PRM or CRM: Learning How To Choose

Posted by Kellie Auman on Sep 21, 2017 2:10:00 PM

There are more software tools than ever available to help companies effectively market and sell their products and services. By now, most companies that do any amount of sales have implemented one of the popular customer relationship management (CRM) packages to organize the selling efforts of their direct sales force. Let’s take a closer look at the functionality of a CRM. After that, we’ll discuss why a CRM is not suitable for all types of distribution strategies, the indirect sales channel, in particular.

Topics: PRM Best Practices, PRM v. CRM, Understanding PRM

Diversifying Your Incentives Strategy

Posted by Kellie Auman on Sep 19, 2017 2:05:00 PM

If we talk about partner channel mindshare a lot in this blog, it’s because it’s critically important and yet a factor many vendors overlook -or underestimate- to their own detriment.  Aside from situations where you have locked-in dedicated partners, it’s vital for a vendor to always remember that there will be competition for the time and attention of partner-level sales staff.  The vendors who come out on top are usually going to be those who find the best ways to incentivize their partners.

One of the most common ways to do this is the ever-popular Sales Performance Incentive Fund, or SPIF.  Or, just plain “bonuses.”  Set sales targets, and pay out a SPIF to whatever partner or salesperson who performs the best.  It’s simple, it’s direct, and it’s effective…  but other options exist.  It's key to diversify your sales incentives strategies rather than relying on SPIFs alone.

Topics: sales partner incentives, channel incentives, developing incentives

The Right Way to Expand Your Partner Portfolio

Posted by Kellie Auman on Sep 14, 2017 1:45:00 PM

When moving into indirect sales, one mistake we see often is trying to recruit partners without a strategy behind their actions.  Accepting anyone you make contact with will help an ecosystem grow in the short-term, but in the long-term it’s problematic.  Poor partner choices early on can easily cause a vendor to fall into the “sub-optimized” phase of channel development.

A stable ecosystem with predictable growth and good long-term viability is one with a controlled influx of partners, picked strategically so that their strengths, market, and corporate values match those of the vendor.  That’s what makes the difference between a true sales partner which provides long-term value, and a mere sales channel.

Topics: Channel Partner Onboarding, Channel Partner Recruiting, channel partners, partner recruitment

An Efficient Onboarding Process Can Improve Channel Partner Sales

Posted by Kellie Auman on Sep 12, 2017 11:10:00 AM

The “honeymoon” period with channel sales partners doesn’t last very long. At first, they might be excited about the opportunity to sell your products and they foresee a profitable relationship with your company. As the relationship progresses and there are barriers in place to new channel partners reaching their customers with your products, they will quickly get frustrated and start to wonder if they made a mistake choosing to sell your brand.

This is a classic case of lost mindshare with your partners. Because your company is difficult to work with, channel partners naturally turn to competing brands with easier processes for communication and collaboration. There are ways to get them back (by optimizing the indirect sales channel for increased sales), but the bigger issue is understanding how you lost them in the first place.  Here are ways to avoid that experience.

Topics: Build Your Channel, Channel Partner Training, Channel Partner Onboarding, mindshare

The Importance of Training and Certification In The Sales Channel

Posted by Kellie Auman on Sep 7, 2017 12:05:00 PM

We don’t need to tell you that training and certification are vital to a healthy channel ecosystem – truth is, many sales channel managers misunderstand just how important these elements are.  Training and certification aren’t simply a matter of “making sure the sales reps say the right things.”  Your training and certification program is also key to maintaining a high level of mindshare among your partners and their staff, as well as encouraging them to continue towards higher success. Great training courses are really just the first step.  A well-implemented sales channel training and certification program can do far more.

Topics: Build Your Channel, Channel Partner Training, Channel Partner Onboarding, channel certification training, certification in channel

Content Marketing Strategy:  Four Metrics To Track

Posted by Kellie Auman on Sep 5, 2017 1:20:00 PM

It’s one thing to have a content marketing strategy and a large amount of content and materials online, but it’s another thing to know whether or not it’s actually working out for you.  One of the biggest and most common mistakes companies make when getting into content is misunderstanding how success in content marketing is measured.

In many cases, this will be personalized – each company has different goals.  However, there are four metrics which we believe should always be tracked and understood for both your own efforts, as well as those of your partners.  Don’t forget to include them in this process!  Ultimately, any content produced within your ecosystem is still part of your content strategies – particularly if they’re being shared among your partners.

Topics: Build Your Channel, Understanding PRM, content marketing, content creation

How To Drive Sales Through Incentives

Posted by Kellie Auman on Aug 31, 2017 9:15:00 AM

Your company has just launched a new product. It is anticipated to be a huge part of your business. As the company’s sales director you are responsible for partner sales and have recruited and on-boarded the right channel partners. Now that your channel partners are thoroughly prepped, armed with new product information and ready to sell – you need a reason for them to sell more, sell often and meet/exceed quota.

Developing incentives will prime your channel partners to drive sales so that your product (and your company) will be leaders in the market space. It is important to understand that the underlying rationale of incentivizing channel partners is to motivate them to sell more. Incentives can take several forms such as:

  • Additional discounts off the sales price of the deal
  • Product rebates
  • Market development funds

Topics: Scale Your Channel, channel partner engagement, driving sales, developing incentives

Four Tips For Creating A Successful Webinar

Posted by Kellie Auman on Aug 29, 2017 12:15:00 PM

We don’t need to tell you that content marketing is a must for promoting your brand, both in terms of increasing awareness among buyers as well as attracting new sales partners. However, one particular form of content marketing is often overlooked despite its many attractive features: WEBINARS.

A webinar can be an amazing opportunity to help establish your company as a thought leader. It builds a sense of community within your ecosystem and gives buyers (or potential buyers) a direct connection to you and your sales partners. Of course, there is a certain risk\reward factor where hosting webinars is concerned. A bad webinar could damage your reputation. However, done properly, they can be amazing as outreach tools. 

Topics: Partner Collaboration, Channel Marketing Strategy, webinar, Brand promotion

Four Easy Ways To Generate More Leads

Posted by Kellie Auman on Aug 24, 2017 12:40:00 PM

As mentioned in the past, buyer behavior has changed drastically in the last decade or so, and it's forcing channel sales programs to evolve in order to keep up.  The 2016 & 2017 HubSpot State of Inbound report listed sales people as the least relied-upon source of information for making business purchasing decisions. This was true across both geographies and job titles.

This raises some questions: How can you find and leverage the sources that your buyers trust as they make their way through the buying journey?  And for those selling through sales channels, how can you help your channel partners better utilize those sources?

Topics: lead management, Inbound Marketing, Partner Collaboration, Increase Channel Sales, lead generation

Four Ways Partner Relationship Management Builds Stronger Partner Relationships

Posted by Kellie Auman on Aug 22, 2017 3:05:00 PM

Forging relationships is vital for the success of any business, but is at the heart of the indirect-sales model.  As a vendor, you fail or thrive based on the sales partners you cultivate and their enthusiasm for promoting your product.  Are you doing everything you can to create the best partnerships, maintain them, and continually make them stronger?

As your list of partners grows, this can become an increasing challenge – but that’s where Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software comes in.  In a lot of ways, it can act as your own personal relationship adviser, helping you keep tabs on all your partners and evaluating their needs.  Here are four ways that PRM can build better partner relationships.

Topics: Build Your Channel, partner relationship management, Channel Sales Productivity, channel partner relationship

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