As you’re preparing to take advantage of the massively profitable opportunity that is indirect sales, you’re probably thinking about the types of tech investments you’ll need to make in order to get your channel program started. You’ve got email. You’ve got spreadsheet software. You may even have an internal communications tool like Yammer or Slack in place within your enterprise. Looking at that existing technology suite – one that probably didn’t come cheap – you may ask yourself, why would I need to invest in a channel sales software tool when I already have all this communication software on hand?
But there are big and quite tangible benefits to having a channel sales software tool in place. More and more, having a channel software tool is inseparable from having a profitable channel partner program. The channel is complex, and it requires the right tools to manage that complexity. As the following points illustrate, there is a demonstrable ROI to a channel sales software tool that makes using one a much better bet than cobbling a channel presence together using your existing office tools.
Having your internal channel management team, internal sales team, and anyone else involved in a given deal communicate with channel partners via regular email “works” – it just doesn’t work well. Bringing as many parties to the table as possible is a critical part of channel growth and profitability. But when you’ve got numerous people in different offices and different parts of the world emailing back and forth, using the CC function to keep the discussion hanging together, important information always gets lost in the inbox.
In the least severe cases this wastes everyone’s time. Partners and in-house staff sit on calls while searching on their computers for documents that someone missed, scrolling through long threads and digging for attachments – and these little time wasters that everyone is paying for add up to a big chunk of change you could be hanging on to. At worst, missing emails and accidental deletions can lead to bad blood between players in the relationship, a loss of zeal for working with one another, and deals getting dropped entirely because of what amounts to administrative errors.
A channel sales tool, on the other hand, is built to facilitate the multiuser communication that drives the channel. Streamlining out the potential for missed messages, lost attachments and the like, a channel sales tool brings ROI in terms of time, money and energy saved, and in terms of deals that would end up dropped using conventional office tools coming to fruition through effective communication.
Marketing materials and training are vital to making sure that your partners understand your brand and how you want it presented. But sending PDFs containing marketing materials or putting them up on a shared drive and asking channel partners to look at them is a woefully inadequate way to get the point across. Emails get ignored. PDFs get lost or sit unseen at the bottom of full directories.
Channel sales tools, on the other hand, incentivize your partners to engage with the material. Such a tool can deliver content dynamically, test a partner’s knowledge, and even provide tiered rewards for completing trainings and demonstrating product knowledge to your satisfaction.
Enabling your partners to sell your product the right way is key to making their deals as profitable as possible and their buyer relationships sustained and successful. A channel sales tool lets you set them up to really understand your product and how you need it positioned, and shows its ROI in doing so.
While it’s possible to set up a channel partnership program without the right software in place, that sets you up for a whole world of inefficiencies. Stringing together the existing office communication tools and using that as the basis of your channel collaborations is selling everyone involved short. The right channel sales software tool, on the other hand, gives your partners and your staff the efficient tools they need and deserve to succeed – and to profit.