- On October 21, 2021
VAR Channel Marketing and Sales Challenges
VARs and MSPs are quickly becoming a default for emerging tech service partners and given their rise in popularity coupled with relatively novel business models its not surprising they have some big issues surrounding their sales aspirations and how to achieve them. Having spoken to lots of these fresh faced businesses we’ve curated a short list of 8 of the main problems facing VAR channel marketing and sales in the current channel climate.
- Generating new customers.
- Improving their current web presence and strategy. Web sites are weak with no SEM and little SEO, sporadic blog content and social media
- Figuring out how to convert their current clients into managed service contracts that are profitable and sustainable.
- Deciding what managed services, tools, process and financial structures they should use. Many VARs and MSPs are still fine-tuning their mix and losing out the the competition.
- Problems in recruiting and retaining the right staff. Overwhelmed teams lack the time to train or be truly effective.
- Implementing an effective CRM solution to help them engage better with their clients. Many businesses don’t utilise an appropriate tool and the ones who do have had little time to invest in getting it to work for them
- Managing vendor partnerships, deal registrations and relationships. Industry wide margins are incredibly low and it now requires smarter deal registration and much more input to create good returns.
- Streamlining recurrent operations such as procurement, quotes, service and accounting. Many VARs are struggling with recurring revenue billing (see our whitepaper for some ideas).
While these challenges certainly exist in the modern VAR channel marketing and sales environments, businesses can still overcome them and bring plenty of value to partner companies when set up for success. Companies that focus their energy on helping their VAR partners succeed will see improved marketing and sales results and better returns in their programs not just immediately but long into the future.
VAR Channel Sales Solutions
So for this part of our VAR channel marketing and sales rundown we’re going to focus on some solutions to the sales side of our channel puzzle. Here are a few specific ways vendors can help partner VARs improve their sales:
1. Automate lead management and distribution
Lead management is the process of capturing leads, tracking all touchpoints with your business like email, chat, or website behavior, qualifying and engaging them to more efficiently convert them into customers. When done poorly, this causes prospects to fall out of the funnel, sales get missed, and resellers get frustrated.
To optimize their process for returns and keep partner relationships on the up, vendors need to distribute the ‘right’ leads in order to achieve a positive ROI for everyone.
But performing lead management and distribution well isn’t quick or easy. It requires strategic processes that, if done manually, can take a toll on an organization. Sales and marketing teams end up sifting through huge spreadsheets or dense CRMs and checking individual lead records to send them to the correct seller and channel. It’s awkward, time consuming, and often expensive.
Automating or outsourcing this process enables vendors to avoid the monotony and lower financial implications so sales teams and VAR partners can focus on what they do best: getting that sale.
2. Match the right leads with the right VAR for conversion
Many organizations work with a variety of VARs as part of their larger sales and marketing strategy, which allows for better reach and market saturation. However, it can also create complexities when it comes to assigning leads.
Each VAR brings different value-adds to the original product, so some leads will not fit each one. Assigning a lead to the wrong VAR may result in the loss of a prospect that would have otherwise converted, offered a more compatible solution. The vendor partnering with the VAR can solve this by sending the right leads to the right seller everytime. This ensures the partners only spend their resources on the prospects who are most likely to appreciate their unique added value.
Adopting sophisticated lead management software can help organizations improve their lead routing. An automated processes will create quick and easier lead routing, and the highest performing lead management solutions utilize AI and other technologies to score leads and assign them to the appropriate seller.
When done well VARs target their energy only on the best leads, leading to higher conversion rates and less time wasted. This success and the ease of negotiation will create a more stable partner relationship and solidify the move to make other changes vendor to VAR.
3. Ensure reps follow up within minutes not days
Timing is everything in the modern sales cycle. Even if a vendor provides their VAR partners with great, qualified leads, there’s still a chance they’ll lose that prospect if they don’t get to them fast enough.
Sales reps who have a lead provided for them can’t sit on to it for days or even hours, perhaps surprisingly vendors have the power to ensure that never happens. If the ideal VAR can’t respond to a lead quickly, the partner company can develop a solution that move the lead to a partner pool where other VARs that have the ability to respond fast can takeover the deal and make the sale.
A strategy like this enables vendors to ensure sellers and partners stay on top of the leads they provide. Once all the tech for it is in place VARs can respond to the lead almost immediately after they’ve been provided it, keeping interest from the potential customer high and sales teams engaged. Having a timely response will help the VAR and vendor, stay in step with potential customers and ahead of the competition.
4. Avoid constant CRM iterations
Getting teams to adopt software often ends in frustration and disappointment on both sides of the partnership. Partners may spend a lot of money on a great piece of CRM software or partner portal only to have their sellers and partners sparingly use it with zero enthusiasm.
Adding another piece to their tech stack requires them to dedicate more assets and time to moving and organising data instead of being productive sellers. VARs experience even more frustration because they often have additional software platforms they use n addition. Training will also become a struggle with partners needing to learn a whole new platform in addition to the ones they’ve already adapted to.
Vendors can help ease this burden if they stop trying to own workflows and inputs they can’t control. Where possible they should integrate with VARs’ existing workflows and technology, or should use the most ubiquitous technologies where partner adoption can be seen as a benefit even into the future with or without the vendor. Adoption of new software becomes unnecessary or ‘very necessary’ because everything gets moved into the platforms team members have already learned and use, or a better more universal solution the company can see as an investment in the future. Resellers get the benefits of a CRM without all the frustrating tasks that come with a brand new adoption, or hopefully a 1 time investment for future success.
5. Successful Partner Relationship Management (PRM)
VARs function as an extension of their vendors’ sales teams. They should never be treated as a detached or often forgotten pieces of the puzzle. They bring value to your organization, and building great relationships with these partners can lead to further success for both the VAR and the vendor.
Managing these relationships can be tricky, though. That’s why a ton of Partner Relationship Management (PRM) tools have sprung on the market in recent years. With this large variety of solutions it can be hard for vendors to know which will best suit them and the majority of their partners.
Keeping up with your VARs and other partners via a PRM solution helps promote long lasting and beneficial relationships between your businesses, with better .
Be Sure to join us for Part 2 with the VAR Channel Marketing solutions!
Can We Help With You or Your VAR partner challenges? Let Us Know
You want to create the best selling situation for each partner on your program, so they can just get on with promoting your products. However, providing meaningful VAR support across the spectrum for them can be a massive undertaking. Gorilla can help, providing a directed and informed boost for your best and brightest VAR and MSP partners to keep them ahead of the game, click here to learn more about our Partner Sales services.