Establishing Trust in Channel Sales Partnerships

Share this article:

The bedrock of any long-term relationship is based on the notion of trust. Imagine if the bond of trust was absent between a parent and a child, or you and your doctor. It just would not work. The same applies to vendors and resellers. Without trust, it would be virtually impossible to deploy an effective sales strategy.  The belief in the accuracy of sales data as well as having faith in the sales viability of a vendor’s product demands that trust is established between the parties. Ultimately, this trickles down to the customer.  In fact, according to Accenture, “Customers must trust that channel partners providing products and services will also provide the experiences, pricing, and support they need. In fact, eight out of 10 customers will not do business with companies they don’t trust.” Motivating your sales channel partners is imperative to the development of trust. If you cannot gain mindshare with your potential partners you will never have the opportunity to build a framework of trust. From believing in the accuracy of sales data to having faith in the selling power of a vendor’s brand, trust is important in channel partnerships.

From the Vendors’ Point of View

According to a study commissioned by Zyme, 66% of respondents say their understanding of channel performance is held back by the accuracy of their distributors’ data.  In addition, 95% of respondents reported challenges with channel data and quality. When no effective way of checking for data accuracy is employed, more than half of all surveyed organizations had to simply ‘trust’ in the sales data their channel partners had provided. With 25% of channel partners dropping out of the typical B2B network every year, according to Accenture, there is an opportunity to build upon the relationships.

Trust is a key part of an effective channel sales strategy.

Relationships matter.  So much so that it’s vital to develop good vendor and supplier relationships continuously. The foundation for these relationships includes the following:

  1. Communication: Distributors should regularly share customer information, market opportunities, and risks, and offer feedback on how a vendor’s sales strategies are resonating in the market.
  2. Respect: Relationships are built on mutual respect. If respect between a  vendor or supplier is absent, then the relationship will be doomed to fail.
  3. Trust: Building trust provides the cornerstone of your vendor or supplier relationship. Trust is a two-way street that must be cultivated at all times. Trust becomes important when times get tough.
  4. Mutual Benefit: Relationships need to provide benefits to both parties. Without mutual benefits, the partnership will be on shaky ground since the incentives to stick around are lacking.
  5. Fairness and Honesty: Fair and honest partners will always win out in the long run. Any short-term gain realized by lying, cheating or taking advantage of a partner will tarnish the long-term relationship and destroy trust.

Continually engaging your resellers is paramount to the development of your channel relationships.  If your resellers are not engaging with you, either you do not have effective mechanisms in place to make engagement easy or it is quite possible that you have lost their mindshare.

From the Resellers’ Point of View

Resellers need to believe in the strength of their brand and product/service.  This requires you to continually feed your resellers valuable information that reinforces that what they are distributing is a viable product and will sell. If a channel partner is not entirely confident that what they are distributing will sell, you are on the path to losing them altogether, along with the dollars invested in the relationship or losing your place as top of mind among their portfolio of distributed products.

There are ways for Vendors’ to mitigate the mindshare loss by:

  • Offering valuable sales data that will assist your resellers’ strategy;
  • Effectively aligning them with your other channel partners; and
  • Celebrating their achievements by implementing Channel Partner Incentives.

How does an effective Reseller or Channel Partner Incentive Program instill trust? Simply put, creating alignment between your channel partners, your goals, and sales strategies reinforces their importance as a partner in your long-term plans and is the first place to start. As distributors meet sales targets or individual key KPIs that are aligned with your overall strategy, they should be recognized immediately with a reward. Just as fans do not cheer for a touchdown 2 minutes after the score, nor should your distributors have to wait for the recognition they deserve.  Instantly celebrating success will motivate your channel partners to continue to reach for additional successes, which builds to the culmination of reaching a goal and having the opportunity for the individual to select their own reward that will mean the most to them. The reward is personal, your business is top of mind, and most importantly, you will start to build a more personal and trusting relationship. CoreCentive’s Channel Incentive Platform can deliver the reporting, metrics, leaderboards, social recognition, and merchandise catalog that will excite your channel partners with millions of rewards that they want, including:

  • Luxury electronics and goods from big-name brands like Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, and Xbox
  • Live sporting events, global vacations, flights, and hotel stays
  • Books, CDs, digital downloads, and other home entertainment options
  • General merchandise including appliances, sporting goods, and furniture

Program Tracking

Your channel partners can log in from any web-enabled device, no matter where they are. Good professional relationships are built on communication – and our platform ensures there is always a way to talk, whether in-office or on the go. With real-time reporting, you are in control, and ROI and KPI tracking will help measure the ongoing impact of your program.  By monitoring platform activity, you can judge how your resellers respond to preset KPIs and sales targets.

Gain Trust in CoreCentive

For more information about incentives that drive change, and to learn about how CoreCentive’s industry-leading Channel Incentive Program contact CoreCentive today.