Monday, December 08, 2014 is an organization which is responsive to market needs and works to make that response in a timely manner.

By Jonathan Hopkins
At Dreamforce in October, we met with a broad range of successful and smart business people shared a range of different ideas.

Here’s the thing, we went to Dreamforce to talk about our passion for building great tools for organizations and their partners to maximise their sales opportunities by bringing in both intelligence and clear vision into the indirect sales process.

The delivery of intelligence and clarity to develop and close business opportunities was a subject which resonated with just about everyone we spoke. However, the burning questions on everyone’s lips was – “Don’t just tell us you can do these things with our indirect sales, we need them in our direct sales teams as well”
We were intrigued and since then have been researching the issue, talking to customers and partners, trying to in understand their real-world experience and see how we can help.

This is our thinking, CRM systems are fantastic at managing customers, and they also deal with the administration of selling, to the extent that the sales manager of old (we all know him, the guy who is first in the office in the morning, last out at night who operated on the principle that if he stares at Excel long enough the numbers are bound to come good) is redundant.

But to the actual business of tools to help you make a sale? The evidence points to a gap in the market. There are some people operating in this space, but they have not yet made the impact they should.  So what impact does this have on Should we change direction and put our focus into developing technology for Direct Sales teams? We think that would be short-sighted. 

The world is changing, organisations are coming to terms with new ways of doing things. The hard and fast edges that sit between direct and indirect sales are softening.  A new model of collaboration is developing where an opportunity may go through a number of owners on its journey through the sales process.   What is needed are technologies that offer both clear sight and guidance to all stakeholders in this increasing complex environment.

The sharing of information is beneficial to all parties, but to be of value it must be presented in a format that the user can assimilate and in a time-frame that is useful. This speaks to pervasive computing, the capacity to make both tools and information available when ever and where ever it’s needed.

IndirectSales is addressing this need by making a series of powerful, functional apps available, that contain technology focused on the needs of the business developer, when they are interacting with customers or partners, supporting timely decision making and paradigm shifting interventions.

This works well at the operational and field level, and delivers performance improvements, but what about the strategic decision makers, if we provide insight into what is happening in the narrow end of the sales funnel can we make a difference to them? The answer is yes, typically by the time an opportunity has been qualified, the enterprise has invested heavily, and the further progresses through the sales cycle the greater the investment becomes and the greater the impact that failure to win the bid, or to deliver on the promised margin will have on the forecasts and the potential plans of the enterprise.

Traditionally Senior Management has received information from spreadsheets and this information is often out of date, and of variable credibility, especially if it comes from partners. will give insight into what is going on with all the opportunities, and the greatest insight will be for those opportunities which are most critical. As an output of the process there will be a whole host of data, which strategic management can use to evaluate performance of process, people and products, To be able to understand with absolute clarity why deals are lost, to understand why deals are won, and replicate  the successful activities, and shape the business accordingly.
Analysis can be performed on a range of topics, performance of direct and indirect teams, products in certain markets, why certain strong products work in some markets and not in others, are there activities that sales people are missing at some particular stage in the sales process ?

The focus of the strategic meeting can change from the norm, which is trying to understand why things are not going to plan, because mature users of know that already, to how do we change the plan to deliver on our operational and strategic goals

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Can technology help you sell? No really - “Sell”?

Selling is an art, and those artists come in every shape and size, age, sex, color and religion. Some are good talkers and others are good listeners, and everything in between. Some have great product knowledge and some haven’t got a clue. Yet they do their numbers.

Selling, though, is also a science. Companies go to a great deal of time and expense to have their sales people trained on how to “sell”, and how to sell their products. They also invest in sales tools, and the emphasis over the past 30 years has been traditional sales accounting systems (CRMs), where the emphasis is on Sales accounting, reporting and forecasting for management. In more recent times we have seen huge growth in analytics and marketing automation (leads). If Dreamforce 2014 was anything to go by, comfortably 90% of exhibitors focused on those two technologies.  Getting good leads is obviously important and management can now get better insights from the data produced from our CRMs – and the marketing Automation processes – but what about actual “Selling”?

