So What Does It Mean to Channel Someone?
Lately I’ve heard the word “channeling” being used more and more frequently. For example, I’ve heard phrases like “the President is channeling President Lincoln”, and “Derek Jeeter is channeling Babe Ruth”. It’s good to emulate or to be inspired by another person. It got me thinking about how sales managers should be able to inspire and motivate their channel partners. Maybe there is something to this channeling. . .
Get Them to Channel You!
You are passionate about your product or service. You would love it if all your channel partners shared your passion and desire to succeed. But, you may be competing with other vendors for critical mindshare and partner loyalty. How can you stand out from the pack and keep top of mind with your sales reps? It may be easier than you think.
Develop a Personal Bond
If you want your channel partners to channel your dedication and commitment to your business, you’re going to have to go out of your way to forge a strong and personal bond with them. They need to know you care about them as individuals, not just as an amorphous group. You need to treat them as well as, if not better, than your own employees. This is going to take time and effort on your part, but the results will be well worth it.
Not Just a Great Rewards Program
A “one size fits all” incentive and reward program is just not going to cut it. But it’s more than just having a rich and varied selection of awards and gifts to choose from. If a channel partner doesn’t feel like a valued and important member of your organization, he or she will not be motivated to go that extra mile for your company. It’s as simple as that.
How to Make This Happen
Spend time upfront with reps coming on board. Offer individual training and coaching in order to influence behaviors earlier in the relationship continuum. Pre-sales behavior development leads to better participation, higher engagement and, ultimately, more profitable partner relationships. Tie incentives and awards to training performance
Bring channel partners into your business planning process. Engage them in market planning, sales strategy, and sales approaches. Build incentives and rewards into the planning process.
Survey your reps to find out their preferences in gifts, awards, and incentives. This will help you tailor your incentive programs to meet individual choices and lifestyles. Remember many reps share awards with family members so be sure to include them in your program planning.
Adapt your communications methods to individual reps’ preferences and proficiencies. Ensure your communications are clear, concise, and personalized to the individual. Also, communicate often, weekly if possible. This keeps you in your rep’s line of sight and within his or her consciousness.
Be sure to include all members of your rep organization in your rewards and incentive programs. Non-sales professionals significantly contribute to the sales process and need to be rewarded for their efforts as well.
Channeling You to Your CustomersIf you adopt a personalized approach to your rep organization, you’re well on your way to building a loyal, dedicated channel sales force. Your reps will not only appreciate the personalized attention, they will be motivated to extend the same kind of consideration and responsiveness to your customers. In effect, they will be channeling you in your marketplace. Now tell me the bad part of that!