Channel Management Solutions
To Become Your Customer's Preferred Brand
Channel Management Solutions
You’re tasked with improving the effectiveness and efficiency of your channel program - but HOW can you do it?
Channel management requires optimizing the entire channel system and systemizing it to keep it running smoothly. At a high level, this means establishing structure and resources to
- Doing less to get more results from your channel
- Increase visibility into shared deals and indirect sales forecasts
- Fostering loyalty and trust among partners and customers at every step
Get your organization AND your channel partners up to speed with digital technologies like CRMs, PRMs and MarTech Integrations to enable smoother and more scalable sales, marketing, and operations. Once a scalable digital foundation is laid, ManoByte is able to come alongside and support business growth with Through Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) and inbound marketing strategy to help your direct and indirect sales teams sell more building materials, better.
Gain a cross-functional team of digital marketing and sales enablement experts at the ready. We're here to enable your manufacturing company's success and digital well-being. And, unlike most agencies, we aren't afraid to get into the trenches with you and your organization to actually set you up for success.
Use this 5 minute Channel Readiness Assessment to evaluate your channel effectiveness and where your team should focus first
Channel Management Program Process
Your channel is the biggest piece of your overall go-to-market strategy. This means there's a lot to understand about your business model, your channel partners, your missed opportunities, and how to seamlessly bring everything together. There's plenty for you to know about us as well. During multiple sales conversations, we'll begin unpacking all of this with you to firm a solid roadmap for your Channel Management Program Strategy and Implementation.
Phase 1: Sales Playbook
Sales enablement and clear sales plays for direct and indirect reps is the answer to helping salespeople add value to the sales conversation. Help them to know what the buyer already knows and then give them the clarity of persona purchase motivation necessary to personalize their sales conversations. Sales enablement is also a way to connect distributor sales reps with leads who show interest and who are most likely to close.
Here's how UFP Industries feels about their Sales Playbooks and Sales Enablement systems:
This translates into:
- Less time wasted chasing poor fit leads
- Personalized conversations based on. marketing content the lead engaged with.
- Stronger partner relationships by handing off more leads likely to close.
ManoByte comes alongside your mid-size or enterprise sized team to optimize your existing CRM system or setup a new CRM system. We are HubSpot partners but are also versed in integrating Salesforce and HubSpot if you're not ready to move your legacy CRM data into something new just yet.
Anything we implement on your behalf is followed with extensive training of all stakeholders and users of the system.
Phase 2: Channel Program Strategy
We did some internal sales strategy during phase 1, but now we will strategize with you how to be successful with your various indirect selling partners. We uncover:
- Can your indirect sales reps differentiate between a good and a bad prospect?
- Do your indirect sales reps know, and can they effectively communicate, your UVP?
- Do your partner's indirect sales reps have the skills to close the deal?
When answering these questions, we take into consideration various strategies including:
- Partner Deal Registration & Tracking
- Self-Service Order Placement and Automated Lead Time Communication
- MDFs and Co-Op Programs
- Channel Marketing Content Syndication
- Product and Promotions Communication
We are partnered with MindMatrix, a partner relationship management software, and are versed in other popular PRM applications like Impartner and Zinfi.
This partnership allows us to focus on the strategic elements necessary for your channel program to scale through your partners knowing that we will be able to build it in the next phase. We won't have to jerry-rig various third party options together and hope we can get them all to work correctly.
See pages 8-10 in our Channel Strategy Overview Guide for a more detailed breakdown of each stage of this Channel Program Strategy phase.
Phase 3: Channel Partner Portal
“If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.” – Abraham Lincoln.
That principle is what Phases 1 and 2 focus on. Now, entering Phase 3, the axe is sharp and it is now time to chop down the proverbial tree.
The strategies for your channel marketing, channel sales enablement, channel performance and channel program communication are defined. Next we leverage MindMatrix's robust PRM software to bring the strategy into reality.
We plan it, we design it, we build it, and we populate it for you.
Then we test it, build out any partner enablement related website pages and features, and then launch the portal.
Sometimes you need to start with a minimum viable product before launching a full scale PRM.
You have several options that we can also talk you through:
- HubSpot Sales Hub Teams
- ManoByte's Partner Deals Portal App for HubSpot Sales Hub
- A Custom Web Application Development Project for a Partner and/or Customer Portal
It's better to focus on the strategy and process of your channel program and grow into a full scale PRM solution than it is to think a PRM will solve all your problems. We can talk you through those options.
Phase 4: Pilot Program
The users of the software and the systems are the best sources of feedback for resolution and improvement of your PRM system and channel sales enablement program.
To launch the pilot program, we ensure you have adequate partner resources. If you do not, we can help you develop those resources.
We also look at the digital foundation of your partners. How is their website and digital presence? How are they managing customers?