The burning question is whether or not technology can make the science of selling more effective for the sales people; put the emphasis on the “selling” as well as the “accounting”; enhance the art of selling? In recent times Gartner has been making much of the concept of digital business, and the effect of the mobile form factor is an obvious one for sales people. For the first time ever you can carry a mobile battle card, or playbook with you into an appointment or call, and no customer would object to a simple request: “ I have a checklist of questions about your requirements, (relative to our product) do you mind if we go through those together now or later?”

As a rep you are expected to know everything there is to know about every product and every specialist use of those products. The company has just done a marketing campaign aimed at Finance (or Healthcare, etc, etc), for one of your 20 products. In the course of a day you might do 5 calls for 5 different products in 5 different sectors. This might seem an exaggeration, but in my last company, the account managers had to contend with 125 products and every vertical marketing sector.

Do you think technology can help? Of course, it can. While those are “product” or “needs analysis” questions, you have the device in your hands, it is perfectly natural to just check about Business questions – the budget, the timescales, decision makers, any specific drivers for this deal? Compliance, for example, or ROI targets? What is the best process for this product? Arrange a trial, or a demo? Right through the sales cycle we follow a workflow and every product in every market has its own playbook. As a rep you cannot possibly know all of that but those product managers and marketing people can. They need to get that encapsulated into a simple process you can check through across all 5 of those calls you have today. Every deal has its playbook. Every deal for every sector has its own playbook – but for you they are all the same – a series of checklists, and maybe the opportunity to fire up a Powerpoint or video demo at an appropriate time?

This is tool to get your win rate average up, but even better it also detects that you have made changes that should be reflected into your sales accounting system and into your companies brand new Business Intelligence and Predictive analytics system. More to the point, you are a few steps closer to another good quarter and that Club trip to Hawaii, and your Fridays can be spent on the golf course (with your customers), rather than trying to remember what to put into your CRM!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

IndirectSales Released.

This week sees the official launch of

While this is our official launch, we already have a number of users world-wide who have been helping us ensure that we have a stable and feature rich product that is business ready to solve channel sales collaboration needs.

We have also completed the mobile app to enable in the field sales users to interact, anywhere, anytime using their mobile phones or tablets.

It is not a coincidence that our launch is happening at the same time as Dreamforce, the annual conference here in San Francisco which we are attending.
You'll find us in the Cloud Expo North, booth N2338, and with us are 2 of our pre-release users, Access Governance from Australia and Porter Consulting from here in the USA.

Access Governance are a master distributor in Melbourne working throughout Australia and Asia. The represent a number of companies in that area. They use IndirectSales in 3 ways To track sales though  their own and their reseller sales organizations, to track recruitment of new resellers and to also track the recruitment of new suppliers. They make extensive use of the notes facility to hold copies of all agreements from a simple NDA to a full reseller agreement.
Maureen O'Hare will be with us all week at Dreamforce.

Porter Consulting use IndirectSales on behalf of a major Silicon Valley technology supplier. They work with them to deliver targeted marketing campaigns for specific products through a set of master distributor and reseller networks.  They chose to use IndirectSales because we implement a customizable qualification and sales tracking process easily deployed and administered in the field for all distributors and sales partners.
Al Morgan from Porter Consulting will be with us on Wednesday.

But why Dreamforce For many customers, IndirectSales starts where Salesforce leaves off - in handling and collaborating with the channel on major sales. We are the ideal compliment to any company that deploys Salesforce, has an indirect channel and wishes to integrate channel sales data securely into the corporate CRM.

If you are here in San Francisco for Dreamforce, come see us and discuss how we can help you collaborate better with your channel sales network.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A User View

We're pleased to welcome Maureen O'Hare to California and to this blog. She's here for Dreamforce next week. Here's Maureen's article.

