For many companies, their sales channel is critical to their success. As such, the quality of the partnership with their sales channel(s) is critical to their success. A company selling through a channel should be treating the channel just as they would treat an end-user customer. Rather than a transactional relationship, both parties benefit from a collaborative relationship for the ultimate good of the end-user customer.
While both parties need to be focused on revenue-growth, they also need to be focused on end-user customer satisfaction. This is especially true with more selling into small-to-medium sized businesses for those selling products or services to B2B firms. Selling needs to be solution-based and sellers need to move from a focus on volume to a focus on value. Instead of being concerned with certification authorizations, sellers should focus on meeting the specific needs of the channel partner and the channel partner focused on the needs of the end-user customer.
Overall, there is a need for more strategic solutions.
From the manufacturer’s perspective, this includes:
– Reducing cost to provide service
– Increasing visibility into channel activities
– Understanding both the partner and customer-base
– Reducing channel conflict — being clear about who is responsible for what
– Improved communications with all channel partners
From the channel partner’s perspective, this includes:
– Consistent engagement with each vendor
– Increased administrative requirements that can be handled more efficiently
– Reducing the time needed to access important information
– Improving the ability to network with manufacturers and customers
– Improving demand generation activities
Ultimately all parties will benefit from the right lead to the right partner. Just as targeting customers is critical to the success of a marketing or sales effort, getting the right lead to the right partner and having a mutually productive relationship is critical to the success of the partnership.
What are you doing to improve your partnerships?