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5 Ways To Motivate Channel Partners To Sell Your Product First

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For many companies, the fastest and most efficient way to sell their product or service to the masses is through a strong network of channel partners poised to sell directly to the end-user. Building and maintaining a lucrative partnership with each independent dealer in the network requires constant support via training, collateral, regular communication, and accountability. This article outlines five important steps that need to be taken to ensure channel partners are well trained, supported, motivated, and properly monitored. 

What Is A Channel Partner

Selling through channel partners is a business strategy that involves an alliance between two companies that efficiently and effectively moves a product or service closer to the end-user. For the purposes of this article, the focus will be on channel partners that sell products or services directly to the end-user. 

5 Ways To Motivate Your Channel Partners To Sell Your Product First

1. Train Your Channel Partners

When a channel partner is well-trained on a product or service, they are more confident and knowledgeable during their sales pitch. That confidence radiates to the customer and increases the likelihood of closing the sale. Salespeople will always opt to push the product they are most familiar with since it almost always leads to a fast, easy conversion. In-depth partner training is crucial and should cover a full-scale, detailed breakdown of the product or service, why it was created, and what problems it solves for the end-user. 

Once trained on the ins and outs of the product or service, don’t forget the importance of training the sales team on the following:

  • Fully explain the value of the product for not only the end-user but why the product will be an easy sale and more profitable for their business 
  • Ensure partners can answer potential end-user questions about the products or services
  • Educate the sales team about what sets your products apart from other competing products

2. Support Your Channel Partners

After training is complete, regular support must be provided in the form of further training opportunities, sales collateral, local advertising, lead generation, and account managers. Provide quick and easy access to all necessary documentation, especially training and sales materials. Keep in mind many of your independent dealers may not have the money or means to create sales collateral, so make sure they have access to well-branded marketing collateral that’s aesthetically pleasing, catchy, and well-designed.

 Support materials for internal and external use include:

  • Training documentation
  • “How-to” selling videos
  • Sales scripts
  • Fact sheets
  • Spec sheets
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Pricing packets 
  • Comparative competitive information 
  • Customer stories and testimonials
  • Webinars

The more sales collateral and point-of-sale material you can provide, the better. Also, ask for suggestions from your partners on what training and sales material they think would benefit their efforts. 

3. Communicate Regularly

Many small independent dealers are responsible for all ownership and sales activities, meaning, they are incredibly busy and long communication pieces are likely to go unread. Work fast to find the communication method that will work best for your dealer network. The sooner you can figure out what drives their behavior, the sooner you can get them on the path to driving more sales.

Focus on what matters most, first. When communicating with your network be as short, yet, detailed as possible. If you have a promotion that you want to share with your dealers, highlight only the most important parts of that promotion. After all, if the promotion is too complex to explain to the dealer in thirty seconds, imagine how the sale pitch will go. After highlighting the most important feature of the promotion, provide a link to your website or promotional landing page for further information. The goal is to inform them of the sale, pique their interest, and give them a place to go to get detailed information when they have time to fully consume it.

Remember that images and short videos can go a long way when trying to communicate with your network. If you can include a well-designed tip sheet or a short video, you will likely see an increase in engagement and understanding.

4. Create A Community

It’s important that you foster a sense of community with your channel partners. They need to know that you care about their success and offer every opportunity possible for them to be a successful partner. 

Create a sense of community through:

  • Webinars 
  • Lunch-and-learn events
  • In-person gatherings either regionally or nationally
  • Virtual happy hours  
  • Company-paid mid-day coffee break video call sessions that offer opportunities for break-out sessions for brainstorming
  • Sales incentive contest and leaderboards for a little bit of fun competition between the partners 
  • Social media

Offer channel partners as many opportunities as possible to share ideas and help each other. This type of supportive environment fosters a loyal inter-connected community excited to work with each other.

Incentives for your channel partners should also be considered when building a community of loyal partners. Consider offering redeemable points or bonuses for participating in extended training opportunities, achieving performance goals, being a top seller, or being the most active in the community forum. The nice aspect of incentives is that they can be tailored to fit your business model. 

5. Build Trust

A strong partnership must be built on a foundation of trust and accountability. It doesn't matter how well-trained or loyal your channel network is, if you can’t get your product to your partners when, where, and how they want it, they will sell a competing product. First and foremost, always be honest and set expectations correctly. The pandemic has disrupted supply chains on a global level and, in some cases, completely shut down manufacturing for certain industries. We get, we all get it. Be honest about inventory expectations. Be honest about everything. Do not string on your partners due to your lofty hopes for a magical turnaround. Lying to your channel partners is the fastest way to demotivate your network. For good.

For many companies, channel partners are the key to their success and channel partners know it. They also know that great products that fly off the shelves are the key to their success. Finding that perfect partnership should be the ultimate goal. Following up the perfect match with the proper training, support, communication, and trust will secure your success for many, many years to come.

written by

April McCormick

April McCormick is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more about April, visit AprilMcCormick.com

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