Channel partners are an essential part of a vendor business, according to an article at EzineMark.com. It is a partnership that is based on a number of factors, including loyalty, integrity, and ethics. Effective channel partner management can take you from being just a commodity supplier to being a valued partner and adviser to B2B customers.
The purpose of channel partner programs is to increase visibility and thereby sales and profits. “Through the complex business activities involved in channel sales, vendors need strong alliances with partners with objectives aligned with the company's goals” in order for the partnership to be worthwhile and effective.
In order to accomplish profitable success, businesses need to have clearly defined channel management solution strategies at work.
Part of the strategies needed is training and certification for a vendor's partners. EzineMark.com notes that “Fortune 500 vendor companies demand potential partners be certified in various regulatory organizations.” A knowledgeable sales team is essential in closing deals, especially in regard to high-value items.
Another strategy is the ability to forecast market swings and consumer trends. Providing this information to partners gives them another tool to target correctly and make effective sales.
In line with offering forecasting tools, open communication is needed. Partners need access to channel managers or reps to keep sales activity moving smoothly. Fortunately, the internet makes this tool easy to implement and maintain.
Along with this, strong partner management is necessary to avoid channel conflicts and overlapping of leads. It would be counterproductive to have more than one channel partner focusing efforts on a particular customer.
Three other strategies include incentive management that offers automated rewards to encourage growth; providing regular sales and product activity reports to keep sales teams up to date and focused; and an efficient method of providing easy access to marketing funds for channel partners.
Having an effective channel partner incentive program in place motivates partners. It also creates a basis for recruiting additional talent. “A professionally managed incentive program typically incorporates training, education and lead management with a reward system that encourages growth.”