When managing an indirect sales ecosystem, it’s vital to remember that you are competing with other vendors for sales partners. This is true both in terms of recruiting partners in the first place, as well as maintaining mindshare when a partner may be working with multiple vendors.
The more attractive you can make your channel, the easier it will be to both recruit partners and keep them enthusiastic about the partnership. We’ve worked with plenty of vendors and partners, so we’ve seen a lot of commonalities between various vendor\partner relationships. Here are three ways to ensure the happiness of your sales channel partners in an extended ecosystem.
1. Make things easier!
If there’s a #1 complaint we hear among partners, and particularly their individual sales staff, it’s that working with them is too complicated and requires too many different computer systems. This is particularly true for vendors who started off small with ad-hoc computer systems, and never consolidated. Too many systems and log-ins can start outright suffocating an ecosystem.
If you can reduce the complexity of doing business with you, such as implementing a single all-in-one portal, you will be vastly more attractive to partners and their sales staff.
2. Be more personalized.
It’s easy to look at an extended partner network solely in business-to-business terms, but this overlooks the individual human factor. Again, this boils down to making your organization more attractive to ground-level sales staff who may be choosing between several different vendors when making recommendations to their own customers. If they’re choosing between options which are largely parity products, aspects such as how much they like you will start coming into play.
Look for ways to appeal to the individual level, not just the corporate level. Try implementing customized portals which auto-configure for each user. Keep messaging relevant to each partner or user, rather than mass-blasting messages to your entire ecosystem. If your ecosystem is particularly diverse – like a global network – spend some time thinking about how the needs of a partner in Brazil vary from the needs of a partner in Germany, and implement features accordingly.
3. Increase levels of engagement.
Partners, both individuals and at the corporate level, don’t like being left out of the loop. If you make them feel like they’re truly part of a larger organization working towards shared goals, they are much more likely to reciprocate with rededicated efforts.
It's important to spend time reaching out to your partners, get their opinions on their experience as partners, and let that influence your interactions. Talk to them about new products or initiatives early to get their input. After all, as they’re on the ground level, they may have vital insights into buyer behaviors or needs. And, of course, be there when they want to communicate with you. Have plenty of avenues available, from social media – like LinkedIn – to official systems within your own partner portal. A partner employee should never feel like you’re unavailable if they need you.
Partner Relationship Management (PRM) Software Simplifies Interactions
LogicBay PRM is the world’s most robust and easy-to-use partner management portal, capable of consolidating all interactions, communications, and data analysis into a single simplified system. Contact LogicBay today for a free demonstration of how PRM can streamline your ecosystem.