Lack of visibility into the channel is one of the most common contributors to a failed indirect sales initiative. There’s no way around it: you can’t manage in the dark, and you can’t build effective strategy on guesswork.
When management lacks easy access to channel data—visibility into partners’ profiles, recruitment pipeline and partner performance, geographic and vertical coverage—companies are more likely to find their indirect sales program is not returning sufficiently based on what’s been invested.
In order to truly drive indirect sales, channel managers need to know:
– Which products are selling via the channel in each target market?
– What partners are selling which products and in what industries?
– Do we need more partners in, for example, the Northeast to fully exploit market potential?
– Are our sales tracking growth in the industries we’re targeting?
– Are we taking full advantage of opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell?
– What are the strengths and weaknesses of my partners?
An effective PRM software dashboard is easy to access and provides the real-time data that allows answers to these questions. Without it, you don’t know your program is underperforming until it’s too late.
And what your partners don’t know can also create a drag on your channel sales. A key to increasing partner trust and loyalty is providing a partner dashboard that answers their questions as well. They want to know (and will be more motivated and effective if they know):
– When can I expect MDF reimbursement?
– What commissions have I earned since the beginning of the month?
– Has my prospect already been approached by vendor internal sales?
If they’re spending more than a few seconds tracking down this sort of basic info, it’s time they’re not out selling.
Companies that achieve sustainable growth in the channel have the data to manage their performance and re-tool strategy based on that data as needed.