How did this Australian woman come to be here in Santa Cruz, California? Why would I fly through the sunny Australian skies to get to those of California?
I am the Sales and Channel Director of the Australian company, Access Governance. We started up earlier this year. We are a Master Distributor for the Asia Pacific region, for some fantastic software from Europe and the USA.
We have multiple suppliers, currently 6 but the list is growing. We have multiple resellers as well as our own sales people. With each of the suppliers, we have different agreements, different territories and several currencies to manage for our price lists. Ditto for our resellers. And we have to make sure that we and then each of our resellers are trained in the different products, but not all resellers sell all of the products.
So, we also have the track the ‘recruitment’ of suppliers and resellers.
Then, we have to assign leads from suppliers and our own sources, to the relevant sales person or reseller making sure that we have the materials and training, and subsequently have enabled our reseller with these too. It follows naturally that we then need to manage those leads and deals through to the close, and report the result back to the relevant supplier.
Sound familiar?
We could do some of it in Excel, some of it in Word, but the real action would usually be in email. And we’d spend hours every week keeping each other up to date on who was doing what and who needed to what next.
We could have bought some different systems; a CRM, a document management system, a lead tracking system, and a sales process workflow system. Oh! and a task manager. But that would have just divided up the information differently and still we would not have an overview of our suppliers and channels, and it would leave us scrabbling about in the different systems for the current status of a supplier or a reseller or a sale.
Then we came across IndirectSales! And it does it all!
I can track the progress of adding a supplier or reseller and, with the customisable workflow, I can ensure that all of the steps in the process have been completed. I can store the agreements online in the system, so I can easily check the terms for a supplier or reseller. I can assign a lead to a reseller or even to a particular person for that reseller.
I can customise the workflow for a particular product and track the salesperson’s progress though that workflow. We can also store the price lists so that everyone can be sure they have the current list. With notes I can keep a specific log of the interactions. We can even provide a specific ‘battlecard’ for each product, accessible on the mobile app.
So I came to California to boast about how IndirectSales makes my role possible instead of impossible to other Channel Managers battling to cope with the myriad of forms, spreadsheets, and emails, all the while wondering what is really happening out there in the channel.
If you would like to know more about my experience with IndirectSales, come and visit me at the Dreamforce Conference on October 13th-16th in San Francisco Cloud Expo North Booth N2338.

Monday, September 29, 2014

It's Time to Stop and Smell the Channel

If you're like me, and you've spent the majority of your career selling directly to customers, you have an innate mistrust of the Channel. Sure, they're just like you and me, they sell stuff too, but they do it in strange and unknown ways, in a dark and mysterious realm beyond the reach of human vision, entirely out of your control.

It's really not as bad as all that, but if you're serious about your craft and have embraced Sales Process as the key to greater success, it can definitely feel that way. As you deign to entrust your precious leads and life's blood revenue goals to organizations and individuals that you no idea whatsoever which sales process they embrace, if any at all.  The instinct is to keep all the "important" deals firmly in house where you can have full control and total visibility of their progress through your sales process and not have to risk "throwing your pearls before swine" into the black hole of the Channel.

Well, sorry to say it, but this approach in a competitive market will virtually guarantee slower growth, lower margins and continually being outflanked by your enemies.  To stay at the front it is absolutely essential to embrace meaningful partners, and to do so around a commonly shared sales process and true collaborative selling. To be honest, we all need to get that place of trust where we eagerly hand off the best leads with the biggest upside to the right partners.  It's often the partners who have the better relationships within the customers and hence a much better chance to actually close the business.  You just have to know that your partner knows how to best sell your product.  It's easier said than done, but with today's convergence of major technologies like mobility, digital business process, the API economy and the Cloud, the previously unimaginable has become not just possible, but essential.  The key is SaaS-based Chanel Sales Automation with a mobile app at the front end which will accommodate a customized sales processes, real deal progress scoring, and a digital Sales Battle-card, with API integration to all of the major CRM and Sales Automation tools currently in use.  Every member of your Channel organization may be using their own CRM or Sales Automation tool, but as the vendor at the top of the food chain you can mandate your own common sales process to  be used to sell your products, and at the same time provide your own "Digital Sales Battle-card" within the mobile app that greatly aids in onboarding new partners with minimal training and ensures they are following your own best sales practices to close more deals.  All of this can easily integrate into their own CRM using available API's to reduce double entry.

The Channel has been around for a long time, but today's greater level of competition and demand for efficiency requires that we all take another look at how we can optimize our Channel investment for far better results, and the good news is that once again, technology has provides the means to do just that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sales Best Practices in Channel Sales

One of the best salesmen I have ever worked with called me last week. He works for a large company that does a lot of its business through partners. He had just lost a deal, and it looks like the partner was not talking to a key decision maker. It sounds like they were outflanked. Everything looked good on this deal, yet it was lost over one of THE most basic of sales best practices – make sure you are talking to the MAN (Money, Authority Need). His reaction was that he needs get out his sales training materials to remind himself of the fundamental rules of selling – he was beating himself up.

