Three questions to determine if sales technology is enhancing or hindering partner productivity
When it comes to sales technology tools, more is not necessarily better. Rather than increase business efficiency and performance, an overabundance of tools — today’s sales reps use on average six — can actually hamper productivity.
Why? Because more sales tools doesn’t automatically equate to ROI. In fact, quite the opposite. Too many tools, particularly those that aren’t well-integrated, slow sales reps down as they waste time navigating a hodgepodge of CRMs, partner portals, email clients, and more. For channel partners, we know the struggle to manage multiple tools is even more burdensome — given that one distributor may be working with dozens of suppliers, each with its own tool.
Because of this, companies are struggling with redundancy, poor engagement and flat-out waste in their tech ecosystems.
How do you decide which technology tools land in the sweet spot of increasing efficiency and performance without adding more hassle? Or worse, lead to little or no ROI?
For manufacturers and their distributors in the channel sales space, pipeline visibility and channel engagement are the two most critical areas on which to focus — as they represent the greatest opportunity for revenue growth.
For manufacturers, it might be a CRM and a channel engagement software product to gather sales pipeline data from their distributors. For distributors, it’s likely an easy CRM to manage sales reps performance and pipeline. But they also need that CRM to be able to connect with their suppliers systems so leads can flow directly into their CRM without duplicating work. Feedback on what happened to a given lead should automatically be sent back to the suppliers, as well.
For channel sellers considering whether to adopt new technology tools(s), ask yourself:
Is it simple?
Suppliers need crystal clear, up-to-the-minute pipeline visibility. But your channel partners or distributors are already overwhelmed with plenty of technology “noise.” Don’t add to the clutter by asking them to log-in to your special portal, or sift through generic emails combing for information relevant to them. Provide a solution that allows them to quickly and easily communicate the quality and status of each lead they receive. You’ll get the pipeline visibility you need, and they’ll be more engaged in the process.
Is it helpful?
Technology that can offer timely and contextual communications are critical to successful partner engagement. Channel partners are only as effective as you are at equipping them with the resources they need. To set partners up for success, provide “context aware” sales enablement that maps the right materials to the opportunity by stage, product, and scope. This will better position your distributors to convert more leads into sales.
Does it help you sell more?
At the end of the day, your technology tools should pay you back, and then some. For channel sellers, that might be automated lead capture and assignment so your partners get leads faster. Or, ability to auto append your leads in real time to give your partners better, more detailed information on every lead. Real-time 2-way integration with your CRM is critical, as it provides you a clear picture on both your direct and channel sales pipeline and performance indicators.
By taking a closer look at your sales process and asking these 3 critical questions when evaluating your technology needs, you can see which tools improve productivity and lead to revenue gains and which are time and money wasters.