A company can boast the latest state-of-the-art technology, easy-to-use platforms, and all the most attractive features. But what truly makes a successful business tick is people–specifically, a strong, motivated sales team. Your channel is on the front lines of your business, asking the right questions, addressing and solving client pain points, and cultivating relationships. They are the catalysts to consistent sales and profit growth for your company.
With so much at stake, ISVs need to ensure their sales channels are equipped and enabled to perform their best and accurately represent your brand in the market. These five principles will help you build a motivated, successful channel of growing businesses that help you build your customer base.
1 Empowerment and Autonomy
Most ISVs understand the importance of training and certifications. Your channel needs to understand your technology and stay up to date when you add new features or products. However, you should also offer sales training and mentorship for your resellers’ teams who need it. Then, once you’ve provided your channel with the information they need, let them run with it. When you teach them to do their jobs well and trust them with that knowledge, talented resellers will thrive.
2The Right Tools
ISVs need to ensure their resellers have everything they need for effective customer engagements. They need demonstration units, professionally created sales literature, documentation, and a way to access information in the field. Help your channel go into meetings prepared to influence and convert.
3Be a True Partner
To motivate a channel, ISVs need to communicate that they are behind their resellers, not only as a member of their team, but also individually. Depending on your market, your resellers may have struggled to maintain their businesses in the current economy. You’ll have more success if you find ways to boost your resellers’ bottom lines, for example, increasing their margin on sales, offering incentives, or running promotions that make your products more competitively priced. You can also work with your channel to find opportunities and expand into new markets or niches. Learn your resellers’ struggles and help them overcome them.
4Copy What Works in Your Market
Don’t be afraid to study successful companies’ strategies and incorporate those ideas into your plans. You may come across the answer you need to manage territories, register deals, ensure resellers are following up with leads, or land on an incentive that increases resellers’ motivation. Test these strategies and then double down on what works.
5Encouragement and recognition
Although sales and business growth will be great motivators for your channel resellers, they’ll also appreciate recognition from you. Establish a way to communicate your appreciation for their hard work and what it means to your business. Positive feedback will encourage resellers to continue to make progress toward their goals, and if you publicly recognize the stars in your channel, you could inspire some friendly competition to capture those titles next quarter or next year. Remember always to focus on the positive, remind them what they do well, and let them know you’re behind them as they strive for continued success.
Remember the Basics
These principles can help you elevate your channel’s performance from good to great – if you have a good channel to begin with. ISVs need to form partnerships strategically, selecting resellers who are experienced and capable of providing solutions that deliver value and customer success. You also need to partner with people who share your vision and whose philosophy aligns with yours.
Although digital communication and video conferencing allow you to talk to prospective partners, nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting where you can get a better sense of how your businesses would work together. Be choosy, then provide competitive products, training, essential resources, and encouragement. When these pieces are in place, you’ll move the needle on growth.