When we think about companies that sell via channel partners, we often think of traditional industrial manufacturers who create a product and then sell that product through distributors or independent sales reps.
It’s not uncommon, however, for Software as a Service (SaaS) companies to operate using a similar model — partnering with value added resellers and other types of channel partners to sell their “product.”
For SaaS companies, leveraging an indirect sales force can be an effective model to both scale your business and to help you expand globally.
The indirect sales pipeline challenge
But no matter if you make tractors or software — the challenges all types of businesses face engaging with channel sales partners are the same. Poor pipeline visibility, disparate lead management systems, little or no communications on lead quality — all stand in the way of maximizing channel revenue.
Since you are not working from the same system, once a sales lead leaves the “four walls” of your business, you’re essentially flying blind — in the dark about the status of the lead, and crossing your fingers that you’ll hit your monthly or quarterly performance metrics.
A shared platform eliminates visibility issues
Whether your indirect sales partners are distributors located in your time zone or value-added resellers (VARS) located across the globe — the key to optimizing your relationship is a common system of communication.
On a shared platform, you can easily track pipeline activities for internal reporting as well as external channel enablement initiatives. You can also create a mechanism for direct partner feedback so you know exactly how “closeable” shared leads really are.
5 platform must-haves
Here are 5 platform requirements SaaS companies should consider when looking to bolster their channel sales efforts. Your platform should:
- Integrate into your current workflow
- Hide any complexity from your channel partner
- Deliver contextual information at the right time
- Integrate seamlessly with existing systems
- Provide accurate performance data in real-time
Time to value before the end of the quarter
SaaS companies undergoing rapid expansion and growth can benefit from leveraging channel sales partners, since it’s a faster and more economic approach than setting up a whole new shop in a whole new country.
When time-to-deployment is a critical factor, be wary of a large-scale, multi-month systems deployment and on-boarding program.
For companies that want to see a meaningful revenue impact this quarter, look for a platform that can go to work, and produce results, in less than 30 days.
In a channel sales environment, tracking every sales lead is critical to maximizing revenue. Does your current solution make the most of every lead in your sales pipeline?