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A recent article on TechTarget’s Search IT Channel highlighted the fact that vendors might be overpaying their reseller and distributor partners because they can’t capture solid sales data.

According to the article, channel management software provider Zyme claimed that lack of accurate sales data meant several vendors were overpaying their channel partners by as much as 30%, particularly in rebate programs, price-protection programs, and deal registration or special price authorization programs. And according to Zyme, the problem falls on manufacturers that haven’t invested in a channel data management system.

In the same article, Diane Krakora, CEO of channel consulting company PartnerPath, mentions that “Without good data and insight, it is very difficult for the vendor to reconcile the sales figures they have from the partner with the sell-through distribution or even sales data in their own ERP systems.”

A lack of accurate sales data meant several vendors were overpaying their channel partners by as much as 30%.

The article also points out that sales and marketing support are other areas where vendors are spending haphazardly. Terry Hedden, CEO of IT sales and marketing company Marketopia, mentions that “Resellers are very often not skilled in marketing or demand generation and thus waste a great deal of money and fail to produce a defined ROI (return on investment) for the vendors.”

“In terms of marketing, what channel partners need to do is become less dependent on vendors and take on the responsibility of doing their own marketing” he adds.

What’s clear from the overall tone of the article is that IT channel intermediaries are struggling to account for and maintain control of the data within their business processes, leading to many inefficiencies. An integrated digital channel management system is needed to give vendors, distributors and resellers visibility into their data and business processes at every stage in their operations.

IT channel intermediaries are struggling to account for and maintain control of the data within their business processes, leading to many inefficiencies.

The problems encountered in the article above can to some extent be countered with an end-to-end business enablement platform. Upstream and downstream integration through the channel connects manufacturers, suppliers and customers, resulting in a seamless customer journey and experience, and enabling them to be more efficient, effective and competitive in getting product to market.

On such a platform, visibility into the real-time state of the business operations is enabled via inter-linked functionality in key major business areas such as sales, operations and finance, and the fact that all the data is digitally accounted for within a closed system, means that there is no missing information or transactions, and all business deals are accounted for. Inefficiencies such as overpaying channel partners by 30%, like in the example above, are thus eliminated.

Not only does a unified and integrated digital channel management system eliminate inefficiencies associated with traditional channel business methods, but it also provides valuable business insight and intelligence.

In addition, potential in-platform marketing functions would enable the user to profile their customers, plan events with an online calendar, conduct activities, monitor execution, report on ROI and track vendor funding. This provides the platform user with digital marketing functionality, and not only enables them to take responsibility for doing their own marketing, but also allows them to outsource the system to a third-party marketing agency if so desired.

And any platform worth its salt will contain easy-to-read performance dashboards across all areas of functionality, providing platform users with the ability to analyze key business data at-a-glance, at any time.

Not only does a unified and integrated digital channel management system eliminate inefficiencies associated with traditional channel business methods, but it also provides valuable business insight and intelligence, enabling users to proactively work towards improving their business profitability via identifying cross-sell, up-sell and customer retention opportunities.

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