Ensure You’re Getting The Most Value Out Of Your Sales Channel Strategy And Partners
When executed effectively, a channel sales strategy can put your company in a position to grow and expand rapidly. While the benefits of using partners to sell your products are extensive, there is more to the approach than just sending your products off to partners and hoping for the best. A channel sales strategy requires a little bit of effort on your part if you want to see a worthwhile return.
Before we get into our tips for optimizing your partnerships, be sure you’ve read our blog, How To Find Ideal Channel Sales Partnerships. Your company won’t get much out of a bad partnership.
The following are six tips we’ve compiled to help you ensure you’re able to get the most out of your channel sales strategy and partners.
1. Increase “mindshare” of your product or service
One pitfall of using channel sales partners to sell for you is that they could potentially be selling for others too. Think about it like this, every brand your channel partner represents has a piece of their limited time and energy available for selling. We call this “mindshare”. It’s in your best interest to gain as big of a piece of your partner’s mindshare as you can. So as you can imagine–things can get pretty competitive.
To increase mindshare, you should engage your partners and their sales reps in a way that motivates them to promote your product and get it in the hands of customers. The remaining tips will help you do just that!
2. Set expectations for your partnerships
When working with a channel partner, it’s important to establish your expectations for the partnership early on.
Create an onboarding process that provides partners with the resources they need to effectively sell your product or service. Throughout this process, you’ll want to go about establishing and communicating goals relating to margin, branding, messaging, etc. Therefore, no party is unclear as to what the expectations for the partnership are.
3. Define KPIs and track them
Have you defined key performance indicators that will allow you to measure and track the success of your channel sales strategy? If not, know that it’s an important step in not only achieving success with channel sales but attributing the results to specific partners and sales professionals.
Plus, ensuring your partners are aware of what success looks like in your eyes will help you foster high-quality long-term sales channel partnerships.
4. Supply sales enablement resources
One of the biggest challenges you face with a channel sales strategy is influencing and improving a sales team that doesn’t report directly to you. A customized sales partner training program that provides partners with adequate sales enablement resources can help you overcome that challenge.
The most effective channel sales training programs are designed as a collaboration between you and your partners. You know your offering and its selling points, but involving your partner can help you obtain buy-in from sales reps and increase the likelihood that the training sticks.
5. Provide ongoing support
To continue along the lines of tip #4, consider offering ongoing support and training for your channel managers and sales reps. This will not only ensure your outsourced sales teams are constantly improving, but it allows you to keep them informed on updates or issues.
6. Offer Sales Incentives or Spiffs
One tried and true way to motivate your sales channel partners is to offer an incentive. Sales incentives like SPIFFs can be extremely effective when you’re trying to influence a specific behavior among your sales team. Looking to drive sales on a specific product, encourage reps to educate themselves on a new sales process, or promote your offering to a wider customer base? We recommend utilizing a sales incentive to do so.
See (and avoid) these common channel sales incentive program pitfalls companies make.
Not to mention, sales incentives can help you build and maintain strong relationships with your partners. Loyal sales channel partners are one of the most valuable things you can obtain as a manufacturer.
When you feel like it’s time to offer your sales partners some type of incentive, keep Incentive Insights in mind! Our sales incentive programs and SPIFF programs for sales reps are proven methods for increasing results through your sales partners, especially when our partners also sell for your competitors. Through our sales incentives, we can help you achieve:
- Better relationships with sellers and customers
- Increased brand loyalty
- Increased market demand
- A team of highly knowledgeable salespeople
- High incentive approval rates
- And more!
Want to know if a channel sales strategy is the sales strategy for you? We understand it can be a difficult decision to make. That’s why we created a quiz with questions you can answer specific to your business to determine which strategy is best suited for your company’s goals.