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featureed image Published 2016-10-11, by Seth Jacobsen

Challenges and Solutions In Today's Indirect Sales Environment

If you haven't seen it already, the latest edition of HubSpot's seminal State Of Inbound Marketing Report has been released, and - as always - it's packed full of fascinating facts and insights into both inbound marketing and the overall state of B2B sales and marketing today.  We've been going over the report, and in the weeks to come, we'll be talking about some of its findings while discussing solutions to a number of the challenges it highlights.

One of the key sections of the report covers the most common challenges facing today's sales and marketing executives. As we review several of the key findings from this report, we'll relate some of the best practices we've learned through our years of channel strategy and ways that a PRM-driven technology approach can address these issues.

1 – Generating Traffic and Leads

By far, the biggest issue facing modern sales staff is the problem of lead generation, with 65% of survey respondents mentioning it. Of those, a majority saw the critical underlying issue being of identifying and prospecting leads.  

A Partner Relationship Management (PRM)  system can help address this challenge in several different ways:

  • Vendor-side lead generation:  There's no reason for vendors today to be “hands off” about generating leads. Strong inbound practices can send plenty of traffic to a vendor's own page, where the leads can then be sorted, ranked, and forwarded to the appropriate sales partner. We have written extensively about the changes in buying behavior the responsibilities that vendors must now take on to generate demand for their channel partners.
  • Centralized lead databases:  Once a lead is in the system, they need to be supported and monitored. Every lead can be tracked in the PRM, where movement through the sales process can be observed. This functionality also allows sales partners to register deals of their own that are automated for the approval process.
  • Robust analytics:  Thanks to the full lead tracking, this also means your lead-generation and conversion effectiveness can be analyzed in depth.  It's simple to pull actionable data from the database, allowing sales support to be improved and refined over time.
READ MORE: Lead Management & Deal Registration - Striking a Balance

2 – Proving the ROI of Marketing Activities

The second-biggest problem facing modern sales & marketing operations is proving the effectiveness of their tactics. 43% mentioned this, along with another 28% bringing up the closely-related problem of securing enough budget for their operations.  

PRM can truly shine here, thanks to the wealth of information which is tracked and centralized in its databases. The same lead-tracking mentioned above can also be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of techniques, especially if the PRM is combined with a sales-side CRM solution as well. Additionally – as we'll discuss below – PRM can help your partners lower their marketing costs. Combined, this makes it far easier to demonstrate ROI and convince upper-management of marketing program effectiveness.

3 – Managing A Website

Roughly a quarter of respondents indicated they were having issues keeping their website managed, maintained, and updated. This is hardly surprising, considering how important websites have become to the overall sales cycle. Websites are one of the top prospect destinations for considering a product, as well as being a marketing hub thanks to inbound and Search Engine Optimization techniques. Many outlets - including HubSpot themselves - recommend adding content to a web-page on a daily basis, to maintain traffic and remain visible on Google.

That's a tall order, especially for smaller offices.  

While PRM can't help them on the technical side, it can easily reduce their burden in creating new content. PRM can maintain a database of articles, technical references, videos, outreach emails, marketing materials, and more – all of which can be accessed and distributed for their local marketing needs.  

This can significantly reduce the costs of maintaining a modern website, while providing a greater variety of materials for prospects to peruse.

4 – Creating Informed Prospects

One issue suggested by the survey, derived from results, is that uniformed prospects are one of the biggest hurdles for lead generation and conversion. Respondents agreed that prospecting and converting is easiest when the lead is well-informed, but they universally reported this was rarely the case. Only 8% described their prospects as being “very knowledgeable” upon first touch.

Again, this is where the central database of PRM shines.  Every scrap of information you have available about your product can be made available to your partners, which in turn, can be available for their leads. Their sales staff will be better-informed, and customers browsing the website will be better-informed as well.

Partner Relationship Management software is a demonstrable solution to these sales problems, and many others. To learn more, contact LogicBay for a free demonstration of our cutting-edge PRM solutions.

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