Planning, organizing, directing and controlling your sales team in order to meet your sales objectives is a typical day for you as the VP of Sales for an emerging growth company. You and your boss, the CEO, have decided that you should employ an indirect sales channel in order to grow sales revenues more quickly. You have just added the VP of Channel Support duties to your daily routine - now you are responsible for maximizing the potential of both your direct sales team and your indirect sales partners.
Prior to implementing an indirect sales channel strategy, your daily schedule was straight forward:
- Meet with the sales team
- Offer them coaching, counseling, advice, support, motivation or information they need to make their sales objectives
- Review their performance face-to-face
- Re-direct their efforts and actions as warranted
Now you rely on regional resellers (whom you may never meet) to find, educate and sell to end-customers. The question becomes: how can you foster collaboration in an indirect sales channel to ensure partner success?
In the past, you would have relied on outdated, inefficient, manual processes, such as makeshift, homegrown systems, spreadsheets, email, phone calls and faxes to support partners and their collaborative efforts.
Today, there are channel management solutions (some are Software As A Service (SaaS) models) that allow you to enable and support channel partners. The functionality within the channel support software makes it easy for you to collaborate with the re-seller community and makes it easy for them to collaborate with each other. These collaborative measures include:
- Delivering best practices and enabling knowledge sharing
- Jointly developing, executing and tracking the progress of campaigns
- Evaluating ROI for marketing campaigns executed across the channel
- Enabling more effective partnerships between channel partners with discussion forums and private messaging
- Providong a rich multimedia catalog of marketing materials and collateral tailored to specific partner needs
- Creating a feedback loop that can include the OEM, channel partners and end-user customers in a powerful online community
These channel management solutions enable companies like yours to actively engage and collaborate with channel partners. Robust systems not only improve collaboration with your channel partners, but also help to increase productivity and overall ROI of channel marketing. These more advanced systems are known as Partner Relationship Management software solutions (PRM). PRM systems give companies an integrated system to market, sell and service their products more effectively than traditional sales applications. It’s a best practice that should be integrated into any company today selling through a channel. A good PRM system allows your resellers to better engage with you and it provides an excellent platform for channel partner collaboration.
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