Are you considering transitioning to an indirect sales model? There are plenty of benefits to channel sales and excellent tools that allow you to manage partners almost as easily as managing an internal sales team. Done well, a changeover to channel sales can mean gaining a much greater reach and visibility, and much more quickly than you could as a direct-sales vendor.
However, that does not mean everything is simple and easy. There are many challenges specific to channel sales that new ecosystems will need to overcome. Being aware of those challenges, and how to mitigate their impact on your growth, is key to successfully growing a channel ecosystem.
The Six Most Common Challenges Facing Indirect Sales Ecosystems
More businesses entering the indirect sales game means more competition for attention from sales partners. You need to be able to develop and express a value proposition that speaks to potential partners, and makes a strong case for doing business with you. Further, for maximum long-term value, your choices in partners should be smart and strategic – not simply taking on anyone who says “yes,” but instead finding the best partnerships for your needs.
To get the most value from your ecosystem, you need a way to track and manage the flow of leads from initial touch to final conversion. Previously, indirect sales operations had to rely almost solely on their partners, but today, Partner Relationship Management (PRM) technologies allow you to centralize lead flow and analysis. You can track partner results down to the individual level, and optimize them like you would an internal team.
Few areas of indirect sales are more expensive or annoying for both you and partners than training. From initial getting-up-to-speed, to handling new product launches in an effective manner, you need to make your training easily-accessible and comprehensive. Fortunately, with modern e-learning systems, this is entirely obtainable. You can even create career paths, and knowledge tiers, to inspire partners to continually develop their relationship with you.
Legacy computer systems and databases which refuse to talk to each other can be a death knell for modern sales ecosystems. A modern indirect sales vendor needs a way to centralize aspects such as training, communications, lead management, and information-sharing so that they are available equally across the entire ecosystem. A PRM-style platform makes this possible. Even better, if you can make it easy for partners to do business with you, that’s a powerful selling point during recruitment.
Incentives come in many forms, including typical SPIF-style bonuses, percentages and other revenue-sharing, prizes, and even opportunities for advancement such as training. This is a vital area of partner management to get right – good incentive programs inspire better morale and more sales, while poorly-managed incentives can have the opposite effect. You need a system for implementing these incentive programs in a way that is fair and accessible to all partners equally.
Businesses today are often drowning in data, to the point of overlooking critical metrics which could signpost their successes and failures. A smart partner manager knows the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which are most relevant to their business, and how to track them over time. They can also share those numbers with their partners, and offer suggestions for improvement, so that optimizations happen across the board. This only happens with a solid data management and analysis platform.
LogicBay Provides The Tools To Efficiently Manage Your Sales Channels.
No matter the current size of your operation, or how large you want it to become, LogicBay has the tools and the talent to help you grow your ecosystem. Smart strategies combined with a revolutionary all-in-one platform for partner management make it possible for any vendor to overcome these challenges and find success.