Big data, the vast amount of information that daily inundates your business, can be one of your most valuable resources, but only if you have the capability to analyze and act on what you learn. If you’re using multiple channel partners to reach customers, big data offers enormous potential for your business. Big data and actionable analytics are essential for acquiring timely sales channel information and deeper channel visibility to support vital decision making and drive revenue growth.
Global spending on big data is expected to reach $57 billion in this year, alone.1 By harnessing your structured and unstructured data, and more specifically, the data derived from your channel programs, you can capitalize on trends in both partner and end customer behaviour, deeply understand your channel and their customers, better position your brand and help your channel reps succeed.
Most organizations recognize and use structured data such as Point of Sale reporting, however the majority overlook valuable unstructured data generated by engagement sources such as surveys, social media and channel programs. Using your channel engagement program to gain crucial market and channel visibility sounds like something every business should be doing. But, surprisingly, many businesses either fail to collect the right data, or they collect it but fail to use it properly. Either way, opportunities are being missed.
Channel business leaders tasked with making important decisions about channel partners, programs and priorities need optimum channel visibility to be effective. A successful channel engagement program should be designed to enable centralized visibility and ongoing influence throughout the sales funnel by:
- Capturing data;
- Predicting and analyzing outcomes;
- Rewarding incrementally;
- Identifying issues
- Promoting desired behaviours; and
- Maximizing engagement.
As many as 75% of business leaders cite growth as the key value they derive from data analytics.2 You need a channel engagement program that delivers a complete integrated picture of your channel business to gain competitive advantage, boost business performance and grow revenue. How do you gain that much-needed channel visibility?
It is possible to acquire the same level of valuable market knowledge from the channel, that you would normally get from a direct sales force. Your channel engagement program should include surveys that provide rich information on your competition, how and why sales are won or lost, and identify areas for go-to-market improvement. Surveys should not be used solely to check the pulse and effectiveness of your channel engagement program, they should also be used to gather the data you need to better sell and position your product. To learn more about the importance of surveys, read our blog here.
Your channel engagement program should give you the tools to develop relationships directly with channel sales reps through a centralized engagement platform, so you can gather the real-time data you need to drive higher performance and reduce risk. Having a program specific participant support center along with social media and targeted communication are effective ways to optimize this.
Voice of the channel through social media is one of the most valuable and often under utilized unstructured data sources. One common mistake in evaluating this data is giving extra weight to top partners, along with those reps with the loudest voice. Disregarding the perspective of all channel members will result in an incomplete analysis, potentially causing channel teams to choose an inadequate strategy. Social media as part of your engagement program is important to optimize visibility, empower decision-makers and maximize channel results.
Your channel engagement program should provide a complete integrated picture of your business by channel, by partner and by individual rep. It should be able to report on which partners and reps are most and least successful, who they are selling to, which products are being sold, which incentives and promotions are working, how your products perform against the competition, and so much more. Your program should also tell you which reps have growth potential, are advocates, are open to influence and are keeping up with product training, as well as how these engagements impact sales.
Simply collecting large amounts of relevant data is not enough. Fully exploiting big data requires that you have the capabilities to manage and consolidate data from multiple sources, build advanced analytics for predicting and optimizing outcomes, and leverage that data to make better business decisions.
Although 85% of businesses report that they are trying to be data-driven, only 37% of them say that they have actually been successful.3 But there is help. ChannelAssist provides end-to-end development and management of channel engagement programs. We ensure that you optimize the efficacy and value of your channel program, measure its performance, identify areas for improvement and drive positive change.