Using Manual Processes to Normalize Channel Data Leads to Financial Complications and Lost Opportunities.
In order to facilitate sustainable growth, channel-driven producers need detailed visibility into the performance of products and partners via an automated channel data management platform. Data provides vendors and their channel partners the imperative guidance they need for decision making. The adoption of big data has given vendors deeper insight versus traditional processes of channel data management (e.g., emails, in-house auditing, EDI, phone calls, etc.). Ultimately, vendors are able to make more informed, strategically balanced decisions. Thanks to today’s channel data management software providers, a partnership has become more intuitive.
Providing and maintaining a robust web-based channel data management platform requires more than just resources, but dedication.
The best solution for effective channel data management is via an automated, centralized platform that efficiently correlates the sales channel with inventory and production processes.
4 Things your Channel Partners Look for in Channel Data Management (CDM) Platform:
Depending on the scope/size of your channel partner’s consumer base, it’s imperative that your CDM platform provides the ability to easily and efficiency import contacts from other third-party CRM cloud-based software providers (e.g., Salesforce) to their respective distributors, resellers, retailers and end customers. This essential feature keeps your channel partners from scrabbling back and forth from CRM to PRM servers.
In today’s go-go culture, having easy access to monitor and modify the channel data via a CDM platform is crucial. Mobile compliance in PRM is what accelerates business development and helps not to stagnate issues while channel managers must wait to fix and/or communicate problems until (or when) they reach their desktop monitors.
What good is a CDM platform without accurate and intuitive capabilities to save your channel partner’s time on managerial duties? Analytical evaluation of claim management, marketing/sales programs, and other inventory data management tasks has to be consistent and be able to notify/alert pending or current issues that may cause partner-tribulations and/or setbacks. Settling for a CDM platform that lacks precise analytical validation not only discredits your obligation as a channel partner but, also tarnishes the potential to accelerate your channel partner’s ability to retain success.
Flexible Data Conversion
Within the business structure of your channel partner lies many moving parts—engulfed with a hierarchy of in-house personnel, end-customers, consultants, lawyers, and investors. With that said, it’s incredibly vital that your CRM system maintains the ability to convert data to third-party files and/or documents that go beyond your partner portal platform (e.g., Excel spreadsheets, RosettaNet, EDI, and flat files).
3 Important Areas in which Automated Channel Data Management Platforms Help Improve Bottom Line:
1.) Automated channel data management platforms provide inventory-level accuracy that leads to money well-spent
Estimation of channel and inventory data is a flawed, and potentially dangerous mechanism for production scheduling and meeting customer demand.
Because it’s common for manufacturers to rely on approximating inventory levels months in advance, they cannot guarantee their partners supply will be available.
When partners don’t have confidence in suppliers’ ability to satisfy customer requests, they tend to look elsewhere.
To counter this occurrence, manufacturers frequently overproduce, which costs thousands and millions of dollars to be lost due to stale inventory and price protection reimbursements.
When manufacturers have real-time insight into the performance of specific products, they can safeguard availability to partners more consistently.
Access to this data improves production scheduling, as manufacturers don’t have to “cushion” their supply levels in fear of stockouts.
As a result, companies can allocate resources into ‘more pressing’ areas of business thanks to added funds and manpower available.
2.) Automated channel data management platforms reduce the potential for lost revenue and opportunities
Manufacturers are required to make critical business decisions regarding output forecasting.
However, the flow of incomplete and inaccurate channel data constitutes a catalog of financial losses and missed opportunities.
As with all manual processes, there are inevitable breakdowns and/or missing elements in crucial areas that directly impact the financial status of your company.
These complications affect are:
- Settling incentive disputes timely and accurately
- Time to close books
- Turnaround time on partner reimbursements
- Missed opportunities on potential ‘game-changing’ deals due to insufficient supply
- The integrity of channel partners to submit accurate claims
- Inaccurate validation of reimbursement claims, which lead to erroneously credited reimbursements
- False channel data leads to over/underproduction of supply
- Partner satisfaction and mindshare due to the complexity of doing business with a supplier
Managing disparate channel partner data feeds on Excel spreadsheets and other manual processes put a company in a vulnerable position.
