ChannelVision Magazine

channel management Telecom suppliers are guilty of over- training their direct sales teams on the sales process and expecting the agent channel to figure it out on their own. Then, suppliers hold agents accountable for meeting expectations on pitching a prod- uct that was never properly relayed. Let’s look at three very simple ways to improve the success of your channel in 2018: Focus on the agent and not how great you are: Refine your presentation decks to show agents what is in it for them – not how big, great and wonder- ful your organization is. Focus on how whatever you are presenting will affect them, and make that the central point of the presentation. If your product will open doors for them to sell other prod- ucts, then show how that is done, and focus on examples of where it worked. If your product will make the agent a millionaire, show them the steps to take to make that happen. You will connect with many more partners by aligning on the drivers that fuel their business. Case studies over collateral: Present your information by showing partners real world examples of how you sell your service. Go through the steps that were taken to make the sale instead of the wonderful technology behind the service that you are selling. Unless you have a product or service that is truly unique (and good luck find- ing that), your technology can always be matched and made cheaper. It is the way that you educate your custom- ers on that technology and “how” it will impact their business that makes the biggest difference in selling. Stop throwing quotes at the wall to see what sticks: If you are never com- petitive on dedicated internet, stop tak- ing hundreds of requests with the hope of selling 1 or 2 percent of the quotes that you send out. Focus on a product or service that you truly shine at, and spend time and effort educating partners on how you win. If you lose 99 out of 100 times in a commodity application, you have far less of a chance that the agent channel will actually think of you positively for the technology that you are most effective at selling. Furthermore, suppliers waste precious human capital by spending countless hours on quotes that they simply will not win. You want your agents to get in the customer’s door with a service that they are most comfortable with, then think about all of the tricks in their bag once they secure trusted advisor status. As a niche supplier, you will win many more times by letting the partner sell a com- modity internet circuit and then bringing you in afterward to layer in your solution than to try and be all things to all peo- ple. In the end, you’ll lose the commod- ity game that you aren’t well positioned in and never get the chance to discuss the services that make you stand out. As an agent, don’t stop once you get your ink on the easy stuff. Once the commodity sale is won, you can now go back in and set a meeting to discuss all of the items that you have in your bag. Focus on solutions to problems relat- ing in soft cost savings, not hard dollar savings. Many times you will discover that the customer has budget to spend more money on services that will en- hance their own network stability, and you won’t get to that conversation if you don’t go back and ask for it. Simon Sinek tells us to “Start with Why” in our selling conversations, but to get to that point, we need to work to- gether on both sides of the channel to understand the how. Improving that dialog in 2018 may just yield a few more Presi- dent’s Club trips in your collective future. Happy selling, Happy New Year! o Bruce Wirt has 15 years in channel sales leadership and is cur- rently the channel chief at Telesystem, which includes the LSI organi- zation as well. Connect with him on LinkedIN to share your success stories. 37 January - February, 2018 | Channel Vision