For a channel management program to be successful, we highly encourage you, the manufacturer, to allocate funds towards improving your partners' digital foundation.
This could include a CRM subscription, website upgrade, custom website features like product visualizers and pricing calculators, integrations subscriptions, etc.
We then prioritize the onboarding and training of your partners onto the various digital tools that have been setup for them to leverage.
Then, management of channel marketing campaigns using Through Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) would ensue.
Best Ways to Leverage ManoByte
HubSpot Website Development
Within the context of your channel management program, website development needs to enable two primary objectives:
- To-Partner Marketing Strategies that allow your channel marketing team to recruit more partners and keep them better engaged.
- Through-Partner Marketing Strategies that support your channel marketing objectives to control campaign messaging, generate product demand, and directly route leads to partners, thereby enabling channel partner revenue growth.
So, what’s different about what you get from ManoByte’s approach to website design? Beyond crossing the standard t’s and dotting the typical i’s for website development best practices, we focus on designing your website to accommodate your channel partners and build it around your distributor marketing objectives.
This means we’ll implement the above traditional website design standards to develop:
- Dealer / Contractor Locators
- Robust Product Spec Display & Search Functions
- Organized Resources
- Sales, Marketing, Operations, and Customer Service Alignment
Websites built by ManoByte are fully customizable and optimized for search engines with several added bonuses of being:
- Easy to Edit and Update by Non-Technically Savvy Teams
- Smart Content Enabled to Support Contextual Marketing Efforts
- Integrated with your Marketing Technology Stack, namely your CRM and PRM
Your website needs to make it easy for your customers to find the information they need whether they are an architect, builder, contractor, dealer, distributor, or DIYer. More specifically they need to understand what to expect from your offerings, including pricing, availability, and customer support. This way, your website creates a buying experience where they will feel confident that working with your brand will build their brand and take the next step in becoming your customer.
eCommerce / Digital Product Libraries
The digital transformation of product research content and online purchasing is accelerating in the building products industry. Manufacturers are seeing an uptick in sales year over year from their eCommerce efforts and are investing in new and improved eCommerce solutions to further growth.
In as quick as 4-8 weeks, your company could drastically improve customer experience with a searchable Digital Product Library for starters. A full scale organizational transformation to accommodate eCommerce in your Channel Strategy would take a bit longer because your channel operations and sales processes could need to be tweaked, automated, and re-trained on. Ultimately though, the ROI for each of these options have proved critical for sustaining the growth of the most successful building products and for making a name for disruptors in the space.
Custom Portal Development
Online portals are how we connect with a lot of our online content. Any website you have an account for, be it email, social media, business applications, or online retail sites, gives you access to a portal for that service. Portals are different from regular website pages, as they require login credentials to access.
Portals give your employees, partners, and/or customers access to vital functionality for your business to run efficiently. Whether it’s connecting with your support team, placing bulk orders for products, taking training courses, or accessing co-branding marketing materials, portals help every person connected to your business securely get the information and tools they need.
For example, a directory can help one of your customers find a certified support partner in their area and connect them through instant messaging in the portal, or portal forums give partners and employees a place to ask questions and collaborate on solutions.
Custom Integration / App Development
One of the most frustrating aspects of managing an enterprise level manufacturing operation and selling through a distribution network is when your website and marketing technologies do not adequately communicate and sync information.
The most beautiful website that doesn’t function as needed is still a bad website.
CRM Implementation & Sales Enablement
Customer relationship management is a combination of strategies, methodologies, and software that businesses use to track and manage their leads and customers, as well as business partners like suppliers, retail partners, and contractors. “CRM” most commonly refers to the software you use to store and manage customer information.
But, CRM applications are more than customer databases. In the context of your channel management program, CRM solutions give sales and marketing teams the ability to automate many administrative and data-entry tasks as well as create more meaningful relationships with customers. You can organize your CRM to house the different data sets you need for distributor customers versus direct consumer customers. CRM solutions can also support indirect sales channel management in conjunction with your PRM, making it possible to oversee channel partner sales progress and forecasts.
We've implemented the HubSpot CRM for teams with fewer than ten users, teams with over a hundred users and teams of every size in between. Every CRM migration is custom to your sales operations and team needs. We set up the system to work for you rather than try to fit you inside of a CRM box.
A CRM Implementation or Optimization is a good starting point for getting a handle on your channel management program.
Learn more about standalone CRM Implementation projects.
PRM Implementation & Partner Relationship Management
“PRM” or Partner Relationship Management is the combination of strategies, methodologies, software, and cloud-based applications that businesses who sell through a distribution channel use to communicate with their distribution partners.
Building Products Manufacturers should be using a PRM to connect with their channel partners and provide product and campaign information to partner marketing teams and indirect sales reps. This central location, and single source of truth, for everyone in the channel overcomes the hassle of channel account managers and internal sales reps digging through emails and spreadsheets to try and keep everyone on the same page.
