Injecting while label and/or OEM indirect sales channels into your distribution architecture can do lots for boosting sales volume and effectiveness. Why? Just consider the old cliche “it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts,” you will find the answer, just as I found the answer during a seven year career in the contract consulting business. Influential individuals who are well known to enterprise business prospects can do wonders to the success of sales efforts. Look to powerful white label and/or OEM indirect sales partners for the roster of influential individuals that you may need to open targeted enterprise business markets. Better yet, make your indirect partnership decisions, at least in part, based upon the presence of influential individuals within the sales staff rosters of potential white label, OEM indirect sales partner prospects. An influential individual who is well respected by a prospect can deliver critically important credibility to your product and ensure your success.
But augmenting a direct sales force with indirect channel partners can create conflicts as aggressive sales people work an otherwise common territory. Make sure that these conflicts are healthy. Keep in mind that indirect and direct sales efforts can collide within top prospects. Minimize the extent of damage that will result from these collisions by managing the efforts of all sales teams, both indirect and direct. Use forecasts and plans to determine who/what/where/why/how for each and every important sales prospect. Keep in mind that the success of your efforts to manage all sales will hinge on the completeness of information supplied by your sales teams; therefore, you must make sure that every member of the sales effort understands that submitting complete information, as requested, is absolutely mandatory. Be constantly vigilant to ensure that the notorious gaps and ambiguity of standard sales reporting does not become the norm for your sales teams. If you do not succeed, then be prepared to deal with highly negative results should unforeseen collisions occur; in my experience, these negative results undermine the morale of sales teams, motivating producers and laggards to “look to the door.”
Carefully render judgements about sales assignments to ensure that you land the prospects that you want while retaining the committed enthusiasm of your sales teams. This care translates into regular and consistent practice of two rules of thumb:
- Use the most influential sales person you have to carry your standard within his/her “fiefdom” and
- Demarcate “fiefdoms” as early on as you can to keep disappointing experiences to a minimum for other members of the sales staff. There is no harm in posting a “no trespassing” sign as early on as possible; in fact, most sales personnel will appreciate your efforts as you will help them to minimize lost time and effort
Successfully mastering an opportunity to leverage indirect and direct sales teams can spell success for your overall business plan; therefore, make the effort to learn the correct approach and practice it consistently.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2011 All Rights Reserved