When created and executed properly, there’s no question that a channel sales program can make a significant difference to your company’s bottom line. In general, using indirect sales channels results in year-over-year revenue growth of 20-30%—and up to 50% in some optimal cases.
As you develop a sales channel strategy with different partners, make sure you’ve addressed these five features that every successful channel sales program gets right.
- Pricing model
First and foremost, gaining commitment from the sales force for the rules of engagement requires a good pricing model. Since everything channel partners do is paid on gross margin, they must see the potential to make money. Discounts must be attractive enough to gain the channel partners’ interest. If margins are small, growth via the program will slow down and the program itself could become irrelevant.
- Sales goals
A good program documents, defines, and aligns sales goals. There must be absolute clarity on what is expected of your channel partners, their objectives, and how their performance will be measured. Providing clear goals and KPIs for the channel will engage and spur channel partners to work in the right direction.
- Success metrics
Having success metrics to review and measure against on a monthly or quarterly basis is critical. It allows you to see if the program is performing as expected. After all, if you’re not quantifiably measuring results, you don’t know whether the program is failing or succeeding, or the best course of action to take.
Also key to a successful program is facilitating clear communication with your partners, particularly during implementation. Make sure they’ve read the fine print, understand how performance will be measured, and know the dos and don’ts and all your terms and conditions.
The best programs all have built-in accountability. Both partners and company must work together for the overall success of the program, checking and balancing each other’s actions accordingly.
Remember: the best partner programs are dynamic. You can’t simply build, launch and then be done with it. You need to constantly examine the program and tweak it for relevance and improvements. If the goal is growth, you’ll need to continuously analyze the sales numbers to figure out how keep up (or speed up) momentum.