Driving Channel Management Process Success

Channel Management Process

The Channel Management Process Race

In auto racing, drivers receive instruction and direction from their pit crew chief, who provides expertise to help the driver move to the front of the pack. Think of your channel partners as drivers of recurring revenue and you, the OEM, executing a disciplined plan to navigate the path to success. Without a plan and a channel management process in place, some common pitfalls become apparent:

  • Reactive or no partner engagement: When managing renewals, OEMs often interact reactively, causing channel partner dissatisfaction and poor renewals performance.
  • Lack of policy implementation or enforcement: OEMs overlook channel policies such as entitlement and incumbency. When OEMs do not hold partners accountable for renewing a contract on time, performance drops and renewal rates suffer. On the other hand, partners aren’t loyal to OEMs who don’t reward them for originally selling the product or service.
  • Inconsistent communications: OEMs lack consistent communication with their partners, which results in time spent inefficiently conversing with the partner. Without management of how the renewal is progressing, OEMs discuss portions of the renewal that are irrelevant or have previously been covered.

Navigate the Track: Channel Management Processes

Having a race plan triggers opportunities to move up the leaderboard. The approaches you take to “navigate the track” are like channel management processes — the routines that sales, enablement, and data teams follow on a daily basis — erasing the room for error and allowing your partners to approach success consistently. With disciplined processes to build quotes, enforce policies and manage channel partners, you’ll be able to solve issues in standardized form, improve partner performance and drive competition through your channel.

In a recent blog, I shared a matrix of channel partner management maturity stages: Opportunistic, Optimized and Strategic. How do you stack up when it comes to channel partner engagement, policy enforcement and channel management?

channel management - opportunistic optimized strategic

Better Relationships Drive Higher Performance

When managing channel partners, OEMs should always make sure channel partners are satisfied and their business needs are being met. By leveraging the following best practices, you can increase customer satisfaction, leading to higher retention and renewal rates:

  • Reach out to partners proactively.
  • Set renewal targets and enforce policies.
  • Establish consistent sales collaboration throughout the renewals cycle.

Being proactive by reaching out to the channel partners and discussing details of renewals is a vital process in channel distribution. Equally important is the enforcement of policies such as discounting and incentives. Consistency in the way OEMs enforce these policies sets a standard that channel partners must abide by in order to avoid contract penalties.

Managing channel partners effectively is no easy task, but it’s as simple as reaching out to them and notifying them of contract expirations or additional ways to generate revenue. OEM’s selling teams should suggest alternative ways to generate revenue such as upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Learn how to move up the leaderboard with best-in-class channel management processes and check out my previous blogs in my Channel Management Success Drivers series, “Strategies for Motivating Channel Renewals” and “Get to Know Your Channel.”