Channel Management Solutions to Common Key Issues
Business especially in the Information Technology sector is becoming more and more complex with new technology evolving continuously at rapid pace. There are variety of distribution channels that a product goes through from vendor to customer and managing those Best Free IPTV subscription require enormous amounts of patience and hard work. The middlemen behind the distributions include system integrators, solution providers, wholesalers, VARs or Value Added Resellers, and Affiliates. Each is different and each requires different strategies and channel management solutions to address these issues.
The three main issues facing channel partners are:
1. Customer Service – Efficient customer service equals customer satisfaction which will further result to customer loyalty. The vendor is not the only beneficiary or customer loyalty. How reseller packages, promotes, and sell the product differentiates that resellers from resellers of the same vendor. Another important factor to consider is the follow-up after a customer purchases the product, a reseller have to be available to answer questions or assist customer in getting replacement if there’s a problem with the product.
Value Added Resellers or VARs have greater interaction with customers compared to regular resellers. For VARs, their commitment to the customer extends to consultation, installation, integration, and training. With vertical markets as their main focus, there are very few products experts available to demonstrate the new product. VARs are often trained with specialized certifications depending on the products they sell. In order to succeed, they need to be experts on the products they are selling in order to address questions the customer may have before and after the purchase.
2. Channel Partner Incentives – A very important issue is the profitability and viability of channel partners or resellers. The vendors are not the sole company that has to earn income. As independent firms or companies, channel partners have to be clear on “what’s in it for them.” At the core of every successful channel partner program, are the incentives and bonuses that motivate their sales team to strive hard to close sales.
There are varieties of allowances allotted to channel partners. Each case is different as much as vendors and resellers are different. But these incentives may include the following: warehousing allowance, shipping allowance, and marketing allowance.
3. Conflict Management – In every channel partner program, one concern that most grieve channel managers are called channel conflict. This issue can encompass channel to channel and channel to vendor relationships. Conflicts can be small and inane non issues easily solved through better communication but some issues are just too big and complicated that could lead to dissolution of partnership. Like a disease, conflict can spread rapidly in the whole organization, infecting other channels and disrupting the smooth flow of sales activity if not stopped. And just like a communicable disease, prevention is better than cure.
Conflicts in channel management come in the form of too much competition. In the case of reseller A vs. reseller B from the same vendor, it could be a simple case of territorial dispute. Generally, it’s better to separate resellers to avoid these kinds of conflict. Channel vs. vendor conflict sometimes result from vendor’s pulling the rug under a partner by closing deals with customers previously in talks with a partner. Creating and developing policies with clear SOP stamped on it will help alleviate some of the conflicts that will inevitably rise from the partnership.