Avoiding harmful channel conflict means understand its causes, as well as utilizing smart planning and software tools to prevent conflict situations from occurring. In our work at LogicBay, helping ecosystems grow and thrive, we focus on avoiding channel conflict with some of the following methods.
Five Ways To Avoid Harmful Sales Channel Conflict In Your Ecosystem
1. Implement smart, strategic ecosystem expansion
It may be tempting for newer ecosystems to sign on any and all partners they can get, but this is a recipe for long-term problems. Ecosystem expansion should always be planned and strategic. Understand the markets you serve. Understand the markets you want to serve in the future. Utilize both market-based and geographic targeting, so your partners have as little overlap as you can manage. Always be aware of the overall state of your ecosystem, and avoid signing up partners who will automatically be in conflict with existing partners.
A great deal of channel conflict can be avoided simply by picking the right partners, in the right places, with an eye towards avoiding overlap.
2. Maintain strong, centralized communications
Communications breakdowns are at the heart of many channel conflict issues, and they are entirely avoidable with the right tools. With a centralized communications hub, linking you and your partners together, you don’t need to be concerned about maintaining communications. You’ll have a central platform for relaying your own messaging to partners, while they can freely contact you or each other. Keeping your web of partners tied together in this manner will greatly decrease chances for conflict.
This will also help avoid situations where your partners become resistant to change, because you have the opportunity to discuss changes well in advance and get their input on the issue.
3. Develop a strong emphasis on unified marketing
We also recommend that vendors do as much of the marketing work as they can, rather than relying on partners doing their own marketing. Vendors are in a better position to produce marketing and advertising materials, and it’s also one of the best ways to ensure that messaging regarding your products and services remains on-track.
With a central database of marketing materials, that all can freely pull from, your partners will be on-message and spending their resources making sales.
4. Push for improved lead management
If partners are having an easier time converting their leads into sales, they’re going to be less inclined to compete with each other or get cutthroat with their pricing. You can avoid this with Partner Relationship Management systems that include customer and lead tracking. Much like CRM systems, but shared across the ecosystem, you can track the progress of every lead across every partner. This gives you ample opportunity to analyze tactics, suggest new approaches, and give your partners true support in improving their lead conversions.
5. Encourage cooperation and collaboration
Finally, don’t overlook the virtues of simply creating a culture of collaboration from the very beginning. All the tools and techniques discussed can be used to help make your channel partners feel like they’re part of something bigger, and strategies such as incentives programs can reinforce this view. A “we’re all in this together” attitude will be easiest to foster from the very beginning, while doing a lot to prevent conflict later on.
LogicBay Can Move Your Ecosystem Forward
No matter the age or size of your ecosystem, LogicBay has time-proven techniques, tools, and software which can help turn your channel partner ecosystem into a unified marketing monster. Contact us directly for a full demonstration of the power of LogicBay’s methodologies.