Consider partner communication one of the vital organs essential for survival in channel sales. Effective communication builds strong relationships with channel partners and improves productivity, which, in turn, drives sales numbers. And because business moves quicker than ever, your partner reps must always be kept in the loop—anytime, anywhere.
To ensure your channel is as healthy as possible, it’s important to put in the legwork. Take a look at your communications efforts. Interested in skyrocketing your sales (who isn’t)? It’s about delivering the right message to the right place at the right time. Let’s review.
The Right Message
A common mistake that many channel managers make is sending the same message to their entire network. While this may seem efficient, it’s actually counterproductive in the long run. In these situations, partners are left on their own to sift through information and mine what they deem relevant. This is not only frustrating and time-consuming for partners, it’s potentially harmful.
Communications must be role-based. It’s important to be cognizant of your objectives and the main messages you deliver to your channel partners—as they will ultimately be communicating with your end users. Answering the following questions can help refine your messaging:
- What do you want to achieve through your channel efforts?
- What messages do you want consistently delivered to your partners?
- What channel partner profiles are you targeting?
- What action do you want your partners to take?
Ultimately, effective communication means enabling your channel to do what it does best: sell. This means being proactive. It’s not enough to wait for your partners to come to you with a problem. You must assess your partners’ changing needs, understand what they’re encountering in the field, and help them build strategies to facilitate success.
The Right Place
You’ve got email. You may even have an internal communications tool like Salesforce Chatter, Yammer, or Slack. These technologies are inarguably beneficial on their own. Connecting your internal channel management team, internal sales team, and channel partners with these disparate parts technically works. It just doesn’t work very well.
Having numerous people in different offices and different parts of the world emailing back and forth can get confusing. Messages get lost, time is wasted, and partners and in-house staff sit on calls while searching on their computers for documents. Missing emails and accidental deletions can lead to bad blood between partners and vendors. Even worse, deals are dropped because of these administrative errors.
There’s a better way to do things. Next-generation partner portals are built to manage multiuser communication to drive the channel. These integrated collaboration tools enable your organization to reach out to channel reps and centralize discussions. Because you may not have the time to talk to your reps in person or on the phone every single business day, these tools work to build relationships over time.
The Right Time
It’s important to strike a balance when communicating with your channel partners. Not enough communication can leave partners in the dark. And too much information can be overwhelming and burdensome.
Having a solid channel partner communication strategy in place means outlining your repetition and frequency. It’s important to know how much you are going to repeat your message and how often. Sending information too early overloads your partners. However, sending information too late often undermines its relevance—and increases the chances that it’ll get lost or forgotten.
Next-generation partner relationship management (PRMs) should be the nuts and bolts of your partner communication strategy. For channel sales to work, everyone needs to be able to communicate effectively—and in one place. Software is the glue that holds your channel program together and keeps you and your partners aligned.
These new-age PRMs improve interactions with content that’s rankable, shareable, and usable. They empower partners to save and share articles and pin content to their own personalized dashboards. They keep partners up to date in real time through content sharing. And they provide you with insight into your channel’s conversations and insights—anywhere and from any device.
The best tools facilitate positive relationships and effective communication with built-in functionality. Allbound doesn’t just manage your channel. It empowers partners to succeed.