This is the fifth and final blog in a multi-part series entitled “Prioritize Efficiency in Your Digital Transformation Journey.”
The Global Importance of Indirect Sales Channels
With the 2023 NBA All-Star game in the bag, and March Madness just around the corner, it seems an appropriate time for partner-enabled organizations to make a “T” motion with their hands, call a huddle, and go over that killer strategy that is going to win it all right at the buzzer. Sure, direct-to-consumer became a fad, born out of necessity, during the pandemic, but today businesses are relying more and more on channel distribution and indirect sales models. In fact, according to Forrester, channel or partner sales represent 75% of the world’s commerce. Moreover, maximizing the productivity of partners is even more important during an economic downturn, as businesses must do more with less. The upshot of all of this is that Salesforce provides powerful partner enablement tools that can be leveraged to enhance partner experience. This, in turn, will result in channel expansion, more co-selling and cross-selling, and, you guessed it, more revenue. But first, let’s look at the common challenges facing channel sales partners.
Common Partner Enablement Challenges
“If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, neither will your prospect.” – Frank Bettger
Try to imagine the world’s worst basketball team. Chances are, they possess many of the same characteristics as a partner-challenged organization. You wouldn’t make your team play barefoot or without access to water, so why would you expect channel partners to perform well without adequate resources and support? Unfortunately, this is all-too-often the case, even in Fortune 500 organizations. Limited training and development resources – coupled with a lack of marketing direction and collaboration – is a fatal combo that often creates a situation in which your partners struggle to grasp the unique value proposition(s) of your products/services and are unable to differentiate themselves in crowded segments filled with competitive noise. Even worse, without the proper tools, partners often have little to no visibility into your sales pipeline, leaving them in a reactive state of disarray that gives better equipped competition an edge when it comes to go-to-market execution. Finally, competing priorities may cause partners to run in a hundred different directions with no single source of truth pointing them towards a common end goal. What a mess! But there’s hope yet.
The Digital Partner Enablement Playbook
“I fear not the person who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the person who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee
So your hapless basketball team of an organization is struggling to sink even a single field goal. Have no fear – digital partner enablement is here. With this playbook in hand, you’ll be able to turn the season around just in time for the playoffs and make a run for the championship. The beauty of digital partner enablement is that once you implement it, you can sit back on the sidelines and watch your partners run circles around the competition. Your organization will enjoy greater partner efficiency via streamlined processes and access to information and resources that sharpen the in-field selling skills of your partners. You’ll enjoy the benefits of happier customers via improved customer experience since your partners are playing at the top of their game. You and your partners will enjoy access to better data and analytics, which helps all of you make more informed business decisions and anticipate market movements, as opposed to merely reacting to them. Finally, you’ll enjoy increased sales and revenue. At the end of the day, sales is the name of the game, and your partners are the players who will take your sales to new heights with the right playbook. But this half-time pep talk isn’t quite over yet. Let’s talk tactics.
The Secret Play They’ll Never See Coming: Salesforce Partner Resource Management
“The best competition I have is against myself, to become better.” – John Wooden
Salesforce is good at a lot of things. One of them is Partner Resource Management (PRM), and it very well may be the secret play that helps your partner-enabled organization win market share. From centralized data management to automation and processes, Salesforce PRM empowers businesses to streamline vital information and mechanize repetitive tasks, leading to higher efficiency and faster reaction times.
Chatter, the Salesforce tool for communication and collaboration, allows partners to engage with each other and your organization in real time. What’s more, robust analytics and reporting capabilities – with the ability to be customized to fit your team’s specific needs – gives you and your partners crucial feedback that will improve performance every time you hit the court. For businesses with globally distributed partner networks, Salesforce offers mobile access, enhanced scalability, and seamless integration with other systems, so you won’t be boxed out by the limits of your tech stack.
Go for the Four-Point Play with Salesforce Rebate Management
Finally, and perhaps most importantly for organizations reliant on complex distribution networks and channel sales, Salesforce now provides Rebate Management functionality as an extension of its Manufacturing Cloud offering. With Rebate Management from Salesforce, manufacturers can automate and modernize the arduous and time-intensive process of incentive program management with benefits such as total partner visibility into threshold attainment and rebate payouts, reduction of overpayments by finance, and insight into rebate program ROI.
Just as a head coach can’t play the game themselves and must instead equip their players with the tools they need to win on the basketball court, organizations that rely on distribution networks must equip their partners with the tools they need to win in the marketplace. Salesforce offers a robust suite of partner enablement tools that will empower both organizations and their partners with enhanced technology that reduces friction, improves communication, and increases revenue.
Argano has helped dozens of companies across a variety of industries empower their channel partners with digital portals built on the Salesforce platform.
If you found this content valuable, check out the other posts in our Prioritize Efficiency in Your Digital Transformation series: