Channel CEO Faletra: Solution Providers Are Becoming Marketing Savvy

In fact, Faletra said an increasing number of solution providers are busting the myth that they are "horrible" marketers by adding marketing talent to their payroll.

"The world is changing," said Faletra in an XChange 2013 keynote address titled "Myth Busting: Embrace the New Era of Partner Marketing."

"The data clearly shows the channel is getting its act together from a marketing perspective," he said.

[Related: Be A Thought Leader: Your Cloud Success Depends On It ]

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In 2013, 63 percent of solution providers had no marketers on the payroll, said Faletra, citing new UBM Tech Channel market research. Today, only 29 percent of solution providers have no marketing talent on the payroll, Faletra said.

The big change comes as solution providers move aggressively to add new customers to drive sales growth in the cloud services era. Solution providers must double the amount of customers they are serving in order to achieve current sales levels, according to UBM Tech Channel research.

That means investing in marketing talent and resources to drive new customer acquisition, said Faletra. In 2013, the number of new customers needed to achieve current revenue targets jumped from 100 active customers to 124 active customers, said Faletra. "I am not so sure you can grow a business and be viable and do the kinds of things you'd like to do without doing any marketing," he said. "It is hard to comprehend that."

Faletra also announced a new UBM Tech service, SharedVue Social, a new social media platform for technology vendors and their partners to drive sales leads with content-rich social media posts.

"Marketing today is being more measured on what is traceable -- does it bring revenue in?" said Faletra, discussing the new SharedVue Social platform. "Finding new customers needs to be a piece of marketing. You have to measure what you do and do what you can measure. It all comes down to what we believe is talent, tools and commitment."

Jim Torney, president of Essextec, a Rochelle Park, N.J.-based IBM solution provider partner that is transitioning quickly to the cloud services and security model, for one, has added four new marketing people to his staff. "That is huge," said Torney of the marketing changes at his company. "We are doing social media and generating our own leads. We are adding 30 new accounts a year [from our marketing investment]."

Even with all the changes on the social media landscape, Faletra predicted even greater changes ahead as a new generation of social media-savvy young people enter the workforce. "It is almost unimaginable," he said. "They know how to go at it. They think differently than we do. I encourage people to think about that when they are in the hiring process. That is not to say that seasoned people aren't good. But you need a little bit of both."