Channel Sales Strategy: Channel Partner Training and Certification
Successful channel partnership and channel sales strategy rely on more than recruiting the right partners or resellers. What perhaps is more important is what comes next and that is training and certification. In developing or strengthening a channel partner program, the most important aspect is the incentive package that could make or break a channel partnership.
Incentive programs differ from vendor to vendor. Others are more comprehensive with more bonuses and rebates while other vendors, smaller companies or start up companies, offer just the basics and a promise to increase as the company grows. Training and certification included in the package is not only beneficial to customers, but to vendors and resellers as well. Certification allows channel partners to offer value added services that not all resellers can provide. There is tangible proof that a reseller firm has the credential to offer specialized and quality services with quality products.
In terms of training, there are a lot of ways on which vendors deliver information. It could be face to face or online learning via their website. The important thing is to cover everything about the product in order to anticipate questions from customers. What should channel partner training contain?
Knowledge about oneís product is the most basic thing a sales person should know. The specifications, the functionality, design, etc. are all included in product information. There are many sources of information from vendors that should be available to sales people Ė the partner portal, manuals, product demo videos, and actual hands-on training.
Knowing the specs about a product is not enough. The reseller must know what the context is behind the specifications for the product. For example, if a buyer of a laptop computer is a graphics designer, the reseller must know that for this specific customer, emphasis on a great graphics card is important as well as a high resolution screen.
In every brand there are competitor products with almost the same features and purpose. A sales personís training should include a study on how their product is different from a competitorís. What are the advantages and features that are missing from the other products?
What are the present market conditions that could affect sales of the product? During the recession for example, businesses were wary of spending capital on products that they donít really need. But it could also be seen as opportunity to offer products that offer savings like cloud services that cost a fraction of what conventional software costs.
Of course, a sales person must be able to sell and not all are born salesmen. Skills such as persuasive communication, strategic and closing sales techniques are important in dealing with customers.
Policies and Guidelines
A vendor must be assured that their goals line up with the channel partnerís objectives as well. As part of a larger channel sales strategy, sales training should include the policies that prevent conflicts and provide solutions to issues that are uniformed or consistent with policies for both companies ensuring harmonious business relationship.
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Joe Owens is a traveler, computer geek, and entrepreneur. To know more about channel sales strategy, please come and visit our website.