San Diego, California – April 14, 2004 – Accurate, complete and timely information arriving from the channel regarding all aspects of the moment that the sale was made, provides the manufacturer with crucial information about who, when, why, where and how the products were purchased. When an optimized practice for collecting data has been implemented correctly, business intelligence is generated for channel enhancement.
Online communication is vital to the process of gathering channel data. The first step in the gathering process is for the manufacturer to clarify their in-house goals for the information. The financial, sales, information technology and marketing departments must address current challenges that will be alleviated with proper channel data management collection and reporting. Challenges may include proper recognition of revenue through the channel, proper cleaning of the data, managing leads and precise sales compensations, among others.
Once the challenges and goals have been identified, the channel manager and the reporting partners must enter into an agreement that specifies the collection requirements. Avoid simple agreements to “collect the data in a timely manner,” by providing concise specifications as to what day and time the monthly or weekly POS files are due. The agreement must detail the repercussions of receiving a late file. Also, tracking reporting compliance and rewarding those who are continually prompt reporting partners, in the form of Co-ops and MDFs improves reporting performance.
The reporting process must be simple. Ease the gathering process by allowing multiple user-friendly methods of receiving the files. If reporting partners require different methods of reporting and/or different file formats, be flexible. For example, be able to receive files through a secure website, as an email attachment, or any other collection method. Some partners may send Excel spreadsheets while others will provide text files. Be prepared to standardize all of the collected data. The final step is to generate reports based on the cleaned and processed data that can be used to share the value of the insightful information with the reporting partners. Information regarding strong leads and product success can assist the partners in targeting future sales opportunities, which benefits all parties involved.