Infosys and Salesforce accelerate enterprises in their journey to be a cloud-based customer centric organization. We deliver engaging customer experiences, drive smarter business decisions and co-create new business opportunities.

« Salesforce CPQ Order types - An Introduction | Main | Infosys @ AHIP - Day 1 »

How engaged is your indirect channel?

Over the last few years, the channel sales role has gained importance with over grown array of products and services, changing customer preferences, demands of service based sales, digitized business models and zoomed revenue targets. A glance through their journey manifests their evolution from being a Value-Added Reseller to be an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Distributor, Independent Software Vendor (ISV) and System Integrator (SI). In fact, with this progression, today, their contribution in gross sales improvement across industry verticals especially Telecom and Manufacturing is significant. In alignment with this growth trajectory, the process of handling the Channel Partner activities has also evolved from on paper based registration and tracking to excel based monitoring to solutions providing online management of all Partner Management activities. Well the progression hasn't been enough!

Today, even with plethora of solutions available in the market for channel partner management, still a large percentage of organizations either do not have a channel enablement solution or effective coaching and training mechanisms or ways of addressing the common challenges associated with the channel partner management personas. A quick browse through few challenges reveals problems exist at both the sides of Channel Sales - Channel Partners and Channel Managers: -  

  • Channel conflicts management
  • Lack of Self- service for Partners
  • Manual or obsolete methods of Partner evaluation, performance monitoring and tier calculation.
  • Absence of collaboration between the various persons of Partner Admins, Partners or Channel Managers.
  • Lack of a centralized system for Sales, Service, CPQ functions along with partner data visibility
  • Manual budget approval, allocation and claims
  • User Experience oriented system which is intuitive to use and easy to navigate
  • Accessible on and off field.

Time for a renovation!

After a browse through the changing scenario and challenges, let us speak of some design elements of an ideal Channel Partner Management (CPM) solution to aid the Channel Partner Management program. To provide coverage for a typical Channel Partner lifecycle, the solution should entail some of the following building blocks -

  1. Partner Enablement - In this era of technology advancement, organizations are increasingly investing into training and certifying their partners which should also be captured to make up the Partner 360-degree view in the system.
  2. Deal Registration - Very often the Partners face the brunt of channel conflicts because of the same deal being worked out by 2 different partners operating within the same territory. An effectual CPM solution should have features like - Territory assignment to Partners, Deal Registration features, Duplicate deal checks. 
  3. Integrated CPQ functions - A partner can be successful if he understands the CPQ functions of the organization like for which product what add- on are allowed, what pricing should be followed for a product category, what attributes should be configured for a product and what is the Quotation cycle etc. All these Configure, Price and Quote capabilities should be mashed up in the Partner solution for the Partner to be able to communicate the right bundle to the customer as well as curate the right opportunity during the various stages of the deal.
  4. Post-Sales Support - A Channel Partner solution will never be complete without the feature of being able to provide post-sales support - Complaints, Issues, Inquiries etc.
  5. Financial Control - The Channel Partner Management solution should offer finance capture and control features using which the Channel Manager should be able to allocate funds for market development activities and the Channel Partner should be able to spend the amount as well as claim for it.
  6. Intelligent Analytics - The success of any program relies on effective data usage, mining and analysis for intelligent decisions and evaluations. Intelligent Analytics, a key element of the CPM solution should offer personalized reports and dashboards for the Channel Manager, PMO and management to be able to gauge the efficacy of the partner as well as have a view of his performance over designated periods.
  7. Collaboration - A critical success factor of a CPM solution is Effective Engagement of the Partners. Use of collaborative features like Chat, Chatbot, Announcements, periodic surveys, feedback mechanisms etc. help take a rain check of how aligned are your partners with your brand, vision and expectations.
  8. User Experience - A solution cannot be a success without a great User Experience. Unless the users find it easy, intuitive and simple to use the solution with its knockout features will remain so in words. Drive adoption with Ux sensation!
  9. Application & Data Security - Yet another key aspect, application and data security features should be carefully decided and awarded to the different personas of Partner Admins, Partners and Channel Managers. The security matrix deployed should be able to provide the required feature and data access as per the defined role and permissions list while aligning to corporate security standards. 

            In an ecosystem wherein, Channel Partners are becoming crucial to the success of business, enterprises need an effective channel partner program abetted with an apt partner relationship management solution for aligning the Channel Partners to the corporate strategy and making them a part of their vision. At Infosys, based on experiential analysis, we have curated Channel Partner Solutions to help organizations take their engagement model with the Channel Partners to the next level. The solution offers a comprehensive set of technology features and business processes to help Manufacturers and Telcos spin a rewarding customer experience for their customers while walking the road with their Channel Partners. To know more about the solution and see it at work, visit Infosys at Dreamforce, Booth# 631. With Infosys, we say Happy Partnering!  

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Please key in the two words you see in the box to validate your identity as an authentic user and reduce spam.