVERY partner that they do this with.
We recommend using Hubspot for direct marketing campaigns if you have a direct route to market with end users as direct customers. Hubspot is fantastic at the content marketing aspects and we have used it internally.
Being a modular system, Hubspot comes with various categories including CRM capabilities alongside its marketing automation aspects. Each module can be bought separately.
Hubspot is priced based on number of contacts for the marketing automation aspects and can become expensive very quickly for early stage vendors looking to ramp up their marketing operations.
For 100 contacts, Hubspot starts at $200 per month but can quickly rise to become out of control with charges for overuse. 1000 contacts goes up to $800 per month and 10,000 contacts is $2400 per month. To utilise the marketing automation side of Hubspot, you need to pay onboarding to them which is around $3000 for a few hours worth of training.
Again, it can only be used for direct campaigns.
Another marketing tool that we are very familiar with is Mailchimp. The solution is geared towards email marketing and provides a simple to use interface for managing email lists and campaigns.
With their lead capture overlays on websites and modules that can be inserted within blogs, you get a fantastic tool for the price for your email marketing activities.
You can send mass email campaigns to your audiences as well automated email flows after specific actions have been completed.
Mailchimp is very affordable for what it does. For less than $10 a month you can get a solution that allows for workflows including one action. Moving into the higher tiers based on number of contacts, the pricing increases with the more email addresses you have in the system as well as the functionality that you require from them.
Mailchimp is great for starting out and even fits the bill for enterprise customers. What it can’t handle, again, is a channel structure where email marketing is conduction through or with partners outside of your organisation.
Built primarily for the channel, Channelyze.io allows vendors, resellers, distributors, MSP’s and system integrators to run campaigns that are setup by the vendor at the click of a button.
With landing page creation, co-branded assets, asset tracking for direct publishes to social media and email marketing, the solution can be used both direct and through the channel across multiple tiers.
Set a campaign up once, have it utilised by 1000’s of partners at the same time, branded completely in line with the partners branding and your branding.
With integrations into social media, actions can get setup by the vendor for when an asset needs to be published in a set process so the partners and distributors don’t need to do anything from their side except watch the leads flow in.
These same campaigns can be run by the vendor to attract partner applications and leads that are ready to be passed through the channel or worked direct.
With official, native integrations into Hubspot, it provides a powerful tool for managing everything marketing related.
The pricing for Channelyze.io is $0 for up to 25 partners with no limitations on functionality.
In addition to the marketing side of Channelyze.io, you also get the complete channel management solutions for managing leads, deals, renewals, upsells and channel pricing. With their partner management tools, partners automatically move through the tiers that are set by the vendor. Deal registration matches for duplicates automatically and deal protection is automatically setup to say when a deal is set to expire.
The paid licence for Channelyze.io starts at the 26 partner point and gives the full suite of tools to manage your channel along with integrations into your Hubspot instance which gives you a powerful marketing automation and CRM tool that are linked together to be able to handle direct and channel business.
Other solutions to consider in this space are Marketo, Pardot, Autopilot, Activecampaign, Dynamics 365 for Marketing and many more. If we want to go one step further and introduce social media marketing, we can use solutions like Hootsuite or LinkedHelper that are built to publish to social media at set intervals. The latter, LinkedHelper has had people banned from LinkedIn on numerous occasions due to the way that it automates messaging and connections. With LinkedIn now limiting to 150 connection requests per week, it has rendered this tool largely ineffective.
The market is becoming flooded with marketing solutions doing exactly the same thing and what is being neglected is the channel marketing automation piece that can conduct To Partner Marketing, Through Partner Marketing, With Partner Marketing and For Partner Marketing.
This is the decade of the channel which means that solutions are slowly becoming available to deal with the channel marketing side of things in a modern channel environment.