If your sales activity is completely or partially conducted through channel partners, here are the 8 key questions you should be asking your channel managers:
1 On a scale of 1- 10, how important are you to your partners’ business strategy? Typically, partners have many different products or services to promote, but those that are crucial to their strategy will get more attention.
2 Do you understand how you fit into their customer engagement and sales process? One client discovered that their products were offered too late in the sales process for the customers to easily buy.
3 Do your channel members’ compensation programs encourage them to sell your products rather than other products? If your products are less profitable for the salespeople, they will sell only if asked and do little missionary work.
4 Do you ‘know’ each one of your channel’s salespeople? The better you know these people, the more easily you can support them by tailoring your communications and promotions to suit.
5 How well do you know the top three at each partner? The Pareto principle holds true for channels. There are a handful of top performing sales reps working for your channel partners. Who are they and how do you ensure they are working for you too?
6 How quickly can you communicate with their salespeople? Do you have to work through intermediaries? Too often, channel communications are routed through sales desks, marketing departments and so on. Try to establish a direct line to your channel’s best reps to provide them with outstanding support.
7 Have you checked for message decay? Message decay is what happens as your polished marketing messages move through multiple layers of communication. You may find that your channel is trying to sell to the wrong target market and your USPs have become very distorted and ineffective. Check it regularly.
8 What kind of metrics do you track? Which are the main Leading indicators? How do you use them? If you are not tracking your pipeline – you need to start. Now. But what creates the pipeline? Are you tracking that? How do you use the data to constantly improve?
You can read more here: Designing Sales Channels
See you next time,