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7 Steps to Smoother Channel Management

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7 Steps to smoother channel managementChannel partner visibilityGuided sales processImproved partner training & onboardingChannel conflict managementAlignment of corporate marketing function with partner salesPartner portalMDF Fund management

Key elements that must be in place for any channel sales model to operate successfullyChannel partnervisibilityGuided salesprocessImprovedpartner training& onboardingAlignment of corporate marketing function with partner salesChannelconflicts managementMDF fundmanagementPartnerportal

Are you being fair to your channel partners?SALESPERSONCHANNEL PARTNER

The sales teams have all they need to survive in the jungleWhen companies hire salespeople a lot of thought and effort goes into their training and the onboarding process. They are told exactly what is expected of them and given the support and tools to achieve those goals. Examples include having a marketing team to support their collateral needs, being provided with refresher training, and market trend updates.

However, for channel partners it is all about survival of the fittestChannel partners, on the other hand are often left to fend for themselves. At the time of recruitment they are provided with a short induction session and are then saddled with a bunch of sales and marketing materials, process documents and expected to become revenue drivers for the company within a few weeks or months. End result: Another failed channel relationship.

Give your channel partners what they REALLY need: A guided sales processGiving your channel partners a guided sales process helps them sell more effectively. A channel sales playbook is the foundation of the guided sales process. Sales playbooks are a systematic organization of all marketing and sales assets and data that your channel partners will need to push your product/service.

Playbooks help your channel partners wrestle the 3 big gorillas of the sales jungle the what, when and how of prospect communication.What to say to a prospect?How to say it?When to say it?

Designing a foolproof partner training & onboarding programFor their partner training and onboarding program to be truly successful, vendors need to:Make sure your training and partner onboarding program spells out the sales process clearlyDefine the process flow for all types of leads and all steps in your sales cycleMake sure all the sales best practices are documented and made available to your new channel partners during the onboarding process and later on, for any refresher trainingEnsure your channel partners are not only given access to the sales and marketing materials they need, but are also briefed on how and when they are to be used

Here's a little bit more on how you can rock your partner onboarding & training processAutomate partner certification programs

Monitor partner engagement and performance to identify and coach channel partners who are not meeting expectations

Set up a system that can send reminders & updates to channel partners about upcoming training sessions or certification requirements

All this can get a little overwhelming and it makes sense to invest in a system that can help you document and organize your sales processes and workflows

Alignment of corporate marketingfunction with partner salesAnother challenge that the channel sales model brings is a lack of local marketing and sales communication. For your sales to truly take off at local levels, you need great marketing and sales campaigns designed for the local audience. You may be a brand but for the end consumer it is all about who they are buying from. If you want your partners to be able to sell your products/services effectively, you need to make them a part of your brand.

Lower your channel partner'sdependence on corporate marketingOne of the reasons why channel partners arent able to push vendor products as effectively as theyd like to, is lack of support from the corporate marketing team. The vendors corporate marketing team is too busy to offer individualized support to each channel partner. As a result, channel partners are not in a position to sell the vendors products/services as aggressively as theyd like to.

Avoiding channel conflictsHint: Having a solid deal registration mechanism helps judge partner performance objectively because lead registration numbers are key indicators of channel partner successChannel partners look up to their vendors to protect their interests. Channel conflicts can strain your channel relationships and cost you valued channel partners. One way to avoid channel conflicts is by putting a solid deal registration mechanism in place. This allows vendors to control the flow of leads to their channel partners and with every lead needing the vendors approval, the chances of two channel partners pursuing the same lead drops to zero.

Earning more brownie points with your channel partnersYou know you are not the only vendor for your channel partners, but you want to be their favorite. If you want them to push your products ahead of your competitors, then you need to make it easy for them to sell your products. Here are a few tips to help you achieve that goal.Give them full view of their leads and lead activitiesMake it easier for them to close by helping them stay in touch with their leads throughout the sales cycleHelp them engage in high impact one-to-one conversations with their leadsHelp them explore and take advantage of newer marketing and sales avenues like social mediaProvide access to tools and mechanisms that help them manage their leads betterProvide access to powerful lead generation tools

LEARN HOW YOU CAN MANAGE YOUR CHANNEL PARTNER RELATIONSHIPS BETTERWWW.MINDMATRIX.NET2403 Sidney Street, Suite 150,Pittsburgh, PA 15203Phone: 412.381.0230Fax: 412.774.1992

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