Product data, lead time information, partner and CAM contact information, communications, training materials, and other partner resources can be streamlined all in one place.
The technology piece of a PRM implementation is the easier piece to configure. What’s more challenging, and more important, is the strategy behind how distribution partners will be using the PRM and how you, the manufacturer, will manage partner’s use of the PRM and all of the information within. Discovery of needs, asset creation and import, partner onboarding, and critically, user training are primary stages of PRM implementation that we prioritize.
A PRM Implementation or Optimization is a good starting point for getting a handle on your partner enablement programs.
Learn more about standalone PRM Implementation projects.
Inbound Marketing & Digital Advertising
Using inbound market to market to, through, for, and with your channel partners is the customer-first approach to marketing that you should be taking to sell more building materials, better.
Inbound marketing is an approach to marketing that typically involved a combination of the following marketing tactics:
- SEO & Content Strategy
- Lead Management
- Gated Content Campaigns
- Blog Article Publishing
- Email Marketing
- Social Media
- Lead Flows
- Graphic Design
- Marketing Automations
- Contextual Marketing Using Smart Content
To attract qualified buyers channel-wide, your brand should develop content like product compatibility articles, installation videos, pricing eBooks, product comparison checklists, and other such resources that compare the value-add nature of your partner program or product in highly specific ways.
Manufacturers face an extra challenge in that their inbound marketing content needs to simultaneously be relevant to distributors and dealers, along with product specifiers like architects and designers, builders and contractors, and even your channel partners’ B2C end users. Defining the unique buyer’s journey for each category of prospect is critical.
To effectively generate visibility of your products and encourage pull through sales of your building materials using the inbound methodology, ManoByte starts with a full assessment and audit of your current content, social media platforms, SEO presence, and buyer’s journey experience. We then strategically map out the most valuable tactics to implement over the short-term and long-term to get more of your materials and products specified and sold.
Learn more about what kinds of marketing content you should have on your construction products website.
Through Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA)
Channel marketing is seen by many B2B marketing pros as a logical follow-on to customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation. Channel marketing encompasses all aspects of marketing campaigns to, through, for, and with your channel partners, the one that building products manufacturers should be leveraging more are through channel marketing campaigns and TCMA.
In the context of your building products channel distribution network, through channel marketing automation gives building product manufacturers more control over messaging, demand generation, and marketing campaign effectiveness from the bottom up and the top down. In effect, it gives your team the ability to influence your revenue growth and market share more readily and at lower overhead cost than trying to rely on partners alone to generate demand for your products.
TCMA helps manufacturers:
- Improve the speed of campaign execution
- Achieve brand consistency across channel partners
- Maximize ROI of marketing assets
- Build stronger partner relationships
- Improve the buyer’s journey
Through Channel Marketing Automation is often tied to strategic go-to-market plans for product launches, distribution channel changes, or rebranding efforts. TCMA centralizes the campaign strategy, collateral creation, digital and physical promotions, customer demand generation, inquiry routing, and then empowers partners to then close the deal.
When ManoByte partners with Building Products Manufacturers to implement a through channel marketing strategy, it often involves the following:
- Creation of Campaigns-in-a-Box (Physical collateral, web assets, emails, social posts)
- Content Syndication
- Lead & Deal Management
- Partner Support Management
- Partner Contract Management
Learn more about how to improve your channel management strategy.
Channel Sales Enablement
When you take the time to understand your dealers and distributors problems and provide them solutions, they will reciprocate with loyalty and more eagerness to sell your products above your competitors'. Further, when you drive demand for your products through strategic content marketing and then route leads to your partners, end buyer leads will not fall through the cracks.
We recommend using an approach we've coined as the "REGG" framework for indirect channel selling.
Then, enable the partners in your building products distribution networks to sell more. Then, watch revenue soar.
- Are you giving your partners enough “at-bat” sales opportunities to succeed?
- Can partners & customers get timely and accurate information?
- Are you providing solid marketing support or just sending MDFs and hoping for the best?
- Who is responsible for content creation? You or your individual partners?
- How easy is it for your partners to promote your products and offerings?
- Do prospective customers understand why they are being directed to another company (your partner) for purchase?
- Do your partners have the resources they need to solve their customers’ problems with your products?
If you answered “no” to the majority of these questions, you’re not doing enough as a manufacturer to enable your channel partners.
Learn more about what strategies and tactics to deploy for successful channel enablement.
Finally achieve a 10:1 ROI from your Indirect Sales Channels
Apply to leverage the ManoByte team to kickstart and manage your channel program. Start enabling your distribution channel strategy to drive more indirect sales. Schedule a consultation to evaluate if a channel management program is right for your organizational objectives. We'll talk you through the nitty gritty and give you a clear picture of what returns you could expect to achieve by implementing this program.