How Sales Success Combats Partner Churn
When dealing with distractions and outdated practices becomes part of the daily routine for your Field Sales reps, it’s a sure sign that your Channel Marketing process is so broken it’s actually undermining your Sales Team. In the first three articles of this “Channel Sabotage” series, we’ve examined how traditional Channel Marketing practices can sabotage your sales efforts when your Sales Team is:
- Solving claims and reimbursement issues
- Answering questions about marketing
- Wasting time delivering marketing collateral
In this fourth and final article in the series, we’ll take a look at the impact Partner Churn has on your Brand and the proactive solutions that allow your Sales Team to stay focused on sales.
The Challenge: Partner Churn
It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, losing Partners hurts. Whether you lose a Partner to the competition or have to fire a Partner for poor performance, the cost of replacing that distribution point in you Channel strategy is significant.
Most Brands commit IT resources to help Partners execute marketing and sell their products. This could include CRM software, POS systems and portals to check the latest pricing or promotions. Turning down a Partner that has integrated all these systems requires IT to dedicate time and headcount to terminating access and keeping the Brand secure.
Channel Partners also have significant resources in their possession. Whether this involves demo products or just POS materials, getting a field marketing rep or Channel Sales manager to their location to retrieve these items distracts from their core mission: selling.
Whether the Channel Partner decided to stop carrying your products or was let go for poor performance, this change can harm the Brand’s reputation in that community. Customers that purchased your products from that location or Partner will have questions about the change — and whatever the answers may be, it won’t shine favorably on your Brand.
Finding a new Partner to replace the one you lost also takes tremendous effort. Searching the local community, qualifying that Partner and having them pass all the background and credit checks takes time. Every day that you are onboarding is a day you are losing potential sales.
Assuming that most Brands have extensive qualification checks when adding a new Partner, failure is usually caused by just a couple of factors.
First, the Partner didn’t understand the value of the product or how to effectively position it. This failure falls directly on the Channel Sales team’s shoulders and is most often caused by the Partner not getting enough sales support.
Secondly, the Partner doesn’t market either their business or the Brand’s product effectively. This is most often caused by Partners not participating in Brand marketing. In fact, according to recent Channel Marketing industry research, 75 percent of local businesses don’t participate in Brand marketing programs because they aren’t sure whether it is a good investment. And 57 percent of Partners, who opt not to use Co-Op, decline to participate because the process is so difficult. Failure to market effectively in their local market means less traffic, less sales and maybe loss of their Brand affiliation.
Getting It Right: The SproutLoud Solution
Helping Partners be successful will not only increase total sales but also keep the Partner ecosystem stable. Less churn of Partners means less time, money and effort spent trying to keep the lines of distribution flowing.
SproutLoud has solutions for the major problems that cause Partners to fail.
First, our SaaS-based Partner Portal simplifies Channel Marketing, so more Partners will invest in Brand campaigns. And because Brands can use SproutPay Instant Funding to distribute marketing dollars directly through approved campaign assets, Partners will execute the effective tactics that the Brand prefers.
Because the Brand’s funds are instantly applied, Partners can invest more money in campaigns each month. Better marketing means better sales, which keeps Partners happy and eliminates churn.
As we discussed, helping Partners understand how to probe for need, position products or get customers to close is the responsibility of the Channel Sales team. Partners usually fail here because they haven’t had enough face time with their local Brand representative.
By automating much of the work associated with local campaign execution, SproutLoud removes sales teams from the Channel Marketing equation. With no collateral or promotional items to deliver and most marketing questions being answered by SproutLoud, Channel Sales teams can focus 100 percent of their time with Partners on probing, positioning and closing. That level of coaching helps Partners become much more effective at capturing potential sales.
The Next Evolution of Channel Sales
As a sales leader, you know that success in the Channel can drive exponential growth for your Brand. But the complexity of traditional Channel Marketing processes often leaves the field sales team holding the bag. Tracking down reimbursements, outfitting a store with Brand materials and answering questions about local marketing tactics — all this takes away from the core mission of every great Channel Sales manager: Drive more sales. Losing and replacing Partners in a local market disrupts the flow of distribution and takes days or weeks of productivity away from the Channel team.
At SproutLoud, we have developed local marketing solutions that allow Channel Sales teams to focus on sales. By simplifying the development and execution of Partner campaigns, SproutLoud can remove the burden of administrative work from your field sales team. Because SproutPay Instant Funding takes all the red tape out of paying for local campaigns, your Channel Sales team can spend more time coaching on sales techniques instead of calling a claims processor to hunt down a reimbursement.
SproutLoud improves the effectiveness of Partner marketing by automating the execution of campaigns through best-in-class vendors and providing expert guidance through our Local Marketing Coordinators. If you care about growing your Channel Sales numbers, then SproutLoud is the one marketing tool that your Sales team can’t do without.
Read the previous articles in the Channel Sabotage series:
Gary Ritkes, President of SproutLoud, oversees all Business Development and Marketing for the company. Gary, a pioneer in the emerging vertical of Distributed Marketing Technology, is an industry leader and innovator with 20+ years experience in graphic communications and marketing strategy. Gary has been involved with SproutLoud since the inception of the company. Prior to joining SproutLoud, Gary was VP of Marketing for Rex Three, Inc., SproutLoud’s first and largest vendor among its network of providers. He has served many Fortune 1000 clients and worldwide advertising agencies in providing marketing technology direction and optimization. He was an original founder of U.S. based Earth Color Group and co-founder of Advanced Digital Services (ADS), which was sold in 1996 to publicly traded Katz Digital Technologies. He has served as a board member of the local chapter of the American Advertising Federation chapter and other national industry associations, including the DMA and AGA.