14 May, 2021
How to Engage with Your Channel Partners in Disruptive Times
The new normal has called for flexibility and inventiveness in the way we do business. However, for organizations that rely on indirect sales for revenue, channel sales alignment has taken a big hit. Organizations are either scaling back channel partner budgets or scrambling to ensure continued channel sales in a tight market. In addition, the casualties, isolation and suffering caused by the pandemic has affected human morale everywhere, and your channel partners are no exception. For long-term business success, it’s imperative that organizations step up to nurture their channel networks at this time. In this blog, we’ll talk about the role of technology in redefining channel partner engagement for the new normal, in the following ways:
Open the lines of Communication
The first measure organizations must undertake is setting up active lines of communication, including chat, helpdesk and a ticketing system through a channel engagement software. Increasing availability for channel partners across the board including technical leads and senior executives can help provide the much needed alignment and support to ramp up sales efforts in a tight market.
Double down on Sales Enablement
Brand strategies are likely to change for organizations seeking new sales opportunities during the pandemic. Sales and marketing teams will need to ensure they’re able to share evolving strategies, target personas and market research with their sales channels real-time. Leveraging robust sales analytics tools in a channel partner management software can help make crucial data available to the firm and partners alike. Role-based content display can ensure that only relevant reports are visible to the concerned stakeholders.
Make virtual events count
Trade shows, expositions and sales conventions have come to an abrupt stop, preventing channel partners to make new in-person connections. Organizations must step up to not just conduct virtual events among its various channel partners but also use them to facilitate engagement. For example, continuing traditional partner awards ceremonies online and sending physical trophies, badges and mementos to partners’ homes through a channel incentives software. Such digital tools can automate partner reward fulfillment, saving time and costs.
Share Best Practices
Channel partners are uniquely positioned to gather customer data and understand the pulse of the target customer base at the grassroots level. Having an online collaboration forum or knowledge base can help in recording such data to refine the organization’s business approach, convert indirect sales leads and help focus on high-value customers.
Incentivizing channel partner performance does not necessarily mean increasing financial compensation. Non-financial incentives are known to have a greater impact on workforce performance and with digital reward and recognition tools, the reward options are endless. The key is to be intentional and understand what channel partners want through pulse surveys, then create a rewards structure around the feedback. A great example of non-financial awards can be online training courses to upskill during the pandemic or healthcare vouchers offering discounts on medicines or doctor’s consultation.