Our Tradewinds Council © https://www.jimthomasintl.com/the-tradewinds-councilcopy.html members continue to focus on tweaking their channel partner model. The December 2018 blog focused on programs, this blog will focus on creating an environment where channel partner and manufacturers regularly set the pace of their relationship in a collaborative meeting format.
Most manufacturers find out that having fewer, but more devoted distributors is most effective. Mindshare and time share are the critical elements for partner success. https://www.jimthomasintl.com/blog/the-key-attribute-for-distributor-recruitment. In most cases that means moving the relationship from a transactional relationship that is operational in nature and focused on short term results to one that is more engaged, more transparent and more of a long term partnership.
The purpose of a Distributor Review system should be to:
1. Mutually share business strategies amongst partners,
2. Benchmark current activities,
3. Develop future activities,
4. Build a deeper relationship at a senior level.
It is best to make the review part of your existing Channel Partner Business Agreements. Use the forum of the annual addendum review to meet with top distributor management. Create an addendum to your business agreement that can be updated annually and is part of the agreement for sales planning and activities It should be a collaborative event. Sample meeting formats could consist of:
This is a working session not a PowerPoint parade. The Distributor review should be led by the Channel Manager or someone else from HQ-not field personnel (although they should be present as the silent partner). It should be conducted with the Distributor Principals, not the distributor field sales team.
The role of benchmarking and scoring should fall to the Channel Manager or HQ representative. It could impair their relationships with the distributor sales reps-don’t let it. Principal field sales personnel need to be viewed as positively as possible inside the Distributor-they cannot be viewed as contentious.
Optimally there are a minimum two reviews per year, one live during the planning cycle and another live remotely during the year as a check in. This is not a pipeline review of current projects. Pipeline reviews are done regularly at the field level-usually weekly.
The benefits of the program of a Channel Review are clear:
Do you want to have a free fifteen-minute call on improving your channel partner review and meeting process? You’ll need channel partner management buy in so there will be tough conversations so best to do some scenario planning. Sign up on my web site or contact me directly by phone.