As the person responsible for your channel partner relationships, you are always looking for ways to help your partners increase their sales effectiveness. You have a defined focus on driving sales and improving partner engagement, and you are interested in any tools that help. A technology solution like Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software has the scalability to meet your near-term priorities, while being able to grow with your business over time. Below are 7 ways that a PRM solution can improve your channel partner sales productivity.
Executing an effective lead management strategy is more vital to growing a business today than perhaps it ever has been before. At the very least, it’s significantly more complicated.
Thanks to the Internet, there are now more leads available for more businesses than at any other time in history. With somewhere between three and four billion people now online - nearly half of the world’s entire population - every business in every industry now has access to a vast pool of potential buyers.
However, this makes the challenge of lead management a multi-faceted issue. There are a variety of problems that can arise from poor lead management, and a savvy indirect sales organization will need to address all of them to successfully grow their business and customer base.
While we recognize that Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software can go a long way towards addressing those issues, there are a number of procedural factors to consider along the way.
It’s an exciting time to be in business, with new techniques coming along every day. The rapid progress of technology is turning into equally-rapid changes to how we do business, meaning the field is wide open for nearly any company in any field to succeed. Those who can stay ahead of the curve by paying close attention to -and meeting - their customers’ wants and needs will be the ones who thrive. This can be especially important for those that rely on reaching the customer through their sales channel partners.
What strategies should you be adopting into your own sales ecosystem to keep up with the times while providing innovative solutions? Below are some of the trends we’re following closely here at LogicBay, and we'll continue to keep an eye on their impact in the world of B2B sales throughout 2017.
One of the most talked about trends in marketing today is Account Based Marketing, or ABM. ABM represents a targeted outbound approach that can be segmented by large national accounts, industry, or even product category. It also serves as a nice complement to inbound marketing efforts which can cast a larger net, but may take months (or more) to pay off.
However, there are aspects of ABM that can make it tricky to execute within indirect sales systems. ABM requires a lot of focus and coordination between departments, which can be difficult within a channel ecosystem. Today, that’s what we want to look at: Ways to make ABM easier to achieve within channel sales.
First, a quick definition for those who haven’t encountered ABM before.
As you may have seen in the past, we like to write about the stages of growth that are often seen within a channel ecosystem, and how a well-run indirect sales program can smoothly grow from its beginning stages to one of stability and sustainability. There’s also the undesirable situation of sub-optimized sales channels where internal issues are holding it back from further profitable growth.
However, there’s another situation which isn’t often talked about but which growing ecosystems should watch out for: instability brought about by too-rapid growth. It’s very easy for a channel manager or VP of Sales to become overly enthusiastic about growth and expansion, particularly if they’ve identified an under-served market and are trying to establish themselves as the key service provider within it. In such cases, it may seem like there’s no such thing as too much growth… but there is. In these situations, the solution is to slow down. Hit the brakes. Take the time to understand what challenges are likely ahead and prepare yourself to meet those head on.
Everyone wants a well-optimized channel sales program, but you don’t get there without clearing away some of the common challenges that can lead to gridlock and a general lack of productivity.
It's not at all uncommon to be aware that your sales channel is under-performing, but knowing where to begin to address this issue is another challenge altogether. This can be tricky, since in many cases, the underlying cause of inefficiencies can be separate from the underperforming areas. In other words, it’s easy to mistake symptoms for the disease. But without identifying and addressing the underlying “diseases,” the symptoms will never entirely go away.
So, based on our own experiences, we wanted to talk a bit about common issues we see in channel ecosystems leading to larger systemic issues preventing true efficiency. And one piece of advice if you find more than one of these apply to your organization: start by focusing on one area of improvement and work on that until you have gained a competitive advantage.
Millennials are no longer just “the kids these days.” They are already the largest generational group in America - by 2020, they'll represent about 50% of the workforce - and with each passing year, more and more are entering positions of responsibility in businesses. After all, the oldest Millennials are now in their mid-30s, which is prime age to enter management roles even in larger organizations.
Millennials - sometimes also known as Generation Y - are particularly important for small-to-medium sized businesses, which often have a large percentage of younger employees. Plus, according to Forbes and other sources, Millennials are one of the most entrepreneurial of all recorded generations. They are already launching more businesses, at a younger age, while employing more people, than the Boomers ever did.
In short, Millennials absolutely should not be overlooked in B2B sales simply due to their relatively young age. Their value as customers within your sales ecosystem will only grow, year by year, potentially for decades to come. There is a catch, however: Millennials are also radically unlike any previous generation in terms of their tastes, preferences, ideals, and buying behavior.
Chief Marketing Officers have a lot on their plate these days. Markets and technology are changing rapidly. Their job is to stay on top of both and find ways to keep their organizations on track toward better ways of doing business.
Recently, SiriusDecisions conducted a survey of CMOs around the world, and got a lot of insights into what’s on their mind these days. We found it very interesting, in large part because many of the challenges facing CMOs today are magnified by the complexities of supporting a sales channel. They have a lot of opportunities to improve performance, and are continually looking for creative solutions to help support them.
One of the toughest challenges facing any Channel Manager is recruiting new sales partners in markets with a high level of competition. These markets may have an excess of vendors competing with you, specifically, or else they offer many different alternative solutions for buyers to choose between. In either case, the more competitive the market, the more you need to work to truly stand out and make yourself attractive to potential channel partners.
In most cases, it's important to always think from the partners’ perspective. As independent organizations, they’re looking out for their own bottom line, just like you are. The better you can understand their needs, motivations, decision-drivers - and figuring out how to support those - the more likely you are to form a successful partnership.
We've talked a lot lately about how much sales and marketing have changed in recent years, and the theme underlying all of it is that a modern indirect sales organization must evolve to keep up.
A channel sales system today needs to be able to provide a much wider range of services, and much better consistency in customer experience, if they're going to remain competitive. Furthermore, as a vendor seeking partners, you also face a lot of competition. Your sales partners, both current and prospective, are facing their own pressures and are having to choose between many options in vendors. Appealing to them and making yourself highly attractive as a partner is vital for sales channel growth.