What about you? Are you generating additional revenue from your partners? Do you find your efforts paying off as expected?
You see, without a clear plan, you can easily fall into the 36.5% that are not generating the revenue they desire. So, what’s the way out?
The companies that have found success follow the 7 channel sales hacks we’ll show you in this article. We will show you how you can improve your sales efficiency, build a better brand identity, become the favored product/service, and grow your sales.
7 Tips to Help You Grow Your Channel Sales
1. Define the structure of your channel sales partnership
Channel sales can take 3 major structures:
- Sell through the channel partner — for instance, a fitness equipment store selling different brands of treadmills can sell your treadmill
- Sell with your channel partner — when you package your services/products together, like a graphic designer partnering with a printer
- Channel partner selling for you — like when an agency white-labels your software and adds their services to it
Define this structure from the start and set the tone and strategies for the partnership.
Do you want to sell through an existing channel partner that offers multiple products, in some cases even your competitors’ products? Do you want to sell with and collaborate on deals? Or do you want them to do all the selling for you in a Whitelabel or limited sales capacity?
You see, this sets the tone for how you structure your channel partner program. Being clear with this from the start will help drive key decisions on how you go to market with partners.
We have seen that companies that are not clear often wonder why they are not getting results from their efforts.
When you are not clear, you won’t also know what type of support to offer partners and how to set up your program.
2. Create a compelling offer
No matter how you are selling, you must have a compelling offer that your partners can bring to the market. You see, without an offer, a sale is limited, cannot be made, or becomes more difficult.
The offer to your partners needs to be compelling, but more importantly, the offer for the end customer must be irresistible. They have to say, "I am dumb not to do this”.
They must see so much pleasure and removal of pain that purchasing your product through your partner and from your brand is a no-brainer. Get this right, and your sales will grow!
What are you offering? And is your offering important to your resellers, distributors, and other partners? Also, what are you expecting in return?
Hash this out from the get-go and make provisions for flexibility in case anything changes in your industry or channel.
3. Provide channel sales enablement
You’ll get more channel sales if your partners have the resources and tools to effectively (and painlessly) tell your story and connect buyer pains to your product solution. It is your responsibility to provide these enablement resources.
Without them, sales are not possible.
If the process of selling your product is too difficult and partners can't connect the clients’ problems to your products, sales will decline, and your competitors will take the bulk of the market share.
To justify their profits, would partners choose your offer over your competitor’s? If you are not enabling them with prospecting tools, leads, marketing tools, sales intent data, lead intelligence, partnering with you wouldn’t look promising and attractive.
4. Run a channel partner incentives program
Even if you provide all resources partners need to make sales, you still have to provide motivation for them to actually use those resources. That’s supercharging your channel sales efforts.
If you want partners to promote your campaigns and pursue sales goals with enthusiasm, provide incentives that excite them. There are various incentive types you can leverage for this purpose. Choose what inspires top-performance in your partners.
But that’s not all… Remember only 20% of your partners drive 80% of your revenue. So, go to those top 20% of your partners and customize incentive plans that move the needle.
You don’t want to create a disconnect with your partners by making decisions behind a closed door. Get to know your partners and what excites them and use that to drive channel sales.
5. Increase mindshare of your product/service
Mindshare is the limited resource (such as time and energy) a partner dedicates to selling. The brands a channel partner represents each take up a share of these limited resources. To increase your channel sales, the goal should be to take a bigger slice of the mindshare.
But how do we gain more mindshare? Make our product stand out from other competing services/products that they may offer. We want to be fully connected with them, so how do we do it?
Once you have the incentives and sales enablement tools locked up, the next step is to ensure that you have a connection cadence and a personal relationship to help your channel partners reach their revenue goals. Of course, these are goals that ultimately align with your business goals.
You must become their friend, ally, and supporter that provides strategic direction, coaching and helps them remove obstacles to reach their goals while helping you reach yours. More sales, more market share.
6. Set sales expectations
Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Concise and definite sales expectations, along with the KPIs to measure them, are essential to channel sales success.
Whether you’re targeting a specific close rate or account growth percentage, create that clear understanding so your channel partners can work in tandem.
The common mistake that channel managers make is that they set goals but forget them. They forget to enforce them and connect those business goals to the clients’ personal goals.
In order to effectively win the game, we must not only set the goals, but we must set the checkpoints and constantly support our partners through motivation, resources, and incentives to hit the mark.
7. Use a channel partnership management platform
When you’re scaling your channel program and taking in more partners, it can be challenging to keep partner data organized for management. That’s why there are partner relationship management tools to help you track partners’ performance and better position your strategy for sales acceleration.
The channel partner platform has webinars, training materials, announcements, sales contest dashboards to help motivate your partners. But don't forget to bring your partners to use this portal.
In order to do this, you must constantly keep the lines of communication open.
How are your partners supposed to keep your brand top of mind, learn about product updates and other important announcements if you’re not keeping in touch with them? Also, how will you understand and respond quickly to their needs and maintain a successful channel program if you’re not listening to them?
Ensure you always keep the communication channels open in both directions.
Do this with emails, online membership communities on Facebook or other social networks, webinars, etc. Anything to let them hear you and you hear from them.
Also, your channel managers should point your channel partners to key resources on the portal. Leverage social tools inside your portal to keep conversations going and constantly drive traffic to it.
When your focus is on building stronger relationships with partners, providing the resources they need, incentivizing them to meet predetermined goals, among others you will kick-start channel sales acceleration.
Now, you won’t be part of the 36.5% of brands that have an indirect sales channel but are not getting a good return on their efforts. To chat about these possibilities, schedule a consultation or leave your ideas in the comments below.