How the West Was Won: A Look at Improving Channel Performance from the Vendor's PerspectiveBy The Channel Insider Staff | Print
Vendors and partners must work together to seize opportunities, align business goals and drive channel performance.
How the West Was Won: A Look at Improving Channel Performance from the Vendor's Perspective - Look Beyond Best Partners
Opportunity No. 2: Collect and Analyze the Right Data
How many times have we seen channel research ranking vendors? When looking at the results, you find out that your competition is rated a 9 and you are rated a 6. The problem: No one truly understands what it means to be a 6 or what to do about it. Why not change the way you do VOP (voice-of-the-partner) research by asking them what they want from you as a vendor? You’re more than likely to learn something truly valuable, like you’re losing favor due to a competitor that’s offering new inventory terms.
You also can extend the research and look at partners’ company culture and customer demographic to make sure partners are a good fit.
Consider this example of one large office equipment manufacturer. The vendor faced three years of market stagnation, so growth had to come from competitor market share.
First, the vendor asked end customers to highlight value drivers and competitive positioning, which was shared with all partners. Next, the vendor asked partners what they needed. Then the vendor adjusted its offering to meet the expressed needs of the partners. Those needs were pretty simple, really: enhanced training on account targeting and acquisition, strategic selling, and presentation skills. To make sure the requested items were utilized, the vendor added non-cash incentives for those partner reps completing training and increasing sales. And finally, the company expanded its partner MDFs (market development funds) to include lead generation programs.
The results: In the first year following the program change, partner rep training participation increased 41 percent and client sales increased 9 percent in a market that declined by 14 percent.