The benefits of implementing and improving a channel sales strategy are clear. The complexities that come with it aren’t. Only by improving policies and processes through measuring what matters can organizations continue iterating on what success looks like today and tomorrow.
For those overseeing channel sales, you know there is a ton you can measure… but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Understanding which channel sales KPIs to track depends on the stage of your channel sales strategy — do you already have a few partners, are just getting started, or have a robust team managing the entire process?
It also depends on where you want to focus your time and effort. We can only pull so many levers at one time — focusing on the right ones at the right time is critical. Whether it’s partner recruitment metrics, onboarding success, or comparing direct to indirect sales, knowing the why behind what to measure matters. That’s because measuring the right KPIs can turn a mediocre channel partnership into a mutually beneficial, highly lucrative relationship.
If you’re new to channel sales this guide will help set the foundation for the channel sales KPIs you should focus on — and if you’re a more experienced channel sales expert, we’re sure you’ll find a KPI or two that you haven’t thought about yet.
Setting the Stage for Channel Sales Success
The way companies discover, manage, and measure channel sales processes and partners is shifting from generic to specific — meaning what you measure matters even more.
Before robust lead management and routing tools came along, companies had to implement blanket policies and procedures across their channel sellers. They couldn’t route the leads to the best partner because…well, they didn’t know who that was! And if they did, usually the manual tasks of locating, emailing, confirming, and managing with spreadsheets, delayed lead response time significantly. They also couldn’t contrast and compare partners or even indirect versus direct sales without having to manually gather and analyze data.
Because there are a wide variety of channel sales strategies a company can engage in, understanding what channels you’ve mastered and where you want to go next will be foundational in understanding what KPIs matter most to your organization.
Types of Channel Sales Partners
Whether you’re deep into the world of channel sales or are just getting your toes wet, understanding the differences between each type of channel sales partner can help set you up for long-term success.
Look at this list and see what type of channel sales partnerships your organization utilizes. Maybe there is an opportunity to expand into a new category or shift your focus on a channel that shows potential.
Resellers: Purchases your goods and resells them to an end consumer
Distributors: An intermediary who resells your product to another business who then sells to the end consumer
Affiliates: Where one company refers leads to another company
Wholesalers: An intermediary who resells large quantities of another company’s products to a retailer
Marketing Agencies: Partners or organizations that help create advertisements and generate traffic to your products
Value-Added Resellers: A business that purchases a product from other companies – usually within the IT industry – and adds value by bundling it with additional products or for the purpose of reselling.
Independent Retailers: Independently owned businesses who sell many companies’ products
Dealers: Sell specific products directly to end consumers such as car dealers
Agents: An intermediary Individual who facilitates the sales and buying processes between two organizations
First Steps to Create a Channel Sales Strategy
Maybe you’ve had a boss who came up with ideas on a whim without any real strategy to measure the success behind them. The same thing often happens in establishing channel sale opportunities — an organization often picks a type of channel sales tactic to pursue without thinking about the long-term strategy.
Each type of channel sales partnership comes with its own unique challenges and opportunities. Like any decision, the organization should always be thinking about the why first and the how second. Why do you want to expand into wholesale, resell, or affiliate marketing? Each channel will have a different why — and once you know the why you can get into the how.
The how is the actual strategy behind implementing, improving, or expanding channel sales. Rather than starting with the steps your organization plans to take to achieve a certain goal, think first about the goal you’re trying to achieve and work backwards from there.
If you work in channel sales, you know how difficult it can be to manage all the moving pieces. From finding and training partners to managing distribution, it can be hard to keep track of it all. Keep in mind that the best business goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound!
There are tools to increase channel sales by empowering their policies, processes, and analyses with an end-to-end lead routing and management platform. From lead enrichment to customized channel sales KPIs dashboards, we enable our customers to transform their channel sales from complex and chaotic to simple and slick.
To equip their sales teams with the best chance of closing sales successfully, the real estate industry responds to the challenges of channel sales with effective lead management systems.