As the bridge between customers and vendors, channel partners play a crucial role in the company’s success and growth. Adopting a strategy for optimal channel partner engagement may seem confusing, but it is essential to maintain channel partner relationships.
Although gradual, channel partners are experiencing a change in the way their relationships are sustained. This has resulted in increased pressure on vendors to meet customer expectations, which has, in turn, put pressure on channel partners to move their locus to a more varied landscape of solutions instead of sticking to a transactional business model.
Keeping in mind the current market and the changing landscape, developing resilience is key to staying relevant. The following are a few ways to get ahead and maintain the edge, build a robust relationship, and sell more efficiently with channel partners.
Invest in the relationship
Whether it’s a distributor or a partner sales representative, co-selling with partners creates a more significant impact representing closely aligned teams working towards a common goal. Working together with channel partners provides more opportunities and ideas and is certainly worth investing time and effort into.
Being able to motivate even a fraction of the several dozen sales representatives from the distributor significantly increases sales likelihood. For such a partner to be successful, it requires
- Going out on sales calls
- Buddying up
- Clarifying queries
- Going out for social activities
With the company’s success and growth highly dependent on channel partners, effective channel management is possible only if time and effort are invested in the relationship.
An excellent way to strengthen the relationship is by working with partners on promotional activities. For instance, a channel partner may be planning a trade show and would like your company to be represented.
Such an event will require vendors to show up as the vendor or the manufacturer and enable an active role in generating leads. Further, this allows the partner sales representatives to see vendors’ sales techniques as they know their product or service intimately. This will enable direct handing over of leads generated to partner representatives.
Develop a strong social media presence
Being active on social media does a world of good for sales representatives. With incredible learning opportunities, social media offers a great platform to learn what, where, and how to sell.
As customers and their needs evolve, so too are distributors and channel partners. Having a substantial presence on these platforms will help sales representatives and channel partners bring in or cultivate their unique brand of expertise.
With the real-time information gleaned off social media, creating and executing strategies will be more comfortable and practical. Spending time on social media communities as a vendor is a great way to sell more effectively through channel partners.
Create a community for the best practices
With social media being rather loud sometimes, creating a space to share experiences and communities will be very helpful. With invitation-only pages, vendors, channel partners, companies, and customers can come together to share what worked, where, and how.
The channel partner’s ability to sell the company’s product or service determines the success of the company. However, channel partners will require “just in time” information to provide pertinent information to address specific customer problems that they are facing.
Within a B2B social media community, there is plenty of scope for swapping success stories with other distributors, partners, and customers. These anecdotes will often find applicability across situations, contexts, and products.
Within a closed community, asking questions and clarifying them will build rapport while improving the understanding of the product and how to make the sale.
These interactions will not be restricted to just the vendor or the manufacturer but will include other channel partners working with the same product/service.
Starting such a community enables a culture of knowledge sharing that is global and always open 24 hours a day.
Co-invest with channel partners
A channel partner is nearly always in need of or would like like to have more sales representatives. However, they cost a lot of money. A company co-sponsoring or co-investing with dedicated sales representatives makes the arrangement very lucrative for the channel partner. Additionally, the same arrangement secures more sales representatives for the company interested in their services and products.
A company co-investing can provide specific criteria to be fulfilled. For example:
- The company will pay for X per cent of the sales representative
- The sales representatives have to attend the company training school
- Make X number of new calls per day to new customers
- The sales rep will be paid thrice the amount of commission to a new customer versus an old customer
These are different ideas for enticing representatives by incentivizing the prospect of co-investing. Additionally, it will prove to be an incredible opportunity to drive new sales and build a strong working relationship.
How can Zaggle Propel help?
Zaggle Propel will help you work towards reimagining the relationship with channel partners. Our tools and services will ensure high performance is delivered with smooth channel partner management.
Zaggle Propel comes with a centralized dashboard, customizable integrations capable of working with complex KPIs. Our customizable platform works towards building and strengthening engagement for employees, consumers, and channel partners.
Please reach out to us in case of any queries.