I have a friend who can walk into a room and identify its design flaws. Perhaps the curtains have been hung too low, the pictures have been hung too high, or the paint color is just a shade darker than it should be. Personally, I don’t see these things.But, when I walk into a room that she’s designed, I can feel it. Depending on the room, I can enter feeling lighter, more inspired, invigorated, or even soothed. When you’ve ever worked from home, consider the spot in your house you always select. Does it have the best lighting? The least number of distractions? Is it closest in proximity to the things you’ll need? Much like a carefully designed, well-maintained room, software has the power to affect the way you work, and how much you enjoy that work experience.
I recently got a new computer, and with it I also upgraded to the latest version of Microsoft Office. The first time I opened a new document, my eyes widened. I thought to myself, ‘What is THIS?’ You see, I had previously been running a very, very outdated version of Office. And as I began editing a piece I had been in the middle of, I realized something about my software usage. I had been avoiding Microsoft Word — and Excel, perhaps even more. You see, navigating these legacy versions of classic go-to business software had been such an unpleasant, sometimes cumbersome, experience that I had taken to Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets instead. This was fine for the most part, but the Google Spreadsheets lacked Excel functionality I had come to rely on, and both failed me one evening when I was working during a cross-country flight that didn’t have Wi-Fi (scary, I know).
So now as I draft this blog post in my shiny new Word interface, I can feel myself becoming more inspired. I’m as happy inside this software as I am inside my favorite room in my home. For all people designing, building, selling and using software, what a wonderful opportunity.
Consider the software your indirect sales team — those hundreds or thousands of sales reps employed by your strategic partners and resellers — uses while they’re out there selling your product to your target audience. What software are you giving them to enable their success? Is it the kind of software that provides them easy access to the tools and resources they need to be successful? Is it the kind of software that anticipates their needs and enables them to champion your value proposition? Is it the kind of software they want to work in, or is it a legacy system that technically gets the job done, but is one that no one really wants to spend much time in?
Part of what we’re doing here at Allbound is trying to break some of the oldest habits in the channel. Channel management software doesn’t have to be transactional, and it doesn’t have to be nearly as complicated as we — yes we — business professionals in sales, marketing and business development keep making it. Time and again, we continue to get in our own way with our unnecessarily complicated requests for every single channel-related activity to be tied together into one utopian package, complete with a golden unicorn horn. What can we say? We want it all.
But let’s face it. At the end of the day, you want to grow revenue in your channel. Your channel partners’ sales reps want to blow their quota out of the water. You have this in common, so what kind of software are you using to support this desire to simply sell more? Make sure it’s the kind of software those reps will actually want to use.