Presented by Greg Nutter, Principal Consultant at Soloquent at the Sales Leadership Alliance Meeting July 15, 2014
The presentation focused on how companies werck their own sales channel and the Essentials for Channel Sales Success – The Top 5 Reasons Why Reseller Channel Partnerships Fail and What Your Can Do About it.
Why do we even use Sales Channels? Greg asked a room full of seasoned sales leaders. The answers given were: to provide us with access to Prospects and Relationships, put more feet on the street, a channel is like a river a way to address the customer, a faster way to market, and it is saleable. The number 1 answer is: To Reduce Cost.
The impact of hiring channel sales intermediaries is to reduce contacts/relationships between the principal and the prospect/customer by 1/2 and reducing interactions reduces cost per interaction. This results in better interactions, often at a local level between the independent sales rep and the prospect/customer. Verses the Company Regional Sales Manager trying to cover a vast territory, with limited time and resources. Value Added Resellers VARs often customize and tailor the product or service to meet local or specific Customer needs. Customers gain cost savings by having fewer points of contact to manage and getting a product – service that uniquely meets their needs. The situations where using channel partners makes sense: Small Deals, Slow Growth Markets, etc.
Given all the benefits of using Channel Partners why do these partnerships fail ???
Here are the Top 5 Reasons:
1. Wrong Partner
The Channel Partner lacks the skills to sell your product. They also do not have the financial resources to promote your product through the launch phase. Their customer base is not a match for your product – service; they do not call on prospects who can use what you have to sell. No access to the target market.
Solution: create a partner profile and use it to rate potential partners.
2. Un-Clear Expectations
There is no clear goal and clarity as to who is responsible for what.
Solution: Set the expectations Both Internally and externally who is responsible for what and when. What are the Roles and Responsibilities? Conduct timely reviews of the progress towards these goals. The investment of the principal and channel partner in the success of the product, include an ROI timeline internally and externally.
3. Un-Aligned Rewards and Recognition
There is not a clear understanding of the Cost, economics for each rout to market the cost of what you expect the channel partner to do.
Solution: The Rewards and Recognition must be aligned such that it rewards the behavior you want to have happen. Reward behavior not just results. Think of it as outsourcing a service. Short-term incentives for specific activities you want. Internal alignment is important so you drive the right behaviors. If you think a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur….
4. Enablement & Training
Not providing the new channel partner with the tools, they need to succeed.
Solution: By providing: Literature, Sales Samples and Product Training will grease the skids and instill a level of confidents in the new partner. Build a plan to onboard the new channel partner, it must have internal and external components, cover pre sales and post sales support responsibilities, tech support, etc.
5. Poor or No Management
There is little communication and management of the new channel partner.
Solution: It takes unique skills to manage channel partners; it is more like coaching, facilitation, and mentoring than direct management of a subordinate. Define the process, separate the channel manager from the sales person, and train your channel managers and internal people on how to handle channel partners and VARs.
6. Overlooking Change
The sales world is ever changing markets come and go new product emerge.
Solution: Always be looking for new channel partners. Access how the market is changing and evolving over time.
It takes careful thought and consideration when setting up a new channel to market. Selection of a partner who has access to prospects that can use your product or service is number one. Clear communication is key; keeping the expectations from the internal team aligned with the external partner will avoid many common pitfalls. Providing the right level of support will prime your channel partner for success.
About our Presenter:
Greg Nutter has over 25 years of experience encompassing sales, marketing, channel management, and consulting positions. Over this period Greg has developed an enhances the performance of direct sales, channel sales, Telephone sales and other revenue-enabling relationships. He has held various roles such a as Sr Director of N. America for Channel Enablers, VP Americas of Lascom Solutions, VP Worldwide Sales for Solimar Systems and a variety of Senior management positions with Xerox Canada including General manager. Greg is actively involved in several technology industry associations and holds a BS Degree in Computer Science from the University of Toronto.
Greg can be reached at; firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-536-8961