Sales have always been an integral part of every organization. While direct sales seem like an easy way to meet your targets, there are other strategies that might be adopted to achieve the same. If the goal is to boost company earnings, you might actually have a secret weapon outside the sales team: a partner channel. By partnering with companies that offer complementary products or services to your own, you can increase your sales activity, drive new revenues and customers, and more easily capture opportunities you may not have been exposed to. Partner training and channel partner enablement increase the business performance level exponentially.
Hence, it’s not an extrapolated expression to call channel partners as the building blocks for the success of your sales strategy. Your chemistry with your partner network and based on that, their efforts for selling your product or service is directly proportional to the revenue and customer base boost that you’d get. Therefore, how best you are able to put together and then pull off a partner management program is what defines your success.
Not a difficult question to respond to, however putting it in priority ranking below
- Managing your channel partner helps in building long-term relationships as well as win - win friendships
- Well organized channel partner management cuts down the cost of the sales
- It generates a substantial return on your investment
While we aim to have thriving channel partner management programs but the ways to actually achieve it is often overlooked. Listing below imperative process ensuring optimized planning and prioritization for a booming channel partner management program.
- Set Criteria: Are you a channel partner selling a vendor’s products or services? Are you a vendor eyeing for good channel partners to sell your products? Either way, you have to recognize and evaluate what is most imperative for your organization. Before, setting the criteria for your channel partner, you need to understand about your organization, its positioning in the market and against the competitors. The strength and weaknesses of your organization, products, and services, etc. The fissures you detect through this evaluation, this serves as the criteria for the probable channel partner
- Product Education/Awareness: Make sure that your partner knows your product thoroughly. Knowing every detail will increase their ability to share the same knowledge with their prospects and increase sales.
- Provide Adequate Training to your partners: In order to sell the product, your channel partner should know all the product pecks. They need to know the methods of marketing and selling that are most impactful. Offering training on what resonates with your audience and past sales success stories aids them in their efforts. Running annual training sessions that refresh your partner's product knowledge is a sure-fire way to keep them in the loop. You can also issue certifications when they’ve completed this training as proof-points that they are fully qualified to sell, install and use your product.
- Establish an Evaluation Process: The criteria you select are essential for the success of a channel sales program. Make sure they are applied from the inception stage of any evaluation.
- This means you need to
- Craft a procedure that not only organizes but also manages the interests expressed by potential channel partners.
- Assign individual responsibilities and resources that are needed to effectively manage potential channel partners.
- Develop a cross-functional team that assesses potential channel partners against the selected criteria.
- Test the Channel Partner: A dream channel sales program cannot be created overnight. It is very coming saying ‘slow and steady wins the race’. Your ideal channel management program should begin with a well-defined project
- Few signs you need to watch for your channel partner’s commitment.
- Check their willingness to participate in your organization’s sales events
- How quickly they respond to your requests such as re-configuring products so that the deal can be closed?
- Is their transparency level as an individual company or as a vendor on the same page especially if when they sell their products directly to their customers along with channel partners?
- Give Incentives at regular interval of time
- Regular motivation is one of the most important elements which makes the employee go beyond his or her capacity and achieve great heights. Your channel partners are the people who constantly need to be motivated and have the right incentive model in place would act as a constant morale booster for your partner community. And their success is equal to your success after all.
- Constantly map the performance
- There needs to be metrics and analytics dashboards accessible to both, to evaluate how on the following:
- How each and every channel partner is performing in terms of formulation and execution
- Productivity vis-a-vis the targets set for each program
- Quality of execution
Researches show that B2B buyers complete 57% of the buying decision before ever actively engaging with the sales representatives. Therefore, it is very important to recruit the right partner as they are on the ground engaging with your target audience being the face of your brand. An allied strategy of tracking the evolving market dynamics and competition mapping helps to strengthen the channel partner management program cohesively.
This article is written by Sunil Munshi, CEO, Denave India and APAC