Of course, if my friend were selling direct, without that partner, then he would have figured this out for himself before it was too late. It is the fact that he took for granted that his partner would be following best practices for Sales, that was bugging him. This can be a mistake, as in this case. This is a great partner, who is technically strong, and very loyal. Besides he needs the partner. It is just the way the business works now.

How many times have you heard such stories, or experienced them personally? It happens all the time. It could be that a deal is forecast, but it turns out the budget is for next year (or none at all). It could even be that the customer is in pure “Research” mode; there is not even a defined need/project.

There are not one, but two big lessons here. The problem is not just that basic sales principles have not been followed, and that is problem. The more difficult issue is that the partner is a different company and you are not working through a formal collaboration system. If you WERE using a common system, like, then it would have been obvious. There is a simple checkbox for Authority that you would both be using, on a simple app on your smartphone, and you rate your exposure to the decision maker between 1 and 5; if it’s a 1, then you need to find Mr, Miss or Mrs 5. It’s a simple as that.

As new technology makes collaboration and keeping sales best practices easier and easier, and the changes in the product landscape (especially in the technology sector – cloud, SaaS, commodity hardware, apps, etc) make collaborative selling more and more essential, then the more we will need to use such tools. We must work better together.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Blog 2: Channel Loyalty and the Software Defined Datacenter

I often tell my adult kids that I owe my career to Moore’s law, and they roll their eyes.  But it’s true, with every advance in silicon, the number of solutions that became economically viable increase, and my value as a marketeer continues.  However, it is a two-edged sword: every advance has made high margin, proprietary hardware, so cherished by resellers, easier to replace with commodity systems. 

And so we arrive at the software defined datacenter.  All of the infrastructure elements are now based on low-margin commodity hardware.  Where do the margins come from that bind a channel partner to a hardware vendor?

Many of my clients sell such hardware, whether it is to resellers or service providers.  My clients want to engage their partners to sell these products, or commit to deploying very large volumes.  We often must remind them that from the channel point of view, the hardware is simply a low-margin pivot point on which to sell high margin services.   So driving channel services must be a key element of the hardware vendor value proposition.  Services drag becomes a core part of the channel partner “What’s in it for me?” conversation.   It is very different conversation than with direct sales.

This is where a channel-collaborative sales model, along with a tool such as, can really make a difference.  Through working closely with channel partners in a shared selling model, vendors can guage and track how services factor into deals.  If, as part of this process, vendors can help partners suggest additional services, based on product capabilities, it enriches the sale and the teaming relationship.  

By documenting incremental partner services, tools such as show that specific products drive channel margins.  It adds a level of differentiation in a commodity marketplace.  Things like sales collaboration, deal process analytics, and “whole deal” revenue tracking make the value more obvious.   And that grows vendor mind and wallet share, which is the whole point.

These ideas are part of every coaching or content development project we take on.   I think it is why folks come back to us, and channel partners are happy to see us.

Director, Solution Marketing
Porter Consulting

+1 408 394 7122


Monday, September 15, 2014

I don’t like you ……..But I love you

This song, originally written in 1962 by the legendary Smoky Robinson, could be an anthem for today’s channel sales model. 

For most companies, channel sales has become “the” major way of doing business. Over 70% of all high-tech sales go through the channel, sales cost can be 20% lower than with a direct sales force and using the channel companies of all sizes can effectively and efficiently extend their reach, not just nationally but globally. You really have to love the channel sales model.

But talk to most corporate sales professionals and they’ll tell you they really don’t like selling through the channel. They spend millions of dollars on marketing campaigns and never really know what happens to the leads. Market development funds get spent but there’s no accountability. Forecasting is a nightmare because no-one really knows what is going on, where and with whom and no-one ever admits to losing a sale so there is no feedback on product or sales performance.  Corporate sales professionals really don’t like the channel sales model.

The song’s real title is “You’ve really got a hold on me” and that’s how those corporate sales folks feel.  And they feel like they are held in a very painful place.

