For mass-market manufacturers, it’s important to work with channel partners such as retailers, distributors, and other kinds of vendors to get their products out. But striking these channel partners is one thing—ensuring your partners succeed is another.
And while some manufacturers may just want to focus on creating products to ship, it can be argued that best-selling products are a result of the best partnerships with sellers. Hence, here are five ways to encourage channel partners to become more productive:
Supply them with all the necessary marketing collaterals
Selling items are already time-consuming. What more trying to create brochures, flyers, and other marketing materials for your products? That’s why it’s important to give your channel partners a set of materials they can use from the get-go. This way, they can start selling right away and not spend time creating collaterals.
Besides, some partners may not even have the resources or the skills to make these materials. By offering a set of collaterals for their use, you also help solidify your branding and messaging among your sellers.
Establish a clear reward system
Nothing is as frustrating as working hard to reach a certain quota or level, then realizing that you’re not qualified for it after all. This does happen with some manufacturers, who may end up changing the rules for obtaining specific rewards during a specific timeframe. So as much as possible, try to avoid switching up rewards for your sellers.
Should you really need to do so, do it at the end of a certain time period (such as a quarter or a year) to minimize confusion? Make sure to also inform all retailers in advance before making any changes.
To streamline your rewards system creation, consider using a channel incentive platform designed specifically for this purpose. Such smart solutions will help you come up with best-in-class programs that will allow you to create the competitive advantage you need.
Keep lines of communication open
Channel partners may end up garnering leads that may be interested in your products, but they may not completely be able to close the deal due to lack of information. To avoid this kind of situation, make sure to have point persons who are easy to email or call when partners have any concerns.
Make payments easy
It’s a common gripe among different channel partners: you may have moved hundreds of units for a specific product, yet at the end of the month, you’ll still end up having problems cashing out. This is sadly true for both independent sellers and even bigger retailers.
One way to get around this is by establishing an easy-to-follow payment system, preferably an automated and electronic one. That way, not only will channel partners easily reap the fruits of their hard work—by automating processes, accounting departments are also spared the hassle of dealing with paperwork.
Offer a way to connect and collaborate with other partners
While channel partners may all sell the same products that you offer, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re competing against each other. Hence, it’s important to build a community around your partners so they can help each other out if needed.
For example, one partner may have discovered a more effective strategy to sell your products. If that partner is willing to share that strategy with his peers, then you should just let him share his knowledge. After all, if you’re the manufacturer of the products, it doesn’t matter who makes the sale—you’ll benefit either way.
These five ways are just some of the many options manufacturers can utilize to improve channel partner productivity. By implementing these, companies can look forward to accelerating the growth of their joint ventures.