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Channel Insight: Are Your Indirect Sales Channels Getting Equal Time And Attention?

By Kellie Auman Posted on 11/27/18 3:25 PM

When a vendor utilizes both direct and indirect sales channels to move their products and services, it may seem like a “best of both worlds” solution – but it also introduces new management challenges. Vendors are often tempted to spend more of their time and energy on their direct channels, while treating their indirect sales partners more like “second class citizens.”

We’ve seen this in our own consulting work, and it’s unfortunate every time. While it’s understandable why a company would put more resources into their own direct sales channels, this can often do more harm than good. When a company utilizes both direct and indirect channels, they should make sure all their sales outlets are on roughly equal footing. Otherwise, there could easily be negative unintended consequences.

Four Problems That Can Occur When Indirect Sales Channels Aren’t ‘First Class’ Partners

indirect sales productivity

1. Sellers are discouraged from selling your products

Most indirect sales partners aren’t partnered with one company exclusively; they’re usually selling products or services from many different vendors. So, it becomes a matter of common sense: their sales staff are going to be pushing the products that they see as most beneficial to sell. If your competitors are giving those sales partners better access, or better perks, those are the products the sales partners will be looking to sell.

In worst case scenarios, this could end up eliminating their benefit as a partner, or even causing them to become costly. Proper support and access to incentives can go a long way towards preventing this.

2. Lack of insight into sales processes

When a vendor utilizes both direct and indirect sales channels to move their products and services, it may seem like a “best of both worlds” solution – but it also introduces new management challenges. Vendors are often tempted to spend more of their time and energy on their direct channels, while treating their indirect sales partners more like “second class citizens.”

We’ve seen this in our own consulting work, and it’s unfortunate every time. While it’s understandable why a company would put more resources into their own direct sales channels, this can often do more harm than good. When a company utilizes both direct and indirect channels, they should make sure all their sales outlets are on roughly equal footing. Otherwise, there could easily be negative unintended consequences.

3. Poor customer experience

Today’s buyers expect a consistent brand experience from any ‘touch’ they have with a company or its partners. They are generally aware that most companies have networks of partners, but they basically don’t care about corporate structure where their own experiences are concerned. If a partner company is selling your product, they will see that company as representative of you.

So if that partner is cut off from your ecosystem, and unable to offer the same tools or deals, they will see that as a poor reflection on your brand. Likewise, if that partner offers inadequate customer service or fails to act in a way expected of your company, that too will ultimately reflect on your brand. Keeping your partners fully ‘in the loop’ ensures they can provide the sort of customer experience you want your buyers to have.

4. Struggle to recruit new partners

Most industries are pretty “small” when it comes to personal networks, and technology like social media is making them smaller. If a vendor treats its sales partners poorly, this will become common knowledge sooner or later. And the worse a partner is treated, the more likely their employees are to start complaining about it to their friends and colleagues.

Once a vendor gets a reputation for being hard to work with, or stingy about sharing access to tools, it can be exceptionally difficult to overcome that rep and sign up quality partners in the future.

Unify Your Ecosystem With LogicBay

We know it can be difficult, balancing the needs of your company, your direct sales outlets, and your indirect sales partners. That’s why our LogicBay methodology gives you everything you need to keep everyone on the same page. Our Partner Relationship Management software, and ChannelStack solutions, ensure that every part of your ecosystem has access to the same resources at all times – and all from a single easy-to-use cloud-based control panel.

Contact us to schedule a free demonstration of what LogicBay can do for you.

Building A Successful Indirect Sales Channel

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