It sounds crazy that your channel management strategy would somehow be out of alignment with your corporate or sales strategy but it happens quite frequently. To review emerging best practices for sales channels, access the How to Make Your Number in 2018 and flip to the Sales Strategy section and turn to the Channel Optimization phase starting on page 364.
Let me share a real example from a client experience last year. The CEO had been abundantly clear that he needed scale in the sales function to match growth expectations and a large investment in a direct sales force was out of the question. The best route to provide the scale he sought was through the channel.
Everyone understood this, but upon closer inspection of the current channel partners, it was obvious that the strategy was out of alignment. A large number of the partners were small consulting firms that would do little to provide true scale to the sales function. In some cases, a channel manager had 20 small channel partners assigned to them. Their combined revenue was equal to that of 1.5 direct sales people.
The components are:
- True alignment to corporate and sales strategy
- Defined partner selection process
- Adherence to a channel governance process
- Partner focused recruitment package
- Comprehensive channel enablement content
SBI has interviewed several fantastic A-Player sales leaders on the topic of channels. Take the time to review these three use-case interview and apply them to your business:
- Rodney Foreman, SVP of Sales – Partner Ecosystem for Informatica
- Ralph Hawkins, SVP of Sales – Partner Channel for PGi
- Finn Faldi, Partner Revenue Officer for LifeLock
After defining a clear partner selection and deselection process, our client dissolved many of the relationships with small players and focused their efforts on signing up distributors and a few select alliance partners that had massive reach in their target market.
Take a moment this weekend to consider whether your channel management strategy is truly aligned with your corporate and sales strategy.
Have expectations gone up and you might be wondering if you can make your number? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic to test and rate yourself against SBI’s sales and marketing strategy to find out if:
- Your revenue goal is realistic
- You will earn your bonus
- You will keep your job