Two Important Truths to Acknowledge 1.Evolving from a predominantly direct selling organization to a multi-channel environment impacts every aspect of the business. 2.Evolving from a direct sales manager role to a channel manager role requires a 180 degree mind-shift.
Major Topics Strategy – are you clear on where and how channels will play in your business? Programmatics – do the components of your partner program support your strategy – can you SEE your strategy in the program? Relationship Management – Are you a good business partner – or is the way you are doing business adding extraneous cost to your partners businesses? Resource Considerations – have you addressed the needs and concerns of your major stakeholders as you evolve to a multi-channel environment
Strategy Coverage considerations Where will your diverse channels play in the market/how are you segmenting? Size Verticals Geography Does your planned coverage of your target customer segments match the markets coverage? If not, do you know why? Does your planned channel strategy provide coverage for all sales situations that you envision – i.e.: Front market (greenfield opportunities) Aftermarket Upgrades Replacements Add-ons Cross-selling Win-backs Coverage Policy – will your channel system be: Open Selective Exclusive A combination, based on the requirements of different customer/offer segments
Strategy Capacity Considerations What level of performance is reasonable to expect from each channel type based on: The channels total sales in your product category Your share of this category Expected Sales Effort from Each Channel What role does your product play in the channels business: Primary Secondary Tertiary Results/Metrics Have you established a full set of metrics that include both leading and lagging measures of performance? Are these linked to sales operations and Finance?
Programmatics Competency Considerations Does the partner program assure the required level of competencies – sales, marketing, technical, operational and financial – for each channel type? Do you have a formal Product Authorization process? Are you clear on the purpose of your certifications (if you have them)– e.g. To create a branded channel To enhance the existing branding strategy To manage costs of technical support What is the purpose of accreditation (certification of the business vs. individuals) – if you have it
Programmatics Channel Value Proposition Does each offer have an compelling economic value proposition for each channel type you want to deploy? Pricing/Cost Considerations Are you taking full advantage of front and back-end pricing (e.g. discounts and rebates) to drive the channel behavior you want? What is the basis of your pricing to the channel Volume Function/value-add Are you paying the channel for buying (bad) or selling (good)?
Programmatics Congruence of Program Benefits with the Care- abouts of Channels in Your System Have you segmented the channels in your system – and do you know what components of a partner program are most/least important to them? e.g.: Developers (ISVs, OEMs, MSPs) Integrators Resellers Influencers Do you know where the majority of your current dollars are coming from? How will this change over time? Is the balance of technical, marketing and sales support properly aligned with the needs of the channels who are delivering the majority of business for you?
Programmatics Investment in Partners What is your current policy regarding BDF (Business Development Funds), JDF (Joint Development Funds) and MDF (Market Development Funds: Is use of these funds business-case driven? Does allocation go to those initiatives most consistent with company strategy? Are there clear and measurable benchmarks before funds are released? Is there a provision for seed money to accelerate the performance of partners just entering your program?
Programmatics Channel Marketing Initiatives Is the channel marketing team focused on streamlining its offers (to the extent possible) for greater effectiveness and efficiency – e.g. Seminars-in-a-box Online campaign builders Does this team track use of the various components of the program and make regular refinements based on partner feedback?
Relationship Management Use of PRM System Do you deploy a Partner Relationship Management System? If so, is it used primarily to: Aggregate information Track channel use of tech support, training and certification levels, etc. Drive and support channel strategy decisions surrounding coverage, capacity, competence and cost. Conflict Management Have you developed and communicated a clear conflict management policy that includes: A statement of where conflict is expected to occur How it will be managed How problems/disputes will be resolved
Relationship Management Deployment of Your People Resources Are you deploying your own resources with the right partners…in ways that will benefit the business relationship – e.g. Joint sales calls Joint offer development Joint product announcements Eco Partnering Does your relationship management process have provisions for enhancing partners ability to work with each other? Do you currently have plans to work with your partners to screen and marketing through their channels?
Resource Considerations Training for the Organization Has there been (or are there plans for) training of product managers, the direct sales team, the channel team -- and customer service -- on the role channels will play in the business Is every function clear on what will change/what will remain the same, etc.? Are there plans for continuing forums that bring partners and your employees together – to get to know each other and to resolve questions before they become substantial issues?
Resource Considerations Communications Plan Have you created a detailed communications for the channel strategy, including such factors as: Who will be impacted by the new strategy (externally as well as internally) What are their concerns likely to be What will you say to address these concerns Who will convey this message What medium will you use When will you deliver it
Any Questions? For additional information, please contact: Sue Heintz, President, Channel Management Professionals Wireline: 847.615.0325 Mobile: 908.507.5005 Fax: 847.615.9044