As a channel director, you want to improve the customer experience and make sure you and your channel partners hit the numbers on your product or services. You oversee the big picture. But what about the nuts and bolts of closing a deal ‘on the ground?’ It can be difficult to spot the more subtle hurdles in the buying process. Yet these might lower your Net Promoter Score, cause you to lose sales, and stop you from achieving your targets. What are the four most common pitfalls, and how can you avoid them?
1. Get a handle on co-op
Too many companies use their co-op as a general fund for helping partners cover costs of things that do not move the needle on attaining their goals or achieving transformation. Co-op should be an element of a goal-focused, business-aligned partner program. If you manage it separately with limited modern-day guidance, you won’t know how much is spent, and you’ll lose out on an opportunity to gain competitive advantage.
You should actively manage, guide, and support transformation with your channel partners by having a partner program that has all the elements required to help your partners reach your mutual objectives. It may include sales readiness, training, incentives, demand generation, and additional resources. The incentives and co-op should be used to pull the right triggers so as to make sure the right activities are performed and there’s measurable accountability.
2. Fix the fundamentals
Every year, companies spend millions on demand generation. But if the buying process isn’t optimized at a fundamental level, you run the risk of driving demand to the company while being unable to catch it. For example, customers fill out a web contact form that isn’t working. Or, you’re not getting proposals out the door in a timely manner, which means you’re spending money on sales and marketing only to lose it and fail to close the deal. If you check and fix these things first, your ROI will be much higher.
3. Build ecosystems
Few channel partners have the skills required to master every conceivable use case. To increase the total addressable market for your offerings, you can encourage partners to leverage their complementary expertise. Currently, you probably provide sales readiness and marketing support to partners using internal and external resources. Now, it’s time to move beyond outsourced marketing support and towards the creation of a Resource Knowledge Center where partners can access SMEs, profiling, and solution map building support, among other things.
4. Set up a feedback system
While creating programs and tools for channel partners is a common practice among IT vendors, it’s wasted time and money if they don’t need these programs. What you should do is set up a feedback system to bring channel partners in early and often.
Want to stop missing out on sales opportunities? Don’t hesitate to contact us. Let’s discuss how we can help your company step up its customer experience game.