If you want your channel to reach its full potential, you need to avoid channel conflict. It’s that simple.
Unfortunately, many channel programs fall victim to channel conflict. Some companies might mix direct and indirect sales, essentially negating the purpose of the channel in the first place. Others might give partners too much control over pricing, thereby enabling some partners to charge different prices than others.
Channel conflict can also stem from having too many partners and using mixed marketing messaging (i.e., different partners saying different things). Beyond that, conflict can arise when partners refuse to adapt to new workflows.
Suffice it to say, there are many potential drivers of channel conflict. The good news is, it’s relatively easy to eliminate conflict. You just need to take the right approach.
Ways to Eliminate Channel Conflict
1. Implement fair rules and stick to them.
One of the easiest ways to reduce channel conflict is by creating fair rules, enforcing them consistently, reporting on them regularly, and sticking with them throughout your program’s lifespan. The more comprehensive your rules and the more open you are about them, the less likely you’ll be to confuse your partners.
2. Use deal registration.
Another straightforward way to improve your channel is by implementing a deal registration solution that enables each partner to gain the exclusive right to work on a deal for a certain period of time (e.g., one quarter). In doing so, you can ensure that partners aren’t overstepping their bounds and interfering with each other’s deals.
As you implement your program, you will need to determine the specifics, such as whether partners will be allowed to work deals after the period of exclusivity has expired, or if they will be permitted to ask for extensions. The more thorough you can get with your rules, the better.
3. Communicate openly.
Would you rather work for a boss that maintains open dialogue, or one who never tells you what they’re thinking or planning?
Just as you prefer working with folks who are open and honest, so do your partners. By establishing and maintaining open lines of communication with each of your partners, you can keep everyone on the same page and reduce conflict.
4. Measure partner performance.
The possibility of channel conflict rearing its ugly head increases as more partners are added to the mix.
That being the case, you can reduce conflict by making sure that you don’t hire too many partners. If you think you have too many partners on board, study their performance to find the lowest performers and consider ending the relationship.
Some performance metrics to focus on here include:
- Deal registration submissions versus deal acceptance rates
- Deal acceptance/opportunity versus opportunity closed won velocity (i.e., sales cycle length)
- Conversion rates
5. Incentivize your partners.
You wouldn’t work for free, and your partners won’t either. By incentivizing your partners as frequently as you can, you can drive desired behaviors and increase the chances that everyone stays on the same page.
For example, you can incentivize partners who complete training sessions, receive certifications, register deals, or use your partner portal. You can also incentivize loyal partners, those who drive the most sales, and those who drive the most sales over a specific period of time (e.g., Q3).
6. Overcome change resistance.
Your channel isn’t stagnant. As you work to continuously improve your channel, you’re bound to switch up processes and procedures, and you may even roll out new tools.
One driver of channel conflict is partners who resist change. By communicating the reason behind the changes—We’re investing in new channel technology, and we’re asking you to start using it because it’s going to make your life easier and help you sell more—you can increase the chances people switch their behaviors.
If your goal is avoiding conflict, you might want to “fire” anyone who remains too stubborn to switch.
Vartopia: The Easiest Way to Conquer Channel Conflict
At this point, you’re probably thinking that you would love to conquer channel conflict. But you also might be worried that it sounds like a tall order and wondering how you would go about accomplishing this goal.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to tackle all of these issues by investing in purpose-built channel technology that is designed for channel managers, by channel managers.
This is exactly where Vartopia enters the equation.
For more information on how Vartopia can optimize your channel program and make channel conflict a thing of the past, request a demo today.