How A sales channel partner Can Support Your Brand
Does Your Sales Channel Partner Understand Your Culture?
If you have any trepidation about working with a sales channel partner due to concerns that they might detract from your brand, you’re not alone. Businesses that have spent time and money building a brand are hesitant to put their trust in a sales channel partner to uphold their identity.
While these concerns aren’t unfounded, they can be eased by partnering with a firm that not only understands your brand identity, but has a strong culture of its own. Ask the following questions of your potential sales channel partner:
- What is at the heart of your sales channel partner’s culture? