4 Ways to Motivate Your Channel Partners
Motivating others to do something is not easy. Just ask any high school teacher or gym trainer. People, for better or worse, will do what they want, when they want. It takes a certain type of message, presented in a certain type of manner, to entice the interest of someone enough that they change their behavior. If that’s true, then how can a vendor motivate their channel partners to increase productivity and ROI that ultimately result in a successful channel partnership?
In the channel industry, where B2B corporations depend on the actions of their channel partners to gauge sales, motivation is particularly important. Unfortunately, vendors struggle to motivate, let alone communicate, with their respective distributors/resellers via the indirect sales funnel.
Which is understandable.
Today’s marketplace is a busy and competitive environment. A capitalistic society built around one commonality: money.
The modern business executive is fixated on how to increase the value of their brand, and your product can help them achieve that. However, establishing a successful channel partnership that goes beyond purchasing is complicated. If you intend to motivate distributors/resellers, you’re going to have to rely on something other than emails, phone calls and Skype for a successful channel partnership.
4 ways to motivate indirect sales partnerships that result in a successful channel partnership
1.) Eliminate Channel Conflict
After surveying the market ecosystem (for what feels like an entirety), you finally have a prospect in place. The deal is a vendor’s dream scenario: great margins, industry influence, and long-lasting channel partner potential.
But there’s a problem.
A channel partner has similar intentions with the same reseller. And if (or when) they find out about your current lead nurturing endeavor, you not only risk their motivation to sell your product, you also risk losing them as a channel partner altogether. Whether it’s adjusting your pricing structure, designating specific sales territories, implementing a deal registration system or avoid direct sales completely—you must make absolute certain channel conflict doesn’t get in the way of a healthy B2B partnership.
2.) Product Training 101
Live demos, responsiveness to emails/questions and presenting competitive data sheets are not enough. Channel partners must undergo the same training of your product as your in-house direct sales team.
In fact, channel partners will most likely need additional training (e.g., product functionality updates, lifespan, a target demographic, marketing content positioning, etc.), as your product is most likely not the only item they are selling.
3.) Competent Channel Manager
Assigning a low-level employee to manage a channel account is a drastic error in B2B relations. A channel manager represents the ‘medium of communication between vendor and distributor/reseller.
Not only should a vendor’s channel manager be experienced and well-versed in multiple marketplaces, they should also be patient, sociable, reliable and exhibit sound judgment before being assigned to manage an account.
4.) Invest Dollars into their Marketing
As a vendor, no one knows more about your product than you. Whether it’s sharing co-branded content with resellers or end-customers, providing promotional allowances to help current marketing efforts (i.e., market development funds), or awarding promotional allowances based on distributor/reseller sales performance (i.e., Co-op funds)—incentivize your channel with unique rewards other vendors might not.
Leverage the Power of Automation to Help Motivate your Channel Partners
Computer Market Research (CMR) brings over 30 years of experience to the indirect channel sales industry.
Through our state-of-the-art automated software, businesses can:
- amplify their B2B marketing efforts
- optimize trade promotions
- customize unique program guidelines
- build effective distribution channels
- establish transparent and objective BB communication
- strengthen their bond with channel partners