Grow Reseller Network

Creating, managing and developing
sales partners

To build a successful reseller revenue generator, a manufacturer helps their resellers get the right product to the right place at the right price and at the right time. As end user companies reduce their staff, they increasingly rely on their vendors to perform the analysis previously performed by colleagues.

To achieve this, manufacturers now use technology previously unavailable to:

  • Improve access to end user data from channel partners
  • Manage growing customer expectations
  • Empower end customer loyalty discount programs
  • Empower resellers’ customer service reps, who often have more first hand knowledge about the end customer companies, industry, needs

Yet the hot technologies of today may become discarded metal shards and shavings of tomorrow. Remember Chemdex — the 2000 hot online marketplace for chemicals, enzymes, lab equipment sales?

To avoid getting sucked into endless technology spend, to chase an elusive pay back, a lean methodology can get you to your goals faster, with less risk, less waste, and more productivity.

Reseller Network Goals

  • Increase sales through wider, deeper partner network
  • Increase profitability through higher conversions of leads
  • Increase reach by gaining access to closed markets through partners with established relationships
  • Increase accuracy and insights Improve individual sales performance
  • Reduce sales operations costs
  • Reduce complexity

Here’s Your How To:

We have seen many examples of manufacturers who when stung by dead-end solutions and technologies, grow more cautious and institute risk management systems — all of which contribute to insuring that the next project fails with longer rollouts and higher costs.

The manufacturers who escape this escalating cycle of bad investments apply the same lean principles used on their manufacturing floor to their reseller network.

1. Adopt an iterative and adaptive methodology.

  • Constantly evaluate what is needed to learn to make improvements
  • Design assessments and metrics to see if and when they achieved this learning
  • Initiate small projects to generate the data for evaluation.Examples
    As a reseller of medical devices I want (goal/desire) so that (benefit)As a reseller of RF coaxial cables I want to provide my resellers with a cable demonstration board so they can demonstrate the ruggedness and flexibility of the cables compared to competitors’ cables.As a reseller of Fire safety devices for flammable fluids I want a set of application stories so that I can help my customers better visualize how these safety devices work in their companies.

 2. Highly Collaborative Teams

Establish an “always selling” culture by bringing your entire enterprise into sales funnel process, including all employees and existing customers. The front office of sales, marketing and customer service work in concert to understand the goals, brainstorm the options available and determine what learning needs to be accomplished to make continuous progress.Consider your Channel Partners as Extensions of Your Own Business by providing:

  • Useful tools to help them build their business.
    For example, would the pricing and configuration tools developed for your internal sales staff make your channel partners more efficient and effective if they had access to similar tools?
  • Online Training
    Example: Avaya University

3. Work in Series of Short Cycles

By scheduling marketing releases in small batches, you will quickly learn what features your resellers find useful – and which ones are not. By learning early what your resellers use and what they don’t  prevents you from spinning wheels in time and money on features that won’t generate money, and allow you to concentrate your investments on the features that demonstrate real value to your reseller partners. Each demonstration project should take only 1-4 weeks to complete.

4. Incorporate Rapid Feedback

No need to spend a full quarter to learn that the resellers are not interested in your brilliant idea, never mind years of polishing a tool that may be a dud when finally introduced. By rolling out programs with minimal, incremental features, you will quickly learn what resellers want and what they don’t care about. At the end of each sprint, evaluate the metrics achieved to decide what to keep doing, what to stop doing, what to start doing, and what to do more or less.

5. Transparency among all stakeholders

Our most brilliant ideas sometimes have unanticipated consequences, so it is vital that the entire team evaluate each initiative. To quote George Trachilis, “When we uncover waste, we should celebrate that we found the problem, not try to find out who caused it.” Creating an atmosphere of shared learning avoids the blame game and makes the team members stronger individually and collectively. The size of a cross-functional team working collaboratively is typically between 4-8 people who are able to participate in a 15-minute daily standup meeting to review the previous day’s accomplishments, the priorities for the day, and any impediments to be addressed.

Get started

  • Map selling processes by customer type.
  • Map processes “outside in” from the customer perspective.
  • Define partner roles. For high-profit scenarios, define the desired experience, guidelines for collaborating with partners.
  • Collaborate with partners on standards.
  • Distribute information distributed to partners in real-time (Example: can partners log into your system to check past orders, open orders, case studies, P&ID diagrams by industry application, etc.)

Additional Reading

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