If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that launching an indirect channel sales program is a significant undertaking requiring a major investment of time and budget. How do you make sure you’re maximizing your chances this investment pays off?
One key to success is always fine-tuning your channel program to make it more efficient and simpler to work with for your internal sales team and partners. Efficiency and simplification leads not only to improved efficiency and productivity for partners and staff, it makes partners really want to sell your product.
1. Make sure your system ties together
Sales managers and channel managers should all have access to and work from the same information. Having a single source of truth helps prevent time draining discrepancies and reconciliations. Your partners should have access to all of that same information as well (as appropriate to their relationship with your company).
Having a centralized system also helps avoid the inefficiencies (and black eyes) that come when two different sales people approach the same target.
2. Automate communication about market development funds (MDF) from request up to reimbursement
That centralized system should also allow you to automate MDF communication. Nothing de-motivates partners like an MDF black hole. A system that ties into your PRM software and notifies partners at appropriate milestones where their reimbursement stands helps everyone work together more smoothly and jointly realize more success.
Unfortunately, for almost any industry, most MDF in the channel go unused, with negative repercussions on the overall channel sales program. When vendors aren’t utilizing those funds, it usually means they’re not talking much about your product.
3. Integrate with Salesforce, Sugar, Microsoft Dynamics, Zoho, or other CRMs
PRM software, of course, is key in creating a system that connects all lines of your business intelligence, and when you integrate your partner relationship management solutions with a CRM tool like Salesforce.com, the efficiency benefits accrue exponentially.
Merging PRM with a CRM system allows you to manage customers and partners from one place, providing visibility into the entire pipeline for both your direct and indirect sales channels. Channeltivity is already integrated with major CRMs and can easily connect your into yours, offering single sign on functionality for a single view into all of your account activity.