The process to qualify a channel sales partner has direct bearing on success of a sales plan.
So how do we qualify the right one? Channel Sales Partner agreement elements do provide some pointers. However the business relationship and growth mindset goes beyond the legal framework.
Most channel sales partners will promise to meet annual targets or implement the stocking policy during discussion phase. A serious channel partner is aware of challenges and also advises on market entry planning. They help to re-adjust the sales strategy according to market needs and customer requirements. A knowledgeable channel sales partner is always ready to discuss and seek answers.
Here are 5 ways to qualify channel sales partner-
Industry Knowledge or selling environment
Every industry is unique and has its own set of challenges. A knowledgeable channel partner knows the ins and outs of your industry. They have the experience and necessary infrastructure to implement the sales plan effectively and efficiently.
They are not only commercial experts but also understand selling environment. How can a channel partner recommend the right solution unless they know your target market segment, competitors and buying criteria?
If they don’t understand your industry, it’s best to thank them for their time and move ahead.
What sets them apart?
A quality channel partner is able to demonstrate industry expertise, service oriented attitude and commercial acumen. A strong working relationship with buyers is pre-requisite.
Just evaluate them on below relevance:
- Membership with local trade associations.
- Inventory planning and credit worthiness.
- In-house and outdoor sales teams
- Work culture
- Complementary range (e.g., product lines with similar buyers but not in direct competition.)
The prospective channel partner should also be able to demonstrate a step by step plan to grow sales.
How do they plan to manage new product line?
Introducing a new product line or service is difficult for businesses – more so when BRAND is not well known or a new to the market.
Sales teams need to learn. Inside sales may feel overwhelmed with the idea of adapting, and others may worry about increased targets. Channel partner management has a responsibility is to ensure smooth adaptability. While few from team may resist, they have to be convinced.
Ideally channel sales partner should have organisation structure and process communicate with team members and ease them into new workflows. In short — keep the lines of communication open and train your people.
Are objectives in channel partner agreement enough to measure success?
How to know if sales plan is on right track? After all, any channel development requires investment of time and money. It is important to ensure that returns are in line with expectations. An effective channel development helps businesses to operate more efficiently. It is imperative to quantify what all stakeholders are expecting to achieve.
The channel partner agreement should list the goals and expectations with your channel partner. Ideally, a channel partner should also be pro-active in setting key performance indicators and elements of success.
Overall goal should be boosts in sales, productivity, profits and customer experience in the defined customer segment or sales territory for both channel partner and Principle Company.
If a franchise partner tells you that it is difficult to measure, consider that a red flag.
How the support Continuity is maintained?
Integrating a new channel partner is a process. Even after the initial on boarding stages are complete, channel partner will need continued support to ensure success. The sales Programs continue to evolve. Channel partner and the principle company should agree on fixed frequency of business review meetings.
A sale is an organic process. It requires continuous feedback on market dynamics to assist in product developments. Channel partner should also have system in place to oversee future updates and customizations.
The above just provides generic pointers. The specific depends upon type of sales channel partner agreement. Selloverseas.com experts have experience in managing different types of sales channel partner agreements such as
- VARs (Value added resellers)
- Service Delivery Partners
- Technology Alliance Partners
- High Velocity Partners (aka Fulfilment)
- Cloud Service Providers
- Managed Service Providers
- Global Systems Integrators (GSIs)
- Embedded Partners (often referred to as “white label” partners)
- Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)
- Strategic Partners
- Distributors or super stockist
- Franchise or Brand Licensing partners
- Retailers or dealers
Feel free to connect with us and discuss your channel expansion plans.
A great channel partner will do more than just selling your products or services. More importantly, they are partners throughout your growth journey and are critical to set you up for success.