From the hundreds of channel chiefs we’ve spoken to - it’s clear there are two problematic trends which are affecting channel management when it comes to lead distribution. Either, companies simply aren’t doing it, wasting marketing dollars by letting sales leads go stale, or they are using spreadsheets as their lead management system - and it’s just not working. To make matters worse, most tech vendors aren't leveraging all their partners for lead follow-up because they only engage with 20% of their partners regularly.
What if you could develop a stronger relationship with the other 80% of your channel without having to expend 80% more effort?
Here's the truth: Well managed leads are the best starting point towards your business’s growth; even minor slips in their handling can easily spell the difference between losing and gaining a new customer. If you haven't streamlined lead distribution to your indirect sales channel then you're missing out on a lot of business.
Are you: not doing it at all?
This first trend is all too common, after a successful marketing campaign you receive multiple leads (probably in another spreadsheet) and they are shelved until someone can deal with them. Once someone finds some free time, they assign the leads to your top performers (don’t lie to us - it’s usually the top performers) and you begin receiving email after email from partners marking the lead as cold or dead - snatched up by a competitor or dropped off the face of the earth.
Are you: still sending around spreadsheets?
Spreadsheet software is a great piece of technology, its uses are undeniably far-reaching (we’re big fans of the VLOOKUP function). However, using spreadsheets as a lead management system is a disaster that is waiting to, and according to most of our customers - has already happened.
Scenario - You come back from a tradeshow with several hundred leads. You’d usually segment these into a set of spreadsheets, email them to partners for follow up and start the waiting game.
Result: In both cases, you have virtually no visibility into lead follow up.
Enter: Streamlined Lead Distribution
How can you fix this? In Territory, Training, Technology: Best-in-class channel sales management, Aberdeen Group shows that supporting channel partner efforts by enabling platforms and processes, results in time savings, cost reduction, and revenue increases.
Instead, you could upload the information into your CRM and use automated workflows to sort and assign the leads to the appropriate partners. While you are managing leads in Salesforce CRM, they are updated and synchronized via integration with your PRM community portal where each partner is notified that they have new leads. Now, your partners can log into the secure portal, review the leads assigned to them and start the follow up immediately. Tasks, activities, and notes can be added to each lead record which provides complete visibility into their status for the Channel Manager.
With a modern lead management system, your channel strategy becomes proactive rather than reactionary. Your team now has real insight into partner activity. Your channel managers can monitor, engage and support your partners in real time instead of waiting for updates which they have to manually incorporate into a messy master list.
By automating lead distribution in a collaborative partner relationship management portal you make sure all your channel partners are being included, supported and managed effectively from one central, mobile-friendly hub of activity so they can respond from anywhere. Instead of manually requesting all status updates and follow-ups which leaves room for error, you can automate follow up tasks and have contextual conversations on lead records within the PRM community portal.
By integrating your PRM with your CRM you are actively supporting channel success with channel partner relationship management. With automated lead distribution, you’ll see faster follow up, get full visibility into partner sales activity and ultimately increase your win rates so those marketing investments pay off!
Questions? (i.e. How can I make partner lead management less of pain in the budget and more of a transparent source of revenue?) Get in touch with our team - we’ve got the answers you need for effective, modern, channel management.