There are many benefits to using resellers, but only when they perform. Here are the most common reasons your channel partnerships aren't up to scratch.
Channel partners come with many benefits. They already have established ties to markets you're looking to target, they can sell add-ons in addition to your core product, and they can increase profits significantly.
However, you can only realise these benefits if your resellers are performing. All too often, we hear vendors complain that their channel partnerships aren't bringing in the income they expected to receive. Here are some of the most common reasons why resellers don't perform, as well as how you can fix the issue through a channel partner incentive programme.
1) It's a poor partner fit
Doing your research before signing contracts can save you a lot of time and effort further down the track.
Before agreeing to any channel partner arrangement, you must do your research to ensure the reseller will be the right fit. Take a look at their regular customer base - is this the market you want to be tapping into, or are their customers unlikely to ever need your product?
Likewise, consider the partner's selling techniques. If your products work best with a soft sell, but the channel partner works mainly with a hard sell tactic, it's unlikely they'll ever be able to shift your products in significant volumes.
Doing your research before signing any contracts can save you a lot of time and effort further down the track.
2) You're thinking of them as employees, not partners
A channel partner relationship is different to employing direct sales people. The clue's in the name - this is a partnership, and you must treat it as such. Don't just go out looking to squeeze your resellers for as much profit as possible, and don't be too domineering with telling them how they should work. Your resellers should always have a degree of independence - after all, you're working with them because they already have expertise in a particular area, so it's important you let them work their magic.
3) There's not enough training
Ensure you've got good lines of communication set up for when your resellers have queries.
Having said that, you also need to ensure you're equipping resellers with the tools they need to do their job. This means ensuring you give them as much training as they require to be able to sell your products effectively. Offer regular demonstrations, take them through the product literature and price plans, and show them which sales techniques work best for you. They can then make their own decisions about how to sell your products moving forward. Likewise, ensure you've got good lines of communication set up for when your resellers have queries.
4) You're not monitoring performance
Think about all your direct sales people. You've probably given them heaps of KPIs and other ways of monitoring whether they're hitting their targets and generating revenue. It should be exactly the same for your channel partners. Be sure to set up a system whereby you can measure their performance. This will enable you to identify any issues early on, and provide extra training or other help to make sure your reseller can hit their targets moving forward.
Channel partner incentive programmes with Power2Motivate
One proven way to improve channel partner performance is by introducing an incentive programme, which will allow you to reward your resellers for positive behaviour. This can be a mix of sales KPIs as well as additional activities such as completing a certain number of training sessions or demos.
Introducing a rewards programme will also help you to effectively measure performance, as you'll be directly linking rewards to certain KPIs and behaviours.
Want to improve your channel partner performance? Contact the Power2Motivate team today for more information about setting up a channel partner incentive programme.