Insurance agencies today have some stiff competition. With customers turning to the internet and their neighbor's recommendations to conduct their research on insurance agencies, policies, and rates, the average person calling in for a quote is often much further along in the buying process than they were a few years ago. But as an agency, how do you ensure your agency is the one they are calling when they are ready to buy? With tens of thousands of insurance agencies out there to choose from today, how can yours set itself apart from the rest?
When you communicate with your channel partners, do you talk to them or do you talk at them? Think of the end of the day announcements in grade school, for example, where the principal would come over the intercom and read off a list someone else wrote of upcoming events and information. Chances are you probably remember standing at the door of the classroom chatting with your friends, or being scolded by a teacher to sit down and listen. There’s also a chance that you missed out on some important information (like that picture day is tomorrow!) because you weren’t paying attention.
Have you ever bought something in bulk—maybe a gigantic tub of cheese puffs—thinking, “I can eat all these no problem,” only to throw out half of them because they got stale? Channel vendors are finding the same problem with their market development funding programs: around 50% of these funds are not used. When roughly $50 billion are put into MDF and co-op programs each year, that’s billions of dollars channel partners aren’t tapping into.
PRM or Partner Relationship Management is any combination of strategies, methodologies, software, or web applications that businesses using a distribution channel can use to communicate with their channel partners. Although they look and sound similar, PRM and CRM are not interchangeable terms, and relying only on CRM strategies and technology solutions often fall short of what channel managers (and channel partners) need to successfully get their products and services to end users.
As we’ve mentioned, marketing within a channel of Value Added Resellers (VARS) can pose some challenges because of the sheer dynamic of the multi-step sales process. Often times, the VARs are selling multiple lines of products, so getting yours to stick out among your competition with both the VAR salespeople and the end-user can be quite the feat. However, many successful channel networks today are implementing marketing and sales strategies that are tremendously successful toward growing their revenue. And it all starts with the launch of a channel marketing campaign that addresses the needs of those involved.
As a manufacturer that sells exclusively or primarily through a channel network, it can often be challenging trying to drive new sales when you aren’t managing the sales people who are actually face-to-face with your customers on a daily basis. Because of this common disconnect between the manufacturer and the end user, it might seem challenging to implement strategies you can track, measure, and test for sales growth. In order to combat this issue, manufacturers must be equipping their channel with the right tools and processes to drive more sales. But what does the channel need, exactly?
The terms, “channel selling” or, “selling through a distribution channel” are essentially the same thing. It means the distributor doesn't sell a product direct to the consumer, but instead, through a channel of resellers. Marketing in this type of arrangement can often be a challenge because there's a need for an effective strategy that markets the product or service to both the reseller as well as the end user.
Channel Marketing: it’s a crazy and confusing world out there, isn’t it? Teams are frustrated because leads are shared among all partner sales teams, the prospects lists are managed and monitored in what seems like thousands of different CRM and PRM platforms, and there appears to be no way to effectively nurture leads to move them along the buyers journey. All these issues combined cause nothing but inconsistencies and frustrations.