Kellie Auman

Recent Posts

What You Need To Know About Partner Management

Posted by Kellie Auman on Oct 17, 2017 11:15:00 AM

Having channel partners can be a huge advantage for your business. However, they can also be the source of unnecessary stress and even costs. Sometimes, this is the channel partner’s fault. They simply aren’t holding up their side of the bargain, even though you may be using your own funds in an attempt to help them. A lot of times, though, the responsibility may lie with you. After all, channel partners can only perform as well as you let them.  Here are a few things to remember when engaging with partners, and ensuring success.

Topics: Build Your Channel, PRM v. CRM, Channel Partner Onboarding, channel partner management

Doing Business?  Make It Easier For Your Clients & Partners

Posted by Kellie Auman on Oct 12, 2017 12:00:00 PM

 "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty." 

When Theodore Roosevelt uttered these words, he wasn’t thinking about business. While he’s right, it is the work and the struggle that make the reward worthwhile, this doesn’t hold true for your business, your sales channel partners, or your clients. 

What’s it like to do business with you? Is it Roosevelt’s rewarding struggle, or is it an easy process that keeps customers and channel partners eager to return?

Hopefully you said it was easy, but if you didn’t, you probably asked yourself, “How can we be easier to do business with?” While the answer to that question is complex, the solution is quite simple.

Topics: PRM Best Practices, channel partner collaboration, partner relationship management, Ease of Doing Business

How To Become The Preferred Choice Among Your Channel Partners

Posted by Kellie Auman on Oct 10, 2017 10:05:00 AM

If your company relies on non-exclusive channel partners, that makes for a difficult balancing act. Obviously, you want them selling as much of your product or service as possible, BUT they have businesses to run, and it's only natural that they're going to be making the choices that benefit them best. Those choices might or might not involve promoting your company's products and brand.

Guide your partners to success.

If you're wondering about how your channel partners are differentiating your products, perhaps the first question to ask is "Do they have the knowledge necessary to differentiate it?"

Topics: Scale Your Channel, channel partner collaboration, Sales Productivity, sales partner incentives

Communication: The Critical Element for Successful Channel Partner Engagement

Posted by Kellie Auman on Oct 3, 2017 2:30:00 PM

Channel managers understand how vital channel partner engagement is to improving indirect sales. Effective channel partner engagement has numerous benefits, both for you as a channel manager and for your partners. The higher the quality of channel partner engagement, the easier it is for the people who work within your re-seller network to do their job of selling and servicing your products every day.

Effective communication helps you build strong relationships with your channel partners. Once established, those relationships will:

  • Improve productivity and distribution numbers.
  • Increase sales and commission numbers for dealers.
  • Make advertising and marketing campaigns more successful.
  • Improve customer service along the entire channel.

Topics: Scale Your Channel, channel partner engagement, communication, channel partner relationship

Best Practices For Scaling An Indirect Sales Channel

Posted by Kellie Auman on Sep 28, 2017 11:45:00 AM

In direct sales, a company takes their services and/or products right to a client or customer. There is no middleman or third party playing a role.  With indirect sales, however, independent parties are brought in to help with marketing and distribution. That may sound less than ideal—after all, they’ll clearly cut into your profits—but a majority of the goods and services sold globally are through an indirect sales channel.

Most indirect sales models begin with a few sales partners, but eventually need to expand. This expansion doesn't happen overnight.  You don't wake up one day, decide you want to grow your indirect channel and have everything hammered out by the afternoon. You need to think strategically about what is already working and what gaps in the process need to be filled.

Topics: Scale Your Channel, Build Your Channel, Partner Collaboration, indirect sales

Five Critical Factors To Consider When Choosing KPIs

Posted by Kellie Auman on Sep 26, 2017 9:45:00 AM

Channel managers often have questions about setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for their sales channel ecosystem.  It's clear that an indirect-sales ecosystem requires different KPIs than a single-channel direct-sales organization and quite often many KPIs will remain the same.  For example, sales targets are still sales targets.  However, channel sales KPIs should also relate to the ecosystem itself, and be more future-focused as well.  Your KPIs should provide an overview of how your overall partner ecosystem is doing and also provide a sort of road map towards future channel growth. Here, we discuss five critical factors to think about when choosing KPIs.

Topics: Build Your Channel, Increase Channel Sales, kpi, Measuring what matters

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

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