At Channel Maven Consulting, we don’t play favorites or push products and platforms. However, from time to time we do present Channel enablement tools that ease Channel sales and marketing. This week we welcome Jay McBain of ChannelEyes:
Working closely with leading indirect channel-based selling organizations we’ve learned some surprising things about channel sales and marketing. For example, channel account managers spend more time than needed on lost causes and guaranteed wins. While both present an opportunity cost, this strategy proves unproductive and wastes time.
As you know, there is a critical timeframe inherent in all channel pipelines. It’s the time where a potential deal begins losing the probability to close – and fast. In direct sales, the bell curve is flatter and this ‘point-of-no-return’ less pronounced. Not so in channel sales; instead it’s a critical point in need of immediate attention.
Focusing on the Channel Sales Process
Sales would be easier if channel account managers knew when a deal was about to spiral downward. They could act fast and help prevent those deals from slipping out from under them. Forget about putting energy towards deals already in the dark and definitely forget about guaranteed wins. Start focusing on the middle stages, those are the deals that can make the difference but only when better forecasting brings needed focus to those deals can we avoid the loss altogether.
We Can’t Ignore the 80-20-Rule
Channel account managers typically gravitate toward the top 20 percent of Partners bringing in 80 percent of the revenue. This hurts growth because when the focus is put on the upper 20 percent, Vendors miss opportunities to increase overall channel growth through the other 80 percent of their Partners.
Improved Forecasting is Needed
Forecasting helps spread time across more Partners, eliminates guesswork, and shines light on patterns you may not have noticed about existing Partners. However, predicting what might happen next requires taking advantage of data signals, including account and Partner history, individual rep optimism, time, segment, and industry. These are the data points that highlight Partner trends and help CAMs quickly sift through information to deem which bits are necessary.
The Channel is a Complicated World
Without the right tools and resources, channel sales become much more difficult. Vendors understand this and know that without tools, Partners lose deals and don’t generate as many sales. It’s why we see so many Partner Portals and Marketing Automation platforms provided by Vendors but the same can be said for tools CAMs need to help Partners drive demand and close deals.
Putting the data you need within reach of CAMs to help Channel Partners close more deals is critical to Channel growth. When looking for the right data-mining tool, you want one that uses data science to provide the insights and visibility needed to take action on. ChannelEyes recently released OPTYX, a robust productivity tool for channel managers that solves common forecasting and other channel sales challenges.
Looking for other tips, tricks, and tools from Channel experts? Check out these blogs: