Channel Management Solutions: Necessary Features
B2B or Business to Business relationships, just like in any other
relationship, need support from both parties to work. A channel
partner’s relationship to the vendor company is symbiosis mainly driven
by profit and incentives. Loyalty, honesty, integrity and ethics are all
ideal values that could support the longevity of the partnership but in
all honesty, there really is one goal in a capitalistic economy and
Vendors rely on channel partners for the bulk of their sales revenue. Through the complex business activities involved in channel sales, vendors need strong alliances with partners with objectives aligned with the company’s goals. While abstract values are good to have, concrete channel management solutions are the most reliable tools to ensure that partnership will prosper.
What are the features of strong and effective channel management solutions?
Training – Fortune 500 vendor companies demand potential partners be certified in various regulatory organizations. Training is very important for sales team to succeed in closing deals. Especially in the area of high-value products, a knowledgeable sales team can go a long way.
Forecasting – In forecasting trends in the market, channel partner have to have tools to predict consumer behavior and market demands. Tools for analysis like graphs and charts with updated information are at the center of marketing and sales.
Communication – Relationships need open communication to develop trust. Partners need to be able to communicate with vendor representatives like channel managers when issues and concerns arise. There has to be multiple lines of communication to prevent disruption of sales activity. When previous generations use a mere telephone and fax machine, with the Internet, there is email, VoIP, chat, etc.
Marketing Funds – There has to be an efficient and fast way to approve requested funds to support marketing efforts by channel partners. An effective record keeping feature is necessary to avoid legal woes and promote transparency in terms of financial matters.
Lead management – To avoid channel conflicts that are so prevalent in this type of relationship, an automated system that does not discriminate should be integrated. An automated system will prevent any duplication of leads and will neutralize any conflicts resulting from too much competition between partners and even between the channel partner and the vendor.
POS or Point of Sale – A POS System directly updates inventory when deals are closed. The system streamlines not only the sales but also the stock management of the company.
Incentive Management – Effective channel management solutions should automate the rewarding of incentives when quotas are met to prevent questions and issue from arising. Channel partners will be free to view their progress and can expect the incentives allotted to them without contacting the vendor representative.
Report Generation – One of the most tedious aspect of a sales activity is the regular reports that can take time away from what’s important, selling. A report generating feature will ensure that the sales team is up to date with the tasks but can still deliver the necessary data to back it up.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joe Owens is a traveler, computer geek, and entrepreneur. To know more about channel management solutions, please come and visit our website.