So how do you change the game and make this a partnership where everyone likes and loves the channel sales model? The answer is information. Help the channel provide visibility of each and every deal – and do it in a way that is straightforward, with common goals and reporting that’s available in real time for everyone to see.  Show the marketing team what revenue each campaign generates and how those MDF dollars spent are turned into sales. And while we’re doing this, let’s help the channel sales people by giving then sales and product training, on the fly on their phones. Let’s make it so simple that it’s easier to use the new tools that work with the old.  And of course, because everyone has one and they are all different, let’s make the information available into your – and their – CRM systems.

Sound too good to be true?  Well in the past it was. But recently a group of seasoned channel sales professionals, who have been battling with these issues for decades, got together with a team of young an enthusiastic web and software designers to make it happen. The result is Indirect The first and only cloud application to address this formidable challenge.
The application is already live and helping our first customers. They really like what it does to solve their channel sales issues. Like?  I should say love.

Want to know more, see a demo or have trial? Contact us on  And see us at Dreamforce Expo North Booth 2338

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Apples to Apples: Applying SCOTSMAN Scoring to Channel Sales and Campaigns

At Porter Consulting, we manage IT infrastructure channel demand gen campaigns, where the deal sizes run from 10,000 to 100,000+.  For those campaigns, we provide program management and sales coaching.  As you can imagine, costs per lead can be expensive, and demonstrating ROI is important to everyone involved.  A lot of our work is ensuring that the leads generated meet the profiles set during campaign planning.  Over the past few years, we have moved from simple BANT qualification to the SCOTSMAN model.  Before we get any further, let’s define the models and what they can do for us:

·         BANT means: Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe.  But this just shows that someone wants to spend some money.  Most campaigns are much more focused: competitive displacement, installed base refresh, very specific product lines or solutions.  BANT does not really address those aspects.  As a result, leads may not match the narrow objectives of the sponsor.  We have many cases where only 30% of the BANT-qualified leads were actually in the target sweet spot of the campaign.  That is where SCOTSMAN profiling can really help to keep everyone on track.

·         SCOTSMAN extends the BANT model to ensure that the prospect is interested in the specific solution being promoted by the campaign.  Here is how BANT and SCOTSMAN match up.  The four extra criteria (Solution, Competition, Originality, Size) re essential for working the deal effectively.


Solution (does what they want match what we are selling?)

Competition (can we be in the running?)

Originality (does our value proposition resonate?)
Timescales (is it close-in enough to pursue?)

Size (is it worth our while, or too big to tackle?)
Money (can I win based on their funds available?)
Authority (are we speaking to the right people?)
Need (is there enough pain for them to commit?)

Here is how we apply it:

For each campaign, we create simple criteria for every SCOTSMAN element.  For every letter, what does a 5 look like, and what does a 1 look like.  We then use the model to rank each deal after initial qualification, and then periodically as we work with the reps to advance the deals.

Creating that simple model enables us to do many things:

For each lead:
  • Evaluate their fit to the campaign, and only accept and pass on leads to the reps that match the solution.
  • Provide specific guidance to the reps on what needs immediate understanding, to convert lead to deal as fully qualified.
  • Help the reps take the next steps to improve the overall score, or drop the deal as a poor opportunity.

For the larger set of leads generated by the campaign:
  • Assess whether the prospect list is generating leads with the right profile. 
  • Provide additional training to the telemarketing team if certain areas are consistently poorly understood.
  • Give the sponsor a solid understanding of how the leads are mapping to the campaign objectives.
  • Help partner sales managers understand if they have weaknesses addressing certain

Applying the model leads to better quality and consistency for both leads and sales reps execution.  That converts to more revenue and better campaign ROI. 

We like the solution because it allows us to capture the scoring easily, and in concert with the rest of the campaign tracking information.  That leads to better, faster, decisions and better results.

We recommend applying SCOTSMAN as a simple way to add rigor to your sales management process. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A "lingua franca" for Indirect Sales Channels

Whenever you get groups of people working together and needing to communicate 

together, there is obviously a need for a common language. That is easy if you are 

all from the same country, group – or company, but if you are, a diverse group, who 

each have their own “language”, then you have the need for a lingua franca. The best 

examples, are probably the use of English in the airline industry and in technology, 

where people from all over the world work together. Without a consensus way of 

communicating, we would be in a mess, and would not have made the huge progress 

that has been made in both sectors. The alternative is to try and live and work in a sort 

of “Tower of Babel” . It would be chaos.

