For anyone responsible with supporting channel partners, you know that anything you can do to help your partners drive more sales while keeping your company top of mind will bring great benefits. Managing partners is the most difficult aspect of running a business focused on indirect sales, and successfully managing your partners will expand your sales numbers in ways that could never be accomplished on your own.
Realizing this is the easy part. Getting there is a challenge, in more ways than one.
Listed below are five ways to increase partners sales.
1. Centralize Lead Management: Whether you’re doing it with dedicated Partner Relationship Management software or a separate database solution, one key ingredient to increasing partner sales is centralizing your lead management capability. By doing this you can:
- Gain better oversight over your ecosystem
- Track partner progress
- Rank and track leads across multiple contacts
- Reduce channel conflict situations and inefficiencies
- Transfer leads to your partners more easily
2. Address the Question, “What’s In It For Me?” A common mistake channel managers (or their superiors) make is being too dictatorial towards partners – particularly if a business has recently moved to an indirect-sale model. Vendors who treat partners like they’re employees will usually not fare well. The relationship is truly a partnership and should be treated that way.
As such, any initiative you want to implement should include plenty of consideration for your partners’ needs and how those initiatives will be good for your partners as well as yourself. Incentive programs can help here. So, whenever you’re considering a new initiative or change of strategy, have an answer ready if a reluctant partner asks “What’s in it for me?”
READ MORE: CSO's Guide to Increasing Channel Sales
3. Make Your Promotional Materials Modular: It’s easy to make promotional fliers, whitepapers, videos, etc. and throw them all into a single catch-all directory for partners to pull from. However, if you put a little more thought into it, you can easily create a much more powerful lead-conversion tool. Break down your promo material repository so that it’s segmented according to phrases of the sales funnel, and sort the materials accordingly.
This is easy to do in a PRM-style system, and it will make it far easier for ground-level sales staff to find the perfect materials to suit any lead at any stage in the buying cycle. Also, when sorting materials this way, you might discover you’re lacking content aimed at specific phases.
4. Streamline Your Software Wherever Possible: One of the worst situations a vendor can get into in terms of its software is to have a lot of different applications serving different purposes. This can easily turn into a bewildering maze of apps and logons that make it extremely difficult to do business. If you’re a vendor offering a single-logon all-in-one software system, that’s going to create a gigantic incentive for your partners to prefer your products over those of your competitors.
Sales margins aren’t everything. Being able to honestly say you reduce the time\effort\money required to do business with you can be just as powerful an incentive as pure percentages.
5. Deliver Online Training Programs: Training (and onboarding) is the necessary evil of indirect sales ecosystems. You must have good training and certification procedures to ensure your partners are correctly representing your brand. This can be time consuming particularly if it means a lot of in-person seminars that take sales staff away from their desks.
Moving to online “self-serve” training is the best solution to this. Well-written materials backed up by videos and testing modules can produce results which are on par with in-person seminars, but with vastly less wasted time and annoyance. It’s also going to save you a lot of money as well, if you aren’t having to constantly fly trainers all over the country.
LogicBay can makes things easier for you & your partners. The LogicBay PRM system was designed specifically to centralize and streamline every major aspect of partner management, from customer databases to training systems. Our modular design makes it simple for you to set up the portals you need to succeed, without getting bogged down in features your ecosystem won’t benefit from. Contact us today for a free demonstration of LogicBay PRM.