Any channel organization that has an indirect route to market, and its products go to a vendor or distributor to sell, a motivated partner that prioritizes the sale of the company’s products over its competition is vital. However, channel sales can be a highly competitive environment, with lots of businesses all vying for the same level of attention and mindshare from sales teams. So, what can today’s smart enterprises do to ensure that their particular channel is motivated?
The Benefits of a Motivated Sales Channel
A motivated channel distributor can be a huge boost to sales and revenue. Forging a mutually beneficial relationship with distributors is a great way to start. Providing essential support to suppliers, which includes the right training and tools to become more adept at selling your products, can provide benefits to both organizations in terms of sales effectiveness.
The right channel incentive program can help improve behavior within a sales team and help your partners deliver a better sales performance. Although, you won’t be the only business trying to get the attention of sales teams, especially in environments where your channel partners have access to a range of products from different suppliers. Driving performance through strategic incentive programs is a key tactic to maintain the attention of sales teams and help them to deliver the results you and your partners need.
A truly motivated channel can deliver a range of benefits to a business, including:
- Improved product knowledge
- Improved sales confidence
- Better and more sales
- Better attach rates
Reaching this type of mutually beneficial engagement with a channel partner takes time, effort and investment. Aligning on goals and effectively motivating your sales partners, requires you to overcome a series of challenges.
4 Ways to Boost Channel Sales Performance
Improving your channel sales results often requires you to adapt to, and overcome, a few business relationship hurdles:
1. The Battle for Mindshare
Other businesses might use the same channels and vendors as you. They may even offer similar products and compete within the same spaces. One of the largest challenges to overcome is ensuring that your products and services stand out from the crowd. That means that sales teams and partner organizations must have your brand and your product top-of-mind when dealing with potential customers.
Your vendors need to be motivated to sell your product, but also be knowledgeable and confident enough to focus on your brand as a first choice when dealing with their clients.
2. Competition and Saturation
You might be running an incentive program to drive engagement with your brand and boost sales, but your competitors might be doing the exact same thing. Much like with the battle for mindshare, you need to ensure that your incentive strategies stands out. The best way for it to do so is with the right rewards.
Offer prizes that engage sales teams and provide value to the overall business. This will encourage the sales channel to shift towards your incentive over the competition. These could be in the form of instant rewards that keep sales teams constantly engaged with your brand, or a points-banking scheme that enables individuals to ‘save’ for goal items. Longer-term campaigns could result in a major prize such as a team trip or event.
According to our latest The Channel Pulse™ Report), results showed that for some B2B and B2C businesses, cash rewards and gift cards are still top forms of payment for rewarding their channel partners.
The key is to make sure that your reward is something desirable, and especially more attractive than the rewards being offered by other brands in your sector.
3. Planning and Execution
Your channel incentive should be a collaboration. Put your partners first and run your incentive with the purpose of training and coaching channel sales teams’ in order to provide the boost to performance you need. These incentives should be well thought out, taking a data-centric approach to maximize engagement and encourage the best performance of your sales teams.
4. Fast Results
In a saturated market, it is vital that you’re nimble and are able to launch your incentive program quickly and effectively. The ability to execute quickly and seamlessly can ensure that you get a head start over competitors. It also means you can respond to a need by providing extra motivation to channel teams without delay, especially if the product sales window is short. By deploying the right incentive at the right moment, your sales teams can be reenergized and motivated to steer sales in the right direction.
How We Can Help You to Motivate Your Channel Partners
Understanding the full breadth of challenges and opportunities to create a lasting and beneficial relationship with your channel can help you launch incentives that maximize the potential of your resellers and distributors.
We can help businesses to reach their true sales potential using our world leading platform for channel incentives, The Channel Success PlatformTM.
By Dan Kelly, Enterprise Sales Director