How the West Was Won: A Look at Improving Channel Performance from the Vendor's Perspective

By The Channel Insider Staff  |  Print this article 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. 3: Communicate Across the Channel

What’s the one piece of advice for people in a relationship? Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Although you’d like to think otherwise, the truth is your best partners often aren’t completely engaged in your programs. One of the primary reasons for this disengagement may be your reps. Partners don’t want someone to update sales forecasts; they want allies who understand their business. They want to build relationships with vendors that go beyond product and transactions. Partners want vendors to more fully understand their organization’s goals and aspirations and be willing to collaborate. Make sure your reps have the knowledge and skills to be a true ally to your partners.

Reps can then demonstrate this skill by co-creating written plans that help partners reach their business goals and are mutually beneficial and market-sensitive for you. These plans may contain sales and marketing goals and strategies, customer satisfaction benchmarks, attachment rates for hardware and services, and more. Better prepared reps become true partner allies and ensure that lines of communication remain open.

Help emerging partners define and inspire their own success. Communicate by packaging and sharing by segment the best practices that have worked for your best partners. Include tips on sales development, lead generation, and attachment strategies for hardware and services. Emerging partners will begin to view you as a vendor interested in helping them find the next mother lode.

Another case in point: Facing declining sales and declining customer satisfaction, a luxury automotive manufacturer wanted to improve the dealership experience at thousands of retail locations across the country. We suggested they look at four key components: customer satisfaction metrics; co-creation of plans that addressed localized research findings in both sales and service delivery; training offerings; and rewards and recognition.

The results: During 12 years of operation, the program has elevated the brand from the bottom 50 percent to consistent No. 1 or No. 2 rankings in both sales and service satisfaction. The client was also ranked No. 3 overall in a cross-industry service study by BusinessWeek, ahead of all other auto manufacturers. Based on this success, the program has now been deployed across eight car brands.


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