Most channel sales professionals didn’t meet their goals in 2021; by no coincidence, many of these same industry leaders hadn’t yet implemented automation or critical strategies for increasing sales. However, 2023 is a fresh year, and channel professionals are working hard to reach new heights through strategic investments. In order to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive market, you’ll need to consider implementing advanced strategies, too.
Common Barriers to Improving Channel Sales
In our recent survey, we found that nearly one-third of professionals drove less than 25% of their company’s overall revenue through channel sales. This is significantly lower than their full potential, likely caused by professionals not yet automating their channel functions. One common barrier to channel sales becoming a powerful revenue driver is operational inefficiency. Without automation, your team’s time caps your channel sales potential. Similarly, without clear, repeatable processes in place, your team won’t be able to optimize their time. Another challenge when increasing channel sales is lackluster partner engagement. Without optimal strategies for engaging your partners and supporting their goals, you’re just another piece of their channel. Identifying opportunities to stand out and help your partners in unique ways is essential for scaling successfully.
Optimizing your team’s time is essential as you work to improve channel sales. While it might seem like a great idea to onboard as many partners as possible to heighten your chances of sales, this will only keep your team from focusing on the most valuable partners. Engagement automation reduces the manual effort required from your team, allowing your partner managers and channel pros to spend more time supporting your high-value partners. Using a PRM tool, you can automate partner engagements such as onboarding, enablement, check-in communications, and more. You can also leverage engagement automation to re-engage partners that have gone dark. For example, instead of having a team member reach out to a partner that has gone incognito monthly, you can set up an automation to ping them. You just have to invest the time once to build out the workflow. Then, you can use it on as many partners as desired.
In one example, CloudBees increased their partner engagement by 357% after implementing a PRM for engagement automation and partner workflows.
Implement Gamification & Partner Tiers
If you have a broad ecosystem of partners but aren’t seeing the revenue you’d like, gamification can be a fantastic way to increase channel sales. Your partners likely have many other partners they work with, and gamification can be a powerful strategy to set you apart and reward partners for their activities.
With gamification, you can introduce rewards for completing specific activities. For example, you might consider awarding points for training sessions completed or sales reps enabled on your tool. Once your partner reaches a certain level of points, they’ll get a reward, such as a co-marketing campaign or webinar with you. You can make your gamification strategy public by building a channel partner leaderboard. First, create a SPIFF to reward closed-won revenue for a quarter, half-year, or full year. Then, implement a leaderboard so partners can see where they rank. This is a powerful way to create positive competition.
Gamification and partner leaderboards go hand in hand with implementing partner tiers, another excellent strategy for rewarding partner engagement. You may choose to set partner tiers based on customers or revenue influenced.Your partners at higher tiers get access to more resources, such as advanced co-marketing campaigns, additional pieces of training, or more time with your team. This is a great way to increase channel sales and a powerful way to prioritize partners, ultimately protecting your team’s time.
In the first week after implementing gamification with their PRM, Cambium Networks had more than 2,000 logins from partners who engaged with nearly 2,000 pieces of content. Similarly, Serko achieved 100% tool adoption and measurable growth in partner confidence.
Streamline Deal Registration
Getting credit for deals influenced is vital to your partners. However, managing deal registration can be challenging and time-consuming for your team. By streamlining deal registration, your partners can easily register new deals and get credit for their influence on revenue. With Allbound’s deal registration software, you can easily see which partners register deals, providing a transparent look into your pipeline and eliminating channel conflict. After implementing automated deal registration with Allbound, Garland’s partner program experienced 33% annual growth in revenue.
Content is another powerful strategy for improving channel partner sales, and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Before creating net-new channel partner content, connect with your internal team to see which materials drive sales. Then consider how you can use this piece with partners or to guide content for partners. Once you’ve begun building content that works for your channel, load it into your PRM so all partners can access it. Then, send a message to your partners letting them know it’s there and include a reminder in your follow-up workflows.
While it’s great to create content your partners can leverage for marketing externally, you should also consider content to provide partner training. For example, do quarterly product webinars where partners get an in-depth look at a specific feature, offering, or functionality. This gives partners the ability to ask questions in real-time and is a great way to re-ignite engagement, increasing channel sales in the process.
Increase Your Channel Sales in 2023 with Allbound PRM
After nailing the basics of channel sales, you can begin exploring additional strategies to improve and iterate on your current approach, such as engagement automation, gamification, and streamlined deal registration. Before you dig into these advanced ideas for increasing channel sales, you’ll want to have a few essentials in place. Ensure you have implemented a PRM and trained your partners on how to use the system. Be sure your team is fully trained and confident in using your PRM as well.
Allbound ranks #1 in G2Crowd Momentum Grid for Partner Relationship Management Software. On average, Allbound customers see a 376% increase in partner engagement and a 15x return on investment.
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