Four tried and tested ways to improve channel sales

Four tried and tested ways to improve channel sales

Channel sales is a game-changing and viable model where organizations involve channel partners to sell, market, and promote their products instead of hiring a sales force directly.   

What makes channel sales a practical option for your business? 

Trusting a third party can be a tough call. That is why it is imperative to seek answers to specific key questions. For example, is my business resourceful enough to go in for the expansion in your sales force, indirect, of course. Next, you might need to find out if your business has an effective sales process in place or not. If the process is refined, you can effectively leverage the potential of channel sales. To add to it, you should be okay letting go of some of the control by trusting people outside the company to sell your products and services.  

Four tried and tested methods to improve channel sales  

1) Pursue increased mindshare of your channel partners  

Mindshare, often used for describing the degree of consumer awareness, is a limited resource. In the case of channel partners, it denotes the time and energy the partner uses in selling your products and services. The channel partner may not necessarily be working with one brand at a time – most of them work with multiple brands. As a result, your brand gets a certain percentage of the total mindshare of the channel partner.   

Your goal should be to derive a bigger chunk of the mindshare. To do so, it is essential to treat each channel partner as an ally, a friend offering them the landscape to work as true partners. Coaching and training them and being ever-present are critical to making their work easy. Your channel managers need to be accessible at all times, and you need to ensure that you design a win-win rewards and incentives program.   

2) Equip the partnership with an appropriate sales channel partnership tool  

Improving channel sales can be effectively done when you have the right tool to streamline channel data. This is especially true if you plan to scale up your channel sales. A platform like My Incentives that helps organize data gives you a holistic insight into revenues generated and the performance of different sales partners, help you run multiple incentive programs, and more. Such a platform has numerous features that help accelerate sales – for example, sales contests, training materials, learning resources, online webinars, etc.   

Simply introducing such new-age platforms is not enough, though. You need to make sure that your channel partners are trained to use the platform and are using it as a routine. One of the ways to ensure this is to focus on two-way communication. Your business should be open to listening to the channel partners so that their issues can be resolved instantaneously. Similarly, you need to keep your channel partners informed about new updates, announcements, etc., so they are always well-equipped to act as your extended arm.  

3) Innovate your Rewards & Incentive program 

Your channel partners are here to earn commissions and incentives. How can you make your R&I programs more appealing and attractive to get better traction from your partners? There are different ways to do it, and it is clever to design a comprehensive program.   

One amazing way is to categorize your channel partners in a tiered format – basic partners fulfill only the basic requirements of the partnership, higher partners who can fulfill higher targets, and superpartners who are your main revenue churners. With the tiered level comes the need to offer support accordingly to your partners. For example, superpartners get advanced marketing support, get premium listing, etc. 

Remember, your channel partners will give their best efforts to push your products and services when they are incentivized effectively. It is crucial to make it a well-structured robust program where sales expectations, KPIs, and related metrics are explicitly defined. Communicate to the sales partner and ensure that your channel partners understand the same clearly. Also, tying the goals of the channel partner with your business goals can make the process more effective.    

4) Quality should get precedence over quantity  

More partners or better partners? Your choice, in this case, can significantly impact your channel sales performance. Going in for the former can look lucrative, but it is always better to go with the latter option. It’s like choosing between retaining old customers and going in for new ones. Retaining the existing ones is always cost-effective. If your business has just entered the channel sales strategy, invest in finding good credible partners and then work towards making them stick by you. 

If yours is an established business with a proper setup of channel partners, go back and research to find the qualitative ones. These are the partners you should take along with you because they will help your business perform better. Leave the slow and low performers behind as they might become obstacles to increasing channel sales. 

Conclusion  

Channel sales have great potential if leveraged effectively. Ensure that you choose the right ones and do everything possible to keep them with you. Keep the communication channels open and be accessible for them. Give them the resources and tools to perform well and incentivize them wholeheartedly and, of course, timely. Ensure their excitement levels towards your products and services are as much as yours! 

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