Channel Management Success Drivers: Get to Know Your Channel
If you’re an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), channel partners play an invaluable role by extending global sales reach and providing access to new markets. Over 68% of North America technology companies’ revenue is sold through the channel (outside North America, it’s well in excess of 80%), so it’s a must for OEMs to take the wheel and steer the channel in the best way possible.
Start Your Engines: Plan for Channel Success
Unfortunately, many OEMs lose revenue because they struggle with the complexity of managing their channel businesses. On average, renewal rates are 12% lower in the channel versus direct sales.
How can you improve the way you manage your channel? Get started by understanding three typical channel complexities that can present business challenges:
- Data. Without knowing how a product or service performs, you may make inaccurate adjustments to improve processes and policies. Poor data quality blocks a holistic view into an OEM’s installed base and make customer-centric decisions difficult.
- Processes. Inconsistent and reactive communications to the channel makes partners unmotivated to perform and support the OEM at a high level.
- Analytics. A lack of analytics monitoring and reporting leaves OEMs blind as to how and why channel partners perform at status quo plus how/where they can improve.
The Pit Crew: Form Healthy Channel Relationships to Drive Success
Creating a successful channel program is like winning a car race. The process requires a dedicated team, meticulous planning, attention to detail and consistent follow-through. The team consists of the pit crew (you, the OEM) playing a vital role, and the driver (the channel partner) — all working together to win the race. What three tools can you use to ultimately drive more revenue?
- Renewal Ready Data: Fuel for Your Channel. Your race car can’t get very far without fuel. In much the same way, your channel can’t operate without accurate and timely customer data. It is essential for OEMs to equip channel partners with the right data to accurately approach customers when building opportunities and quotes.
- Improved Channel Processes: Navigating the Track. Having a disciplined race plan triggers opportunities to move up the leaderboard. This erases room for error and your driver can approach success consistently. Just like racing, having disciplined processes to build quotes, enforce policies and manage channel partners, you will be able to approach channel partners and solve issues in standardized form.
- Advanced Analytics: Your Performance Dashboard. Your race car gauges provide performance analytics, while you use superior headset technology to communicate with your driver real-time information, such as vehicle vitals and racing strategies. In business, you can monitor and strategically utilize real-time, in-depth analytics to form targeted sales plays and trigger opportunities.
Both high performance racing and effective channel management require consistent communication to build better relationships. More importantly, channel management best practices, like racing, require harmonious synchronization of data, process and technology to become a winner and effectively manage your channel business.
In future blog posts, we’ll talk more about identifying channel performance gaps, understanding your channel’s data capabilities, evaluating your processes as well as technology and analytics for monitoring your channel.
Want to learn more? Check out my previous blog, “Strategies for Motivating Channel Renewals.”