Creating a channel management program that actually delivers requires smart planning. It’s success will be based on how effectively it is managed. Its success will then be measured by metrics like increased sales, brand loyalty, and lead generation..
When the challenge is to put together an impressive channel management program, here is a step by step guide to ensure that the one made is indeed a promising one.
1. Have a business goal
The first step towards creating a successful channel management program is to set a goal. What is it that you wish to achieve through the program? Do you wish to penetrate new markets, attract fresh talent, or remind your customers about your presence in the market? Starting with a unified goal in mind will help build well-directed strategies for achieving it.
2. Train your channel partners and reward them
Since your channel partners are external partners be a part of your organisation directly, they will require proper training and support from the company’s end to meet the requirement set. You can’t expect them to perform well if they don’t know what goals you are trying to achieve and how you plan on achieving them. Therefore, it is necessary that you support them throughout the campaigns and offer them promotional materials free of cost. It can include pamphlets, brochures, web banners, and digital signage etc. If they perform well, don’t forget to provide them with sales incentives. Any gesture of appreciation -tangible or intangible – goes a long way. There are a number of ways to reward your channel partners. It could include recognition awards, discounts or gift cards, membership or a rewarding cruise trip.
3. Establish strong relationships
The foundation of any relationship; be it personal or professional hinges on trust. As a company or vendor, it is your job to ensure that the needs of your channel partners are met and there isn’t any conflict of interests.
4. Delegate responsibilities
The next step to creating a successful channel management program is delegating someone in your own organisation with the responsibility to own the program. This person will be in charge to handle all the issues arising, be a liaison, and communicate the different strategies your company plans to implement. Their role will include the following tasks:
* Organising joint meetings to plan and record the progress of the program
* Monitor, maintain, and report any information worthy of being communicated
* Check the status of all ongoing projects and also those in the pipeline
* Deal with any conflicts arising between vendor or channel partners
5. Evaluate the channel partner’s capabilities
Lastly, if all goes well and you still aren’t able to see the profitability stats as predicted, see if the person handling the distribution is competent for the job. Many times, it is not the strategy that fails but the person leading it. It is important that you evaluate the person in charge of handling all your sales affairs knows how to get the job done.
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