It’s time to get more coordinated with your channels than ever before, because collaboration is a competitive strength that you can’t afford to lose during this recession. Here are ten strategies for fighting this recession with your channels – because no one is coming out of these hard times without building some exceptionally strong relationships. Let’s get the illusion out of the way that any manufacturer – or company for that matter - can get through this recession completely on their own.
Here are ten strategies for surviving this recession with your channels:
- Get your channel partners to have skin in the game and re-engaged. Now is the time to get your channel partners refocused on the goals you both share, and consider re-evaluating the shared goals to make them attainable by your working together. Channel partners need to have skin in the game like never before.
- Face time is key today. Get out and spend time with each reseller, channel partner, retailer and distributor to see what they need.
- Buzz for new products needs to start with your channels. Instead of being focused on how you can generate buzz through massive marketing spending, start by getting your channel partners into the launch of new products well before the actual launch date by asking for and acting on their feedback.
- Don’t give pricing concessions, give co-op instead. Don’t resort to price discounting to just keep your channel partners focused. Go after more spending between both you and your channel partners by increasing co-op spending and use Market Development Funds (MDF) to protect key channels.
- Create new opportunities for growth by looking at new vertical markets. In the last recession the best defense that many channel partners pursued was finding a niche of being strong in a given vertical market. That’s critical in this downturn as well – help your channel partners find that vertical strength.
- Get Special Pricing Requests automated. Get away from having your channel partners wait to get special pricing on deals approved; automate this process and you’ll be able to win more deals as a result.
- Accelerate new product introductions into the first half of the year. Competing by re-defining product generations in their industries is going to be one of the most pervasive competitive strategies in 2009.
- Make sales and product configuration pay. Get your channels onboard with sales and product configuration strategies and use these applications as the basis for giving your channels and opportunity to sell more. Get new products launched quickly through product and selling configuration strategies to further differentiate.
- Escalate sales leads through channel collaboration systems, not manually. Getting sales leads to channel partners and quickly escalating them to the best possible reseller is also critical right now. Get out and spend time with resellers specifically on this issue to make sure you know what they need in this area – and walk through the best approach you can serve them with leads.
- Get a Dealer Advisory Council created now, even if it is held online and through WebEx, to get insights into your channel partners’ unmet needs. You can go big on this and hold an offsite or you can do it virtually – but either way you need to get your channel partners’ unmet needs captured and concentrate on how to collaborate with them more closely than ever before.
Bottom line: Consider these ten channel strategies for making your relationships with channel partners stronger, more resilient, more profitable today.