How to Help Channel Partners Convert an Opportunity into a Deal!
Vendors all face a similar conundrum when utilizing the channel—and that is—how to help channel partners convert opportunities into deals?
If you’re thinking to yourself “Well, yeah, that’s kind of the whole point of channel sales,” you’re right—it’s a rhetorical problem.
But as a vendor, you must determine if everything in your power was done to ensure the success of your channel partner. Remember, it’s your product, you’re at the top of the channel food chain, you’re the expert, the consultant, the strategist, the communicator—and so it is you that must inherently believe “I did everything I could” to help my channel partners move units and stimulate a consistent cash flow.
To help present a tangible perspective of what a robust channel marketing strategy should entail of here is a basic viewpoint of what to include:
Some vendors make the naïve blunder of recruiting partners without conducting research or prior evaluation into value proposition, track record, clientele, geographic location, referrals, market segment, go-to-market strategy, annual average growth, etc.
Remember, in order for your indirect channel sales strategy to flourish, your channel partner must be competent to sell at the other end. Thinking your “job” is done once your product is in the hands of your channel partners is foolish—and all too common—b2b error.
A Warm Welcome
Channel partners, like all humans, are emotional beings. Vendors that lack to give empathy or fail to provide a friendly on-site welcome to your organization are likely to devalue the relationship they’ve established with you.
The channel industry can feel like a cold and intimidating place, so, why add more fuel to the fire? Establish a warm and personable first impression, because the more they value you as a person, the more they will value your product.
Benjamin Franklin’s historical words of financial wisdom— “Time is money”—seems to have been inadvertently adopted by many of today’s deal closers for all the wrong reason. Instead of trying to develop fruitful, longer-term clients, channel partners seem complacent at targeting the stranglers of the b2b landscape for quick, stress-free revenue.
But with a robust lead nurturing strategy in place, vendors and manufacturers can counter this flawed corporate attitude and help partners cultivate relationships through mindful, constructive communication that cultivate highly profitable and long-term b2b relationships. It might just take longer to get there.
Here are 3 lead nurturing strategies you can deploy into your channel marketing infrastructure that will help partners endure a cost-effective and profitable skill set:
1.) Acknowledge lead’s pain points:
At the end of the day, consumers in all phases of the b2b buying process want something that will help eradicate their problems. Simply pitching your product and stating its value without being cognitive about what your consumer might be looking for is a surefire tactic to never see a profit.
2.) Determine internal specifics:
Each lead should be comprehensively evaluated and researched to the fullest extent or capability of partner’s (and vendor’s) resources. Information such as: company net worth, number of in-house employees, geography, market segmentation, vertical market, annual growth, short and long-term goals, etc. The more tangible data you obtain, the better your partner will be able to deploy what and how much resources as well as the amount of manpower needed to successfully close an opportunity.
3.) Assess lead readiness:
Using a BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe) benchmark scale to measure the likelihood of lead conversion is imperative for a successful lead nurturing campaign. For example, there may be a distinct date in which the lead would be “market-ready” to participate in a b2b rapport. Understanding these four key concepts of a lead’s buying-profile is essential in knowing when to implement strategies that are relevant and offer the most opportunity for lead interest, and thus, conversion.