3 Key Areas in Channel Management that Need Data Collection
The shift from traditional industry into the digital enterprise has coerced the channel sales data collection and management to endure significant change. In the channel, where channel sales data collection and analytics define just about all business decisions, the birth of information processing serves a profound purpose. And yet, even with the most intelligent software at their disposal, channel managers fail to properly store and manage channel sales data. As a result, such practices often lead to unsatisfied partnerships, IP security break-ins, software failure, misplaced SKU analytics, failure to meet compliance requirements, inventory revision miscues, etc.
The channel is a multi-faceted industry with logistical complexities and a constant stream of moving metrics. Not to mention the plethora of IT resources companies employ to manage channel sales data (e.g., Excel spreadsheets, storage areas, applications, data centers, etc.). So, the risk of data mismanagement or loss of channel sales data is highly vulnerable.
Therefore, channel sales data collection and the process by which companies collect data should streamline harmony between sales and engineering.
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.
The Steps in Collecting Data
Online communication is vital to the process of collecting channel sales data.
The first step in collecting channel sales data is for the manufacturer to clarify its 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 sales data management collection and reporting.
Challenges may include:
- proper recognition of revenue through the channel
- proper cleaning of the data
- managing leads
- precise sales compensation
Once the challenges and goals have been identified, the channel manager and the reporting partners must enter into an agreement that specifies the channel sales data requirements. The requirements should provide 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 MDF improve reporting performance.
The reporting process must be simple. Ease the channel sales data collection process by allowing multiple user-friendly methods of receiving the files. Therefore, 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 sales data.
Finally, the last step in collecting channel sales data is to generate reports based on the cleaned and processed data. The report can be used to share valuable information with the reporting partners. Information regarding strong leads and product success can assist the partners in targeting future sales opportunities.
Collected Channel Sales Data Should Be Used in 3 Key Areas:
1.) Exposure to the Indirect Sales Funnel
The advantage of complete visibility into the different stages of channel sales is understanding which partners produce the best opportunity and ROI. Therefore, tracking accurate reporting on volume, leads, the velocity of sale, and conversion, provide essential analytics to identify roadblocks.
2.) Target the Right Customer
Proper channel sales data collection and management help to realize the end customer. This helps to segment marketing strategies based on demographics; in other words, manufacturers and vendors can use POS reporting to support their go-to-market strategy.
3.) Evaluate Channel Performance
Real-time metrics provide clarity into which channel incentive programs are most effective. However, each partnership is unique, which means incentivizing partners via financial rewards to motivate performance is subjective. For example, a market development fund (MDF) may be useful for clients that lack the promotional budget to accelerate product awareness.
However, incentivizing the same client via deal registration may be a secondary concern, or even excluded from partner eligibility. Ultimately, channel sales data should provide valuable insight into the specific actions that best contribute to the success of each channel partner.
How can Computer Market Research Help Manufacturers?
Computer Market Research (CMR) brings over 30 years of experience into the indirect channel sales. Through our state-of-the-art automated software, businesses can amplify their B2B marketing efforts via a clear and concise platform that assists organizations to manage channel sales data, optimize trade promotions, and build effective distribution channels.
CMR can help businesses maximize their relationship with distributing partners. Our mission is to help businesses establish a transparent, two-way communication. Our cost-effective SaaS application is the perfect tool for any business looking to strengthen their bond with channel partners.