It’s not news that most B2B buyers are doing their due diligence almost entirely online, long before any sales person enters the picture. As an unfortunate bit of fallout from this change, Gartner research shows how far sales has fallen in buyers’ eyes as a result. In Gartner’s survey, tech buyers rank sales at the bottom of the list of “the most influential personal interactions across the entire buying cycle.” Sales ranks last behind technical and industry expert, service and support, and senior executive.
The ramifications of accommodating this change are also being felt by your channel partners. As an extension of your sales organization, they need different resources to be successful now, when the traditional “push” sales model is losing traction. Prospects have educated themselves significantly by the time a salesperson even contacts them – and unfortunately at that point it’s basically just to verify what buyers think they’ve learned.
And we’re also living in the brave new world of trying before you buy, of freemium models and the like. If you want to empower your channel partners to sign up customers and be competitive, you can’t pass them an antiquated model and expect them to do the sales psychology dance like it’s 1995.
Since clients are coming in 80 percent educated, your partners need to be able – at a minimum – to provide access to content and materials on their site, even if those are only links. (In the Channeltivity partner relationship management system, vendors are able to share content via the library, which provides an open link to the public. They can give partners access to the link, which ensures content is always current and relevant.)
Vendors also need to support inbound lead generation. Once info valuable to buyers has been accessed on a partner’s site, marketing automation solutions help capture those buyers before they go too far down the sales path with a competitor.
Buyers tend to want to educate themselves on your product or service via a source independent of your or your channel partner’s site. To help partners get found online, employing appropriate SEO and content syndication efforts helps capture buyers hovering around the top if the sales funnel. See for example, purechannelapps, which helps vendor companies distribute information beyond their website.
Bottom line is you can’t expect partners to go out and be successful in the world with your product when they’re dealing with the same sort of buying behaviors that have changed for the direct sales organization. Considering channel partner management solutions like Channeltivity can be the difference in their – and your – success.