One size does not fit all.
And when implementing the right fit channel sales platform, this adage is paramount.
Not all companies operate the same, employ the same sales strategies or marketing techniques, or thrive in harmonious employee culture alignment. Layered in between objectives, needs, and budgets are technology stacks to connect the people with the process.
The goal of finding that ‘right fit’ often starts through swiping right and learning from what to avoid.
All kidding aside, a bad date is recoverable, but implementing the WRONG channel sales platform has lasting impacts. Be prepared and go into this relationship knowing what to expect.
Ten most common challenges when implementing a channel sales tool:
1) Non-existent or outdated content.
Takeaway: What’s on the inside matters; a platform with the wrong content, is a platform with low utilization.
Ensure that your content is relevant and current to the needs and roles of your channel partners. Do NOT just mass upload every piece of content into the platform and fail to refresh assets. The best systems update content regardless of where the content lives in the system.
2) Unorganized content.
Takeaway: If it’s hard to find; it will hardly be used.
Simply put have a strategy for what content lives where in the system, and maybe create a mechanism for users to create their own ways to organize your content.
3) Thinking “DepartMEnt”
Takeaway: You aren’t the only business unit impacted, other departments will have a stake in your system.
Technology talks and so should you; make sre to speaks to sales ops if a CRM integration is needed or marketing for campaign automation, or IT for security requirements etc.’
4) No partner personas or thought to the partner experience.
Takeaway: Partners ARE people; think about their user experience.
To create a world-class partner experience, you need to understand your partner’s needs and motivations. Know how to configure your system to reflect the experience they need to enable success.
5) Confusion on system administrator/point of contact.
Takeaway: Who will be running the system day to day from an administrator role.
Yes, there will be many departments involved, but usually one person will lead the team or delegate content deployment, strategy, integrations, onboarding, and training. Make sure to maintain the rapport and needs of that point of contact, who will also convey feedback from the team.
6) Lack of historical KPIs and metrics.
Takeaway: To get to your destination, you need to start somewhere.
And while data is great, if you’re unable to transfer it into actual insight, then it’s useless. Channel sales acceleration software provides real-time business intelligence that is both accessible and actionable. Define which metrics matter the most for your organization, outlined in our article 5 KPIs That All Channel Managers Should Track.
7) Fully-loaded system.
Takeaway: Patience. Build from what is mission critical first as a foundation, keep it simple.
There will always be time to add functionality and integrate. Drive engagement with the basics first and build in additional functionality over time.
8) Failure to properly market your software to your partners.
Takeaway: “If you build it they will come…” doesn’t parlay into software.
Partners will need to understand the how the system benefits them to use. Educate and notify your partners of updates or mandatory functions.
9) Disengaged partners/reps
Takeaway: Talent matters.
Technology doesn’t equate to engaged partners/reps. Ensure your reps are engaged first and then demonstrate how the technology makes their jobs easier.
10) Solution doesn’t match need.
Takeaway: If the process matters, have the functionality available.
If the need is training and development or certification, make sure your solution can both accommodate such functionality AND track their success.
Latest posts by Angela Arhontes (see all)
- 10 Most Common Challenges When Implementing a Channel Sales Tool - November 28, 2016
- 7 Must-Haves When Building a Channel Partner Program - October 13, 2016