Many companies are leveraging indirect sales channels and partnerships as a strategy in today’s competitive market. The goal in channel relationships is building the perfect mix of partners that will reach a large number of customers and improve the customer experience while reducing costs.
Whether you are just developing a strategy or need to improve an existing one, creating a joint venture relationship is the best solution: The supplier needs to invest resources in training, sales support and marketing. Likewise, the channel partners should commit resources to training and actively promote the solution. Here are some ways suppliers (and in turn, channel partners) can drive revenue:
Choose the right partners. Suppliers need to look for the most suitable partners that will help maximize sales and improve the customer experience. Partners should be evaluated on certain criteria including the industry expertise, geographic reach and competencies. Companies should be focusing on higher-performing partners and properly resource the right partnerships.
Establish accountability. Ongoing communication is the most important aspect of a channel relationship. Partners represent the supplier’s brand in the market... Suppliers should be asking partners how they can help drive sales and give them access to key information they can learn from to become more effective at selling their products. Keeping a close relationship like this will create trust and loyalty.
Build a sales incentive program. Partners are more likely to want to sell a product if there’s “something in it for them.” Suppliers can set up a pay-based-on-performance system where channel sales representatives earn points when they sell a product and are reimbursed for a certain percentage of their sales. Suppliers should know which partners are successful and which aren’t. When a partner isn’t creating revenue, the problem needs to be fixed, or that relationship needs to end.
Support channel partners. Influencing partners on how they develop and manage sales opportunities is the key to successful channel management. Suppliers need to provide partners with tools necessary tools to support their marketing efforts. They should be influencing and leading partner initiatives to drive revenue and create investments while forecasting opportunities in the sales pipeline.
It’s important for companies to take a hard look at the effectiveness of their channels programs. Giving partners access to relevant information and creating joint marketing campaigns with an incentive program are all motivating factors for a partner to want to sell more products. Taking the time to develop a strategy, collaborate with channel partners and leverage them effectively can create revenue and bridge the gap between the supplier and reseller.