Wherever we have diverse groups working together or even technologies working 

together it is a really good idea to have a common hub to work together or a lingua 

franca. Very often we have a “de facto” language to work with – like the English 

language example in airlines and technology, but there are places where “the 

languages” that are available, are, first of all, too diverse, and secondly, do not fit the 

purposes of the diverse community. 

Indirect Channel Sales is very interesting “community”. It is a huge community that 

transacts billions of dollars, but does so without a consensus way of working together. 

It consists of vendors, consultants, resellers, distributors, etc, who all work together, 

but they all have their own way of doing things, and because there is no “consensus” 

or specialty system, the systems are normally VERY basic, or systems built for direct 

sales – and they are specifically NOT to be used for collaborative working with “non-

employees” or even employees who are not approved. The truth is that the problem is 

even worse in the channel sales because the community is not only large and diverse, 

it is also dynamic - the people who are working together are doing so on a deal by deal 

basis, and every deal can have a different mix of people, companies – and 

systems! Can you imagine how much more we could do if there was a specialist 

system that was built for the needs of the indirect channel sales community AND built 

for collaboration AND to act as that hub, where everyone can share the system and 

data they generate?

Taking the metaphor to an extra level, many people regard pidgin languages as lingua 

francas because they take elements from other languages. In the case of Sales 

Tracking and Management systems there are many elements that are part of all 

systems, and is intended to have those elements – be familiar - 

have “stages”, pipelines, etc. 

Indeed, the final dimension that we think is important is to have shared best practices, 

even when you allow customization. You can fully customize the Questions you ask in 

your sales tracking forms, but we aim to promote the use of the SCOTSMAN 

methodology through our system – that could be the “English language of airlines and 

technology” – but that is subject of another article from a guest who is a specialist 

on the subject.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sales is always the most expensive, wasteful and mismanaged department in every company

As bad as that statement is, the real irony lies in the fact that Sales is also the most important department (once you have a product to sell), and holds the potential to most drastically impact both the top and the bottom lines of any organization, with the least amount of effort.

A typical technology company will spend 50% or more of every revenue dollar, feeding its Direct Sales force.  That’s an amazingly inefficient metric, and yet it continues year after year without any significant innovation.  There are a few dirty little secrets associated with why Sales continues to trudge through the Valley of Dysfunction while the rest of the major business disciplines have undergone transformational change over the past 20 years.

·       Executive Sales Leaders are typically powerful “type A” personalities who have risen to the top based on charisma, competitive drive and reliance on their own intuition.  They trust in themselves and what they’ve always done to succeed.  In their minds, “It ain’t broke, so don’t fix it”.  They also tend to look out for their own, and paying multiple levels of high commissions to maintain Sales organizations is, in their minds, the way business has always gotten done.

·       Control and Visibility are rightly viewed as essential components of a successful Selling Organization.  Utilizing any one of the many leading CRM’s or Sales Automation tools on the market provides Executives with both the ability to control the process and track the progress of deal flow, within their own Direct Sales teams. Indirect or Channel sales are much more efficient, from a cost/benefit perspective (typically consuming just 30-35% of revenue), but many Sales VP’s who cut their teeth carrying a bag Direct selling are loathe to give up control of their revenue to the wild unknown of the Channel.  CFO’s, who live and die on the predictability of their monthly and quarterly numbers seem willing to trade 30% in profit margin delta (Direct Sales costs vs. the Channel) for the deal visibility that comes with a purely Direct selling strategy.

·       Leads and deals that are passed onto Partners, Distributors, VARS and Integrators seem to disappear into a “black hole” from which no “light” (information) can escape, until the deal is either magically closed, or the word comes back that it has been lost entirely.  Most large technology vendors will privately admit that the only methods they have to track the progress of big deals in the Channel are manually pestering their partners with phone calls and emails, and then filling out spread sheets with whatever information they can extract.

This archaic state of affairs seems incomprehensible in the age of the internet, the cloud and ubiquitous mobile computing.  But the truth is, the big CRM vendors have little to no motivation to integrate with their competitors, and the nature of a channel ecosystem are no common processes and wildly varying systems. How does a vendor enforce visibility, control and common sales processes among a completely heterogeneous partner organization?

The time has come for true innovation in the Sales world. Rightsizing and optimizing the mix of Channel and Direct to reduce costs, increase profit margin and drive overall revenue are the changes that can mean the difference between barely surviving and dominating your market.
Soon we will be able to show you how real companies are utilizing this kind of innovation to transform their businesses.

