Why Vendors Must Invest in Their Channel Partners
Okay vendors. What is it going to take to increase revenues from your partner channel? Engagement, training and certification, and it all has to be automated.
If you want to drive your company's revenue growth, you need to invest in your channel partners just as you would your direct sales force, according to Jim DeSocio, chief revenue officer, Relayware, a SaaS-based provider of partner relationship management (PRM) software that automates the partner process.
"At many companies, no expense is spared in educating and training their direct sales team on products, brand, value propositions and sales methodologies, but a lot of companies that sell through a partner channel don't invest in the infrastructure—partner relationship management—to support the partners to sell their product," explained DeSocio. "In today's age, if the channel is 30, 40, 50 and maybe 80 percent of your revenue stream, you need to invest in the infrastructure to support that channel."
Here's why. Channel partners often have multiple vendor lines that offer the same or similar products or services. The challenge is how to drive your partners to promote and sell more of your product instead of a competitive brand to drive greater revenue.
"Unless you're continuously marketing to your partners and engaging them to come to your partner portal, you're not going to be top of mind," said DeSocio. "And if you're not top of mind, they are either going to sell another brand or miss an opportunity to sell your products."
It's extremely important to do to-partner marketing, DeSocio added. "It's that top-of-mind, educating your partners on an ongoing basis every day, getting partners the tools in their hand to sell the products, i.e., content, white papers, pricing sheets and technical documents."
As an example, Relayware's PRM software is available in four packs or modules—partner portal, sales (deal registration), marketing and training. While companies can mix and match the modules they need, all customers use the partner portal module.
The partner portal includes an activity stream that can be accessed from any mobile device. The activity stream proactively pushes out information and alerts such as new leads, campaigns, educational classes, content and pricing as well as subscription renewals and new product offerings. An interesting feature of the marketing pack is the use of gamification for market development funds (MDF) incentives as a way to drive more mind share.
"It's all about revenue generation. When we talk to a customer, large or small, it's about generating revenue for your company," he added.
"By implementing a partner resource management platform, you can exponentially raise your revenue," DeSocio said.
Gina Roos has been covering technology and the channel for more than 25 years. A co-founder and executive editor of EPS News, she has also served as an editor for EBN, EETimes and Electronics Sourcing.