Almost all of our customers use distribution channel partners to expand their market coverage, take care of the broad market, and provide fast reaction to customer demands. Almost all of them also have to struggle with getting their channel partners to aggressively drive their products into the market and get the mind share they need to succeed.
Often this is because there is a lack of trust between the supplier and the channel partner due to the history of the relationship, missed commitments, and the complexity of the relationship between the supplier and distributor. Things are always changing; the partners are involved in complex channel relationships and are continually evolving. As a supplier, you can continuously improve the relationship and get better results, but you need to be aware of what makes the channel relationship.
Based on our experience, we see three key ways you can improve your Channel Performance.
Build Trust – You have to trust your channel partner to drive your products into customer systems where they fit and do it aggressively and transparently, so you know what they are doing and how it is going. To get them to be open with you, there are a couple of things you need to do:
- It would help if you were open to them. You must train them, provide leads, give them information when they ask for it, and make sure you are helping and not just attacking them.
- You have to make sure that you never take their business information and use it through a direct salesperson or rep to take the business on another channel. This is extremely important because if they feel like you took their place away even accidentally, they will never be trusted partners again.
Automation – You have to make sure that your system is not overly cumbersome. You use all the automation tools to automatically take their information and import it into your business tracking software. You can not expect them to do unique things just for you, they have their system, and you need to take information from it and automate getting what you need with little human intervention. In today’s market, automation is critical, so make sure you always strive to minimize the amount of social interaction you need to get the information you need.
- Automation also is critical for validating the data, identifying and resolving errors, and quickly making decisions about design registrations, quotes, and pricing, so you are not the gating item in the sales process. It also allows you to align your channel processes and workflows with them to minimize bottlenecks and drive execution.
- Automation makes this possible nowadays, and the tools need to maximize the use of automation to make you easier to deal with than your competitors.
The first step in good partner management is visibility into information you need to find new market opportunities, avoid competitive conflicts, and avoid risks while trying to build customer relationships leveraging your products. You need to be clear about what needs to be shared, how it will be shared and protected, and how it needs to be maintained, updated, and measured to build a level playing field with your channel partners. If you have excellent visibility into their and your data, the trust will become apparent, and you can both depend on each other to build your business. Trust is, however, key, and open data management is essential.
If you have developed a trusting relationship and have automated the workflow to maximize your performance together, you are well along the path to gaining market share with your channel partner at the expense of your competition. By streamlining your operations in sync with your channel partners and implementing a broad-based, proactive communications protocol between your sales and marketing teams and your channel partners, you can focus all your efforts on generating revenue, maximizing margins, and building the business for you and them.
Everyone in the electronics component industry leverages every possible sales channel to maximize results. How you manage channel performance could mean the difference between becoming a leader and disappearing like many others.
To get a competitive advantage with your channel partners, you need a comprehensive channel management process and support like that provided by the NEHANET Revenue Cycle Management suite of tools. At the end of the day, how you manage channel performance could mean the difference between thriving and failing. To get a better insight into how leaders take advantage of building trust, automation, and creating a win-win partnership with their channel partners, see our website www.nehant.com or call for an introduction that will change the way you manage the channel partners forever.