Suppliers that start to leverage data and metrics to optimize their channel partner relationships will see huge gains. Strong results will come when suppliers start to proactively manage and communicate with their channel partners in order to drive more revenue.
Understanding channel partner engagement with leads and opportunities is critical. For example, research conducted by LeadMethod shows that more than 70% of channel partners do not regularly follow up on leads and opportunities that are shared with them. That amounts to a significant number of missed sales.
Why it Matters
“Suppliers that embrace process change and software investments to better engage their channel partners will see significant growth. We recommend three core strategies: Understanding Channel Engagement, Creating a Process for Channel Feedback, and Providing Training and Sales Coaching” Justin Johnson CEO LeadMethod
And what about the feedback from channel partners on leads and opportunities? Did any of the leads turn into opportunities? Did any turn into sales? Suppliers consistently tell us that less than 20% of their channel partners provide them with feedback. A partnership can’t work properly when the 2-way communication between suppliers and their channel partners is completely broken.
But, it’s no surprise, channel partners are not given an effective tool to give feedback on what happened to the leads. So, there is a major disconnect between suppliers and their channel partners on lead status and sales pipeline analysis.
Suppliers that sell through channel partners must start to focus on the core metrics and activity that contributes to making the most of the partner relationship. Just having channel partners is not enough to maximize revenue potential, the relationship must be built on solid engagement and activity metrics to ensure growth.
Suppliers that embrace process change and software investments to better engage their channel partners will grow by more than 20%. We recommend three core strategies: Understanding Channel Engagement, Creating a Process for Channel Feedback, and Providing Training and Sales Coaching.
1. Understanding Channel Partner Engagement
Understanding channel partner engagement is critical in order to measure the effectiveness of partner relationships. Suppliers need to know if and how often channel partners are engaging with leads, opportunities, and repeat clients. For example, suppliers need to clearly understand if leads are being contacted by channel partners, and how fast the initial contact is happening. Also, is the lead being nurtured in a timely and effective way. Having a scorecard of these metrics is critical for measuring the effectiveness of each channel partner and identifying areas that need improvement.
2. Creating a Process for Channel Partner Feedback
Two-way communication with channel partners is essential for success. But it’s so much more than just an annual sales meeting or a quarterly status check-in call. Partners need a process and tool to quickly and easily provide feedback on leads, opportunities, and projects that they are working on.
The process and software must be easy to use and work with channel partner business processes and systems. LeadMethod, for example, is a channel lead management software program that makes it fast and easy for channel partners to provide feedback on leads and opportunities and integrates will all major marketing automation and CRM programs, making the solution really easy for the channel partner.
3. Providing Training and Sales Coaching
Suppliers have always struggled to engage their channel partners for training, sales coaching and product information. Suppliers offer their partners information on their website, catalog, intranet and some even offer an online partner portal. But partners have to login to a system and take the time to go hunt down the information when they need it. So, because partners don’t know where to find a lot of the supporting sales material, they just rely on the knowledge that they have picked up of the products and that often creates challenges and misinformed conversations with clients.
Suppliers need to position sales materials, product information and training when channel partners need it most – when they’re following up on a hot sales lead. We call this Partner Sales Enablement, giving partners the right information at the right time so they can close more deals.
In summary, suppliers that embrace process change and software investments to better engage their channel partners will see strong growth. We recommend three core strategies: Understanding Channel Engagement, Creating a Process for Channel Feedback, and Providing Training and Sales Coaching.
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For the complete white paper published by the Sales Lead Management Association click here (PDF).