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.
Market fluctuations and rapidly changing customer needs have created an increasingly challenging environment for manufacturers. Meeting these challenges requires strong partner relationships. A company with disengaged channel partners will be poorly positioned to outmaneuver their competitors. Open dialogue and strong partnerships foster the collaboration and innovation necessary for success.
That’s why effective communication is such an important element of channel management. What does effective channel communication look like?
Timely. To be effective, communications can’t become burdensome. Communications that are too frequent can get lost in the shuffle or leave the dealer feeling overloaded. If the communications are not seen as helpful and supportive, they become useless. Frequent communications are not always effective communications.
Relevant. One of the key communication mistakes is caused by sending “blanket” information addressed to the entire dealer network. It’s then left to the individual dealers and their individual departments to sift through the information, looking for anything relevant to them. To be effective, communications must be role-based. Unclutter your channel partners’ inboxes and increase their positive opinion of working with your company by only sending them messages applicable to their roles.
Balanced. Sending information too early only adds to the overload dealers may be experiencing. Furthermore, the longer the information sits before it becomes relevant, the greater the chance that it will be forgotten or misplaced. Of course, information that is sent too late is useless to your dealers. A careful balancing act is required. The more effective your overall communication strategy, the easier the balancing act becomes.
All organizations these days are managing an overwhelming amount of messaging on a regular basis. Whether that messaging gets to the right people at the right time, without being perceived as a burden, is the difference between communication and catastrophe.
A web-based partner relationship management (PRM) system improves your ability to effectively communicate with channel partners. With a PRM system in place, channel partners will be able to access timely, role-based information by signing into a single portal. A strong content management system makes it easy for partners to find the information and assistance they need and to engage in online collaboration with your company and even other partners. With PRM software, your channel partners will feel informed, supported, and valued. This is the key to building strong partner engagement.