Growing an indirect sale ecosystem is much like growing any other business – you need clear goals and hard data to make it happen, as well as an ability to shift in response to market changes. However, the big difference is that you don’t need one set of goals – you need two. One for the growth and stability of your ecosystem, and the other for the performance of your ecosystem as a whole.
Setting Proper Goals For Your Ecosystem and Partner Growth
The goals you set for your ecosystem growth are going to largely revolve around three main issues:
- How many partners you have, versus how many you want.
- Your costs in obtaining those partners, and
- Your overall “big picture” geographic and market penetration.
It’s important to note that a well-maintained ecosystem is not simply adding partners as fast as possible. As we mentioned before, slow-and-steady growth is the ideal. An indirect sales system can easily become top-heavy, so to speak, if it doesn’t have a solid foundation of support beneath it. Likewise, your geographic and market penetration should be done strategically, step-by-step, whenever possible.
Otherwise, the less it costs you to find, recruit, and train your new partners, the better. This will be one of your biggest cost sinks, and finding ways to streamline your recruitment can significantly improve your revenues. Likewise, keeping your partners happy will reduce partner churn.
Finding Goals For Your Ecosystem Sales
This is going to basically be the same as if you were doing direct sales. You’ll be monitoring the typical KPIs such as lead-to-sale conversion rates, time spent, average customer value, and soforth.
Fine-tuning should ideally be done on a partner-by-partner basis. Some partners will do better than others. This is pretty much inevitable. However, you should still strive to keep your partners as close together in performance as possible. Having a wide disparity in performance between partners is a sign of a sub-optimized ecosystem and one which is in need of better communication, training, and partner support.
Otherwise, as with any business, the key is setting sales and cost goals which are both concrete and measurable, with clear milestones marking your path towards those goals. In addition, these goals should always be communicated to the partners as well, so they can know how well they’re doing versus expecations. Be ready to provide support for any partner that asks for help, such as with marketing!
Measuring Your Success
Simply put, managing a large modern indirect-sales ecosystem is nearly impossible without software support. This is, in fact, exactly what our own LogicBay product and methodology was designed around: making it easy for vendors to keep track of all their partners, while also being able to obtain a wide overview of their ecosystem as a whole. It’s like CRM, but designed specifically for indirect sales setups.
Even if you don’t use our system, you will need some sort of database software setup with CRM-style features. Trying to do it all by hand – or leaving things to chance – is a recipe for failure.
However, if you’d like to see the industry’s premiere set of indirect sales support tools in action, you can always contact us at LogicBay directly for a free personalized demonstration!