Do you know the names of your top Channel Partner sales reps?
Follow me as I blog my way through my book: 99 Questions to Jump Start Your Partner Channel Brain.
Or let me pose the question a different way. If your goal was to increase channel revenue by 30% in the next twelve months, how many cloned-copies of your #1 Channel Partner sales rep would you need? I bet it’s a surprising small number.
No doubt, keeping these people top-of-mind is important… that is, if you know who they are.
Who “owns” YOUR Channel Partner sales rep relationships?
A few years ago I was called in to help a CEO work through a really tough situation. Two of his sales reps had resigned abruptly. As we worked through the issues, my main concern about protecting his end-customers from pilfering by these two reps wasn’t too much of a concern. He had non-compete agreements in place with his sales reps and his attorney was quick on the draw to remind these two of their contractual obligations.
Score 1 for thinking ahead.
However, he did have another problem. All his revenue came through Channel Partners—managed solely by sales reps like the two who had just walked out. Besides these two departed employees, no one else in his company had a relationship with the Channel sales reps. Sure, there was a CRM record with the names, but that was it.
Get well plan
Besides getting his Xanax prescription refilled, my client needed to get busy shoring up some long-ignored, but important, relationships.
Here’s what we put in place:
LinkedIn became our principle tool. We looked for ways to introduce other support team members to our Channel Partners, and at the appropriate time (say, after a webinar), request LinkedIn connections.
And by the way, this included the CEO, too. If he was on the call, he also sent a LinkedIn request.
We had a leaderboard mounted in the sales area with the names of our monthly Top-10 Channel sales reps. At our weekly sales meetings we got a current snapshot from A/R along with some simple trend data.
We also made a game of keeping the CRM updated with other data for each Channel sales rep. Besides the usual name, rank and email address for each Channel rep, in the course of normal conversation we asked for things like:
- Quota (we wanted to know the percentage our products contributed to their overall number)
- Birthday (to send a birthday greeting… no one else does this)
- LinkedIn groups
- Other social media identities (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest)
- Car they drive
- Spouse, children
Since we were only tracking ten people, the burden was tiny. And after a while, it added a new dimension to our business relationships.
I suppose you could say we were stalking our Channel sales reps… and to a certain degree we were.
The payoff? Obvious.