If you recently invested in a channel management solution the good news is that you’ve taken a major step toward improving your business’ ability to manage its sales channel. However, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to be easy.The bad news is that if not utilized correctly, this important platform is going to leave a lot to be desired. Here we outline the basic steps to successfully proceed.
Step one - Implement.
The first step to using your channel management software is, obviously, implementation. This doesn’t need to be a step you handle on your own though. These days, most channel management software providers understand that they must play a large role in helping companies get up and running with their software. Take advantage of this by calling upon your supplier to help with a seamless implementation process.
Keep in mind that implementation isn’t just about getting the software installed. It is just as much about helping your employees grasp the fundamentals of using it. If your sales partners and their employees aren’t comfortable using this software, it will simply fail. Everyone has to find the software easy to use.
Step two - Deploy.
Without the support of your partners, your channel management solution won’t be worth much. After you implement the software it’s time to move on with deployment to your sales partners. We recommend a Think Big, Start Small, Build Fast approach.
- Think Big is all about having a vision for what the software will accomplish for your business and how your selling partners will find it to be a useful tool to not only make it easy for them to sell for you, but to help them manage their own business better.
- Start Small is all about testing the system with a subset of your selling partner network first and working out all the configuration issues.
- Once the systems is working right for the pilot group of selling partners, then Build Fast and scale the system.
Step three - Analyze.
One of the most powerful tools available through channel management software is the analytics it provides. This is how you track the performance of your partners. Simply deploying channel management software is not going to move the needle on overall sales performance. Being able to “see” what’s going on across your sales partner network is where analytics has its value.
Things like the status of the sales lead pipeline, level of training and certifications achieved, consumption of marketing content, and other measurable attributes of a channel management system depend on strong analytical capabilities within your channel management software system.
Step four - Listen & Process.
You should receive plenty of feedback throughout implementation and deployment. You want to begin processing feedback early and often. The sooner you act on this information, the better it will be for your organization.
Routine surveys, suggestions feedback loops, focus groups, and other forms of feedback should all be part of your plan in deploying channel management software.
Utilizing channel management software is an essential step toward getting more from your company and the partners it relies on. If you’re at a loss with how to proceed, though, the above steps should help point you in the right direction.