Improved Channel Data Management Means Improved Channel Performance

[fa icon="calendar"] May 31, 2017 9:30:00 AM / by Chris Becwar

Chris Becwar

Information is the key to success in today’s business landscape. However, data tends to be scattered and unorganized for many businesses and industries.

A lack of trustworthy information can cause a number of supplier mishaps or misunderstandings. Suppliers can lose touch with their end customers when they focus so much on their sales channels. When a company is misinformed or uninformed, they will spend more money on their sales reps and partners to offset any risk. This data can also be quite important for managing everything from field compensation to partner benefits - and recognition of supplier revenue. The better you are at managing your channel data, the more likely your channel is to succeed.

Use Channel Data Management (CDM) and Next-Generation Partner Relationship Management (PRM) Platforms to Improve Sales-Out Reporting

Sales-out reporting or point-of-sales (POS) reports are a way of managing and tracking the movement of inventory from a supplier through their channel partner. Keeping this data intact and accurate is important in removing any errors in the payment of sales commissions or other channel incentives.

Next-generation PRM and CDM platforms are a new, more accurate, way to track sales-out information and help your company avoid any reporting inaccuracies. These platforms improve the way that data is collected, organized, and validated. There are four key areas that CDM platforms focus on to improve the data that you collect for your partner sales channels:

  1. Collection – The collection of data is particularly difficult for partners who must provide data to multiple suppliers. And even worse for the partner, many of these suppliers are utilizing different methods for collecting this data. A CDM web portal can assist with the standardization and automation of the data collection process. Partners will participate more often and suppliers will spend less time working to retrieve data when the process is simpler and more efficient. The reduced time between the data collection and data usage helps suppliers to become more agile and influence sales performance more effectively.
  2. Completeness & Coverage – CDM portals help suppliers to avoid missing or incomplete data sets. Adding enriched data fields will allow suppliers to collect more complete information from their channels. Consistent reporting is important but complete reporting is even more important. Complete data allows a supplier to more accurately identify which customers are buying, where they are buying, and why they are buying a product or service.
  3. Validity – Validating a data set helps the supplier to remove any duplicates of sales and ensure that transactions are counted only once. Verifying that your data is accurate and correctly accounted for helps to reduce sales overpayments and more effectively depicts the story of how your product is being purchased.
  4. Inventory – Effective management of inventory will reduce costs and make your supply chain as efficient as possible. Inventory reporting accuracy will ensure that your logistics teams can optimize the product mix and availability of a supplier’s products.

Expanded Channel Data Visibility Via Next-Generation PRM Platforms

Next-generation PRM platforms, like Webinfinity, help suppliers with access to missing or incremental data that could potentially provide data for customer attributes and behavior that could drastically improve channel performance. This enriched data is more reliable than partner provided information because partners may not always include correct information in their reports. The combination of customer attributes and partner transaction information improves channel information visibility in three ways:

  1. Segmentation – The segmentation of data can help suppliers analyze both their partners as well as their end customers. This information can be used to identify ideal customer traits and trends in association with partner core competencies and attributes that drive successful sales execution and channel performance. PRM systems maintain and organize this information well to help suppliers make more intelligent business decisions.
  2. Channel Planning – Accurate data helps a supplier to see where a partner is selling and where customers are making purchases. This information can help a supplier decide whether to add new partners or to expand current partner relationships that are already in place. Planning your channel strategy comes down to having a deep understanding of which partner programs are working best with your end customers.
  3. Partner Sales Execution – An analysis of non-standard pricing requests and exceptions which may or may not have resulted in a sale is quite important to a supplier. This data can link specific customers with specific partner decisions which can help lead to a broader ability for a supplier to effectively govern their channels. What’s working when it comes down to sales execution with one partner? Can it be applied more broadly with other partners?

As a supplier, never allow your partner sales channels to alienate yourself from your customers. Unfortunately, when selling through channels, it is an inherit challenge to completely understand your sales process. The management, organization, and validation of segmented data from your partners and end customers helps you to effectively manage your channel’s performance. The utilization of a next-generation PRM and/or CDM platform can help you to collect and use information to the best of its abilities.

Topics: PRM, Partner Portals, Channel, Partner Ecosystem, Channel Infrastructure

Chris Becwar

Written by Chris Becwar

Chris is a Channel and Marketing veteran with expertise in SaaS platforms & indirect routes to market, advising top channel programs on strategy & trends.