With a centralized platform for analyzing channel data, companies are more adaptable to changing market conditions while maintaining partners’ confidence.
3.) They improve pipeline visibility which provides a clearer understanding of the marketplace
Incomplete channel and inventory data fail to provide the information needed to make sound business decisions. For instance, only detailing the number of units sold over a specific timeframe are examples of incomplete data.
For example, intelligent channel data collection that provides real-time insight into:
- The speed at which certain products are being sold
- The products that are being sold and to whom
- Why they are being purchased
- What price end-customers are willing to pay for specific products
A comprehensive understanding of these areas allows channel producers to better predict/prepare changes in the market. This information allows channel producers to discover which products to focus more on or improve.
Ultimately, in today’s convoluted and competitive channel, manufacturers need data that are accurate, timely, comprehensive, normalized and centralized.
How Can you Maximize Opportunities with Web-Based Channel Data Management Platforms
Well, if there is one thing you shouldn’t do, it’s building your own channel data management/partner portal.
Perhaps now you’re thinking to yourself “hey, I’m an IT expert with an extensive background in partner portal-building” or “my marketing team is well-versed in web-based solutions and program management.”
It still doesn’t matter.
Business operations require around-the-clock dedication to maximizing revenue. When you (or someone in-house) has to constantly update, build and adjust portal-infrastructure, priorities lose focus, and you do a disservice to your channel partner.
Unfortunately, many companies today rely too heavily on sales, marketing, and IT departments to manage the portal process. Such companies allocate a surplus of unnecessary resources when a SaaS (Software as a Service) system can effortlessly avoid these problems.
4 Reasons Why Employing a SaaS Provider into your Business Is Essential
1.) Time is money, and money is being wasted…
Did you know the average time it takes for companies to build their own portal is approximately one year? In business-years, that’s an eternity.
Software as a service provider allows you to maximize business-efficiency because they have the tools (on-hand) to give your customers the best user experience possible. If you’re finding it difficult to integrate a portal system that helps excel business operations, it may be time to re-evaluate what your customers see.
The problem(s) might be more trivial than you think, and portal providers are trained specifically to identify these problems, no matter how ambiguous or obvious they appear.
2.) Inability to adjust to the tech advancements and improvements
Right now, even web-based channel data management solutions are changing. Customer interest and demand force tech experts to constantly modify solutions on a dime’s notice.
When you’re managing your own partner portal, you don’t have the resources to keep up with the ever-evolving culture of technology. But when you align yourself with a third-party expert in data management solutions, you alleviate the pressure that comes with constantly monitoring “what’s happening,” allowing you to focus on what’s important: your company.
3.) Start-up infrastructure costs
As your business grows, so do your partners. And the more partners you have, the more you will need to customize portal programs, which not only costs you time but money as well. Designing exclusive data management solutions to specific clients is imperative to your channel relationship. But when you establish a portal infrastructure that is singular to all your customers, you can expect your partners to notice—and probably lose interest.
4.) Less about web-development, more about business opportunities
Building a savvy PRM system means more than just making it look pretty. Sure, structuring an aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly experience for channel partners is a top priority. However, there is something even more valuable, and that’s an opportunity.
When you deploy a SaaS portal for your business, you have a much higher opportunity for customer engagement. Exclusivity, cohesion, information, organization, availability, accuracy and communication are all different ways of engaging with your customers. A SaaS provider doesn’t just make your partners’ job easier, it makes yours as well.
And happy people make for better opportunities.
Founded in 1984, Computer Market Research™ (CMR) delivers cost-effective, web-based channel data management applications and services to manufacturers. Our client/server and web-based solutions accelerate and automate distributor and reseller data collection, processing, analysis, and reporting. Our state of the art software will help you increase partner performance.
Robust and automated channel data management solution providers, such as Computer Market Research, empower companies to make better decisions, save time, capitalize on opportunities, win more deals and establish strong, strategic and long-lasting relationships with channel partners.