I have come across a few companies recently that are starting to create a sales channel, but knowing how to create a successful sales channel one can be tough. I know first hand that it is an excellent way to grow sales when done correctly. It works by increasing the amount of people in different places that are promoting your solution. Setting up a sales channel is often easy, but making it a success is hard.
Here are some of my suggestions on how to create a successful sales channel:
Benefits For All!
Make sure you understand, not only the benefit to the end user but to your potential partner as well. Sometimes new technology solutions mean less revenue and potentially less margin then existing solutions they may be selling. Find the right partner that will understand the benefits to their business and their sales reps.
Set Goals and Expectations
The biggest reason for failures in business relationships is unclear expectations. The best way to accomplish this is to set quantifiable goals. These targets should include things like revenue targets, money for co-op programs or market development funds, time set aside by both parties for training, sales support, deliverables, partners in their market selling the solution, and methods of marketing.
Find Your Champions at the Partner
Many times the owner or business unit manager will decide to take on your product, but they are not the ones selling it. There is typically a sales team that works at partner organizations that are selling the solution. Through your work with the company you can find a champion, someone who is good at understanding your solution and is interested in selling it. Just like when you are managing employees directly spend your time with the high performers and insure they have what they need to be successful.
These are my top three suggestions for a successful sales channel. Please provide any additional ideas you may have.
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