Monday, August 18, 2014

View from the Front Line
This week a user is going “live” albeit in a small and   controlled way.

We have been working with this company for a number of months, and we are very grateful for their support and patience with our evolving products.

We have now reached the point where our software is robust enough that it can be deployed and will deliver sales channel automation.

Like all good implementations the software is going in a controlled and managed way. The user’s staff have been trained and briefed with the Sales Director as the product champion leading the way.

Our consultants have been working closely with her during the past few weeks to make sure that deployment will be a success and will immediately add value to their business.

Implementing any CRM is a non-trivial process, and with a new product with revolutionary capabilities it’s even more important to get the change management and the cultural shift correct.
To a large extent though because talks in the language of the channel manager and other sales and marketing professionals, and because it has an intuitive interface, user acceptance of the system is remarkably swift, you just need to make sure you have underpinned the implementation with good planning.

This first phase of this implementation is relatively straight forward in that initially is working only within the users company, however the plan is to extend this deployment very rapidly to their reseller base.

We will let you know how this project matures through future postings

Jonathan Hopkins
Professional Services Group – Indirect Sales

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 Live

It’s been quite a ride but at last our pre-production web service is live. We’re working on final testing and a few tweaks but if you have a need to get greater visibility of your Channel Sales Automation process then we shall be happy to show you around, let you kick the tires and see what can do for you.

The sales landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Once, the majority of sales were driven by a direct sales force but now over two thirds of all sales go via the channel including retail, the web and local and regional distributors and resellers. Not long ago, you could track leads from your marketing programs through to end user sales. You knew when and why a customer purchased your product and what had caught their interest to do so. 

Now, with so many leads and opportunities going through your channel and the lack of visibility of them, you’re often flying blind when it comes to making sales, marketing, production, logistics and even product decisions. 

This is the issue that addresses.  To bring a collaborative approach to channel sales and marketing; where you get to see what happens to your leads, you can better manage your sales and you can understand how effective your marketing programs are. 

And what does the reseller get for all this?  They know that you are with them every step of the way. They know that you are invested in helping them close the sale and will reward successful collaboration with more and better targeted programs in the future.

But what of the overhead of setting up and using the system? follows tried and tested sales processes that should be familiar to every successful sales person. It uses simple tailored Q &A menus to determine how far along the sale has moved and assigns probability of closure so you can achieve better forecasting and alignment of resources. 

And to minimize the overhead for the salesperson on the street we have developed a mobile app which allows them to update the sale status as and when the information becomes available in real time.

Why not get ahead of the game? Take a look around to see if it can help you regain control and be able to conduct your business like you want to conduct your business.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Time to Partner - join us!

Over the past few months, we have been investing heavily in the product and in our pioneering customers. The experience has been good and highlights just how diverse the world of indirect channel sales can be. However, everyone has the same  fundamental issues in common, especially the need for collaborative selling – and we use the word “partnership” without thinking about what it really means.
Everyone wants data to run the business; processes they can understand and agree on. They want their own businesses protected and maximized but don’t particularly care about the other guys business.
It’s a unique world, but there is a very large and important business community, looking for a common process.
To reflect this, we have decided that this blog, which is about Channel Sales Automation, will be open for outside contributors to share their experiences and views. From an perspective, we will be inviting people with views on how technology can provide new features (that did not exist even 5 years ago) to allow such a product to be put together – an engineering view; how Direct and Indirect Sales teams can and should work more effectively – a sales view.  We’d like your thoughts on how the very existence of sales best practices, such as SCOTSMAN, can work really well for companies looking for ways to collaborate properly; a lingua franca. We believe that anyone can and should understand a system like SCOTSMAN that encompasses the underlying principles of most sales methodologies.
Vendors looking to work with Partners; Partners looking to work with Vendors; Channel sales and Marketing looking to work with both, separately and together.  Distributors, equally straddle the two worlds and can bring a unique perspective to the world of channel sales automation and the need for something beyond spreadsheets. If this is your world, we want to hear from you.
We welcome everyone  to join the debate. If you have something to say, just contact us. And please, subscribe to the blog and share with people you know who might be interest. It should be an interesting ride.