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    How to create outstanding sales growth with channel partners

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    Channel partners can be a major source of high-profit revenue growth with the right business model. A great channel partner operates as an extended sales team, bringing in new business and nurturing accounts on your behalf, without the payroll.

    Yet working with channel partners creates challenges, as well. Compared to an in-house sales team, a channel partner has a great deal more autonomy, and their sales pipeline may be a bit of a black box to you.

    You may generate leads for them, with them, or let them generate their own leads. However you approach it, there’s a good chance that once you hand off the lead, you have very little visibility into what happens from that point unless you call them or they call you. This also makes it difficult to aggregate a complete picture of the pipeline that you generate with your channel partners.

    Additionally, you want to help your partners create more business and grow their revenue with you, and you want to give them the tools to be successful. But historically, it’s been difficult to collaborate on a day-to-day basis to ensure that your partners are fully enabled to make the most of your partnership.

    I believe that Membrain’s new account growth module changes that. Here’s how to use Membrain to manage channel partners and deliver outstanding sales results.

    1. Segment your partners

    Just like with customers, some partners are worth more than others. Your first step should be to create a segmentation and prioritization model. At Membrain, we use three scorecards for this purpose: one to score the potential of the partnership (company size, number of engagements, brand strength, etc.,) another one that scores the alignment (type of clients, process-focused, tech-savvy,) and a third to measure commitment (growth-minded, partnership-focused.) We then visualize these partnerships on a grid with the most promising and committed partners “top right.”

    2. Create goals and a collaborative selling plan

    Once you know which partners to focus on, you need to make the most of your partnership by collaborating with them on goals and a selling plan.

    Just as you would develop a sales strategy and process for your internal teams, go through the same steps with your channel partners, focusing on their needs and how you will help them meet their goals.

    Whether you’re using Membrain, or any other platform, or no platform, it’s critical to make sure that you and your channel partners are on the same page, and that they know the best way to make the most of the relationship.

    Just as you would develop a sales plan for your internal teams, go through the same steps with your channel partners.

    However, alone, a plan is only a plan. Unless you make it informative and actionable - and provide the resources to execute on it - it’s likely that most channel partners will not follow through.

    3. Enable sales execution and guided selling

    When your channel partners are enabled by Membrain, you can build the process, playbooks, checklists, sales content, and training material directly into their daily workflows.

    This helps to guide them through the strategy and process that you co-created with them, while simultaneously providing you with unprecedented insight into their pipelines so you can:

    • Forecast sales from your channels for full transparency
    • Coach each partner to jointly set targets and for each deal in their pipeline
    • Prepare for deals as they come in and be prepared to collaborate in fulfillment
    • Coach and assist channel partners in getting more out of your partnership

    4. Collaborate with the selling process

    Another benefit of using Membrain’s account growth module to enable your channel partners is that the platform also enables unprecedented collaboration. You can work with your channel partners to determine when and under what conditions you can help them with a sale, and build that collaboration into the process.

    In this way, your internal teams can be prepared to step in seamlessly based on best practices. This provides the smoothest and most effective customer experience for the end customer and provides the best support for your partners.

    5. Manage and track the process

    Finally, Membrain’s account growth module enables you to manage and track the sales process so that you can continually optimize how you work with your channel partners to bring in new business.

    You can do this both at the individual channel partner level and by comparing data and insights across channel partners. What you learn with one partner, can be applied with all partners.

    When we set out to develop the best account growth tool out there, we knew it was needed in the marketplace. Only after developing the early access version did we realize the potential it has to also transform the channel partnership world.

    I’m excited to show you how companies like yours can use it in this way. Contact me today for a demo.

    George Brontén
    Published July 8, 2020
    By George Brontén

    George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills and processes.

    Find out more about George Brontén on Twitter or LinkedIn