If your company is utilizing multiple channels to maximize profits, you may think you’re ahead of the game. However, in today’s marketplace, chances are that your competitors are doing the exact same - often using the same channel partners. What you need to do is establish channel management best practices that will allow you to make the most out of each partner you’re working with. 2015 could be your company’s biggest year if you implement the following channel management best practices.
Utilize Channel Management Software
This is essential. The digital age is well upon us, which means you can find a software for just about any business challenge you have. It only makes sense, then, that you use software to plan and adhere to channel management best practices.
The good news is that channel management software can be a huge help, maybe the biggest advantage there is in this area. With PRM (often referred to as channel management software), you can segment your various partners, communicate with them more efficiently, and even train their staff to better serve your purposes.
You’ll also find that this type of software makes it much easier to on-board partners. Cut down the time it usually takes to go from recruiting a partner to actually making them one that is properly trained and ready to sell your products.
There is so much to gain from using channel management software that a whole book could be written on it. Sufficed to say, it provides enough benefits that it’s worth a spot in your 2015 budget.
Segment Your Channels
There are two ways to look at segmenting your channels. However, both of these perspectives should influence your channel management best practices.
First, you should think about each of your channel partners as the unique businesses they are. Even though they are all selling your products, they have unique strengths and weaknesses and are invariably using different sales tactics. Looking at all of them as the same exact company is going to cost you in returns. Channel management software makes it easier for you to treat each partner as a unique opportunity to help them to reach their potential. This can be accomplished through segmented marketing materials and lead management processes that allows you to deliver the right information to the right partners.
Secondly, you need to think in the traditional sense of segmentation marketing. Look over their sales funnels and pipelines for opportunities and find out what unique support functions you can provide to close more business.
Train Your Channels’ Employees
Another area you may be taking for granted is the training of your channel partners’ sales and service departments. Obviously, they must be training their employees to maximize sales, right?
Your partners have limited ability to focus on all the brands they represent, but is there a way that you could help them do this more efficiently where your products are concerned? Effective training strategies require up to date courseware and the ability to track which channel partners are taking part in these efforts. You can tie incentive programs such as rewards or lead opportunities into your training initiatives to improve participation. If you want to make training various partners a part of your channel management best practices, use this software to make all the necessary resources readily available.
It should go without saying that your channel partners are going to have turnover. Think about targeted information you can provide to help them get their brand new staff up-and-running with selling your products.
With the New Year here, it’s time to revise your channel management best practices or build a new channel program from scratch the right way. Either way, leverage software to look at each channel partner as unique and do everything you can to make it easier for them to succeed.