When you sell through a channel, there are plenty of benefits over direct sales. Partners, dealerships, resellers, and more can sell your product for you, freeing you from the burden of finding and selling to customers. Unfortunately, there are some downsides to this, since you may not know exactly who is buying your products—and you don’t necessarily have control over how your indirect reps are positioning or selling your products.
With inside sales, you know not only who is buying your product, but also where they are located and what their buying behavior is. Your team does the research, the outreach, the sale, the marketing, and the reports. You have all the information you need at your fingertips. But when you sell through a channel, that information often isn’t there. You know your product is being sold, but you don’t necessarily know to whom.
With a channel incentive program, you reward partner sales reps for completing sales. These reps typically must submit their sales in the form of an invoice or verifiable sales data in order to get paid. Most of the time, the orders are simply checked for authenticity and then discarded. However, that information can be incredibly useful.
Look Beyond The Invoice
If you only look at your channel incentives program as a way to reward reps, you are missing out on potential insight into your channel. By taking the information your reps enter and analyzing the data, you are able to learn about your customers and market to them more appropriately. This self-education will also allow you to prepare training materials and documentation to use with your indirect sales reps in order to ensure consistent messaging is going out from all angles.
Set More Accurate Benchmarks and KPIs
Any sales data that comes into your channel incentives program can be used to measure your program’s success. If you analyze the information of the sale beyond simply item quantities, you will be able to understand more of your channel. In fact, you can establish new KPIs and create success benchmarks that were beyond your scope of knowledge before. Look for patterns in the data and track it. By monitoring this information, you can see how your channel is performing against previous promotions.
Uncover Hidden Potential
There is also the chance for you to learn of an entirely new audience that you never considered before. You may think your product could only be used by one group of people, but when you incentivize your products, your reps will, in all likelihood, get creative with who they sell to in order to boost their potential for higher rewards. Some might go off the beaten path to find new customers, which could help you expand your customer base. If this is the case, it also helps to maintain a two-way conversation with your channel partners; if you see a new audience emerging through your channel, find out precisely why these people started buying your products when they may not have before.
The potential uses for the sales information you receive from your channel are endless, as long as you take the time to examine the data!
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