Season 3 of Downton Abbey is upon us, and I for one, am obsessed! The times they are a-changin’: The characters are falling into one of three camps; those clinging to the natural order of the world as they’ve always known it (Lord Grantham, his mother, Carson); those championing change (Lady Sybil, Branson, Isobel, Gwen); or those stuck somewhere in the middle (Mary, Anna).
Let’s look at the why this should be:
Both the Earl and his mother have their wealth and status to hold onto, of course. Carson, too. He derives his status from a lifetime investment in standards that are only important to the topmost echelons of society. In their traditional worlds, the ‘natural order of things’ is conveniently in their favor (or ‘favour’, if you will indulge me.)
Those stuck in the grey area have experienced upheaval and life-altering events, but long for the security that their cozy ecosystem provides. Still, they push for what they want (Anna wants a married life with her true love Bates, whilst Mary longs for her inheritance and to preserve her home, yet self-sabotages her goals because of her rebellious and unconventional streak.) They both have something to lose, but perhaps even more to gain.
Finally there are the characters who have dispensed with their old lives and have never looked back – Sybil and Branson recognize that for them, the old ways simply don’t matter. Why? Because Branson has loved Sybil for years, and he doesn’t value the class structure of Burke’s Peerage. Sybil has been forever changed by the war, having found purpose in her life as a nurse. In other words, they everything to gain and very little to lose by forging ahead and shucking off their previous existences.
So what does this have to do with your Sales Channel? I think the message is, what are your circumstances, and what have you got to gain or lose from change? If your Channel strategy is mature and producing high yield (like an efficiently functioning country estate), don’t fix what isn’t broken. However, if your Channel and programs are NOT placing you first in line to inherit untold riches, what have you got to lose? Perhaps it’s time to question why you have a Co-Op program, when you’re your ideal partner profile is evolving to the MSP. Perhaps instead of SPIFs for agents/reps who exceed their sales quotas, what you need is a Referral program that provides a high-value customer lifetime, and shortens your sales cycle, effectively lower your COGS. Ask yourself, what have you got to lose by shaking things up a bit?
That will be all, Carson. Thank you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meg Bingley, Regional Business Manager with CCI
After getting her start in media with a B2B marketing agency, Meg developed her expertise in marketing by creating, selling, and executing integrated marketing programs for Microsoft, HP, Seibel, Business Objects, Juniper Networks, Trend Micro, Symantec, and their respective marketing agencies for UBM (formerly CMP Media). Her experience with marketing communications for a worldwide manufacturer provides her with the global perspective needed in our channel world. Meg has been with CCI and our clients in the channel for three years, and has successfully managed the launch of several new and existing client sites to support various marketing and sales incentive programs. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, son, and small menagerie of cats and dogs.