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Empowering channel partners to drive sales growth in 2020 – Part1: Motivation

Do you constantly find yourself in a situation where the company is struggling to meet the sales target? Or is the sales increasing at the expense of the company’s profit?
You may have already designed strategies for sales, profit and market share target achievement for the year 2020. Increasing sales by expanding the numeric distribution may be one of your sales strategies, but it may not necessarily drive the desired sales growth. While increasing coverage and distribution by getting more channel partners on-board may somewhat uplift the sales, it is important to assess the performance of the current channel partners. If the in-store share has not been increasing, it is possible that the existing channel partners are not being utilized to their full potential.
One of the biggest challenges that companies face is how to increase sales without exceeding the sales promotion budget. This is where channel partner motivation plays an important role. Channel partner loyalty can give your sales a much-needed push while keeping the sales promotion expense under control.
So, let 2020 be the year of making channel partners one of your greatest assets. Presenting to you a four-part blog series on how companies can empower their channel partners to drive sales growth, starting with how to keep them motivated. You must already have a channel partner program in place, but in order to judge how effective it is, it is important to ask these questions.

How strong is your relationship?

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Effective channel partner management calls out for building a trusted relationship with them. A close, personal relationship with your channel partners is the foundation of a long-lasting and successful business partnership, benefiting everyone involved.
To build their interest in your product, they need to know the company and its offerings well. Personal contact is the best way for them to get to know you. Meeting them personally is much more effective than emailing the company’s newsletter. During the meeting, keep them updated with company performance, industry trends, target markets and latest consumer insights. Notify them about on-going and upcoming campaigns. Most importantly, make them feel valued and supported and provide them with assistance whenever required. Don’t forget to praise them and appreciate their efforts when the targets are met! A little recognition goes a long way in keeping them motivated.

How effective are your sales tools?

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Most companies make the mistake of handing over a complicated sales information booklet to their partners. Remember, the easier it is to sell the product, the more attention it will get from the channel partners. Empower the partners with all the knowledge they will require to sell your product but as simply as possible.
Companies need to create a special channel-sales training program that includes all information about the product specification, its superiority over competitive products, sales script and selling videos. Another effective tool is testimonials by real consumers, which will help in building the distributor or retailer’s confidence that they are pushing the right products to their customers. The sales tools you provide to the channel partners should also serve the purpose of aligning them to the brand strategy and goals so that they can be inspired to drive more sales.

Are you rewarding right?

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It all comes down to “what is in it for me?” To enable the channel partners to sell to their full capabilities, it is important to motivate them with rewards that they will truly value.
Strong motivation will not come from just “any” reward. Consider deeply about what your channel partners actually need. Free products and vacation packages were once a popular choice for rewards but with the advent of digital technology, there is easy access to any product or experience.
Find out more about how “Technology is changing the way we reward”
Rewarding them with the freedom to choose what they want by giving them Gift Cards can go a long way in keeping them happy and engaged. Promising an exciting incentive is also a great way to get the distributors’ mindshare, which is a must, considering that all other players in the market would also be fighting for their attention. Start by setting a reasonable target, not too easy but also not unattainable. Reward them as promised, and set a higher target for next time.
Finally, the three important steps to keep your channel partners motivated are
  • Establishing a strong relationship
  • Providing effective sales tools
  • Rewarding the right way
Now it is time to measure the relationship. After the channel partner programs are in place, it is important to track the results and take action accordingly. Since companies invest a lot of resources in channel partners, the value of incremental sales should be used to judge whether to continue with the partner or not.
Are you ready to unlock the full potential of channel partners in 2020? Stay tuned to know more about how rewarding them the right way can push your sales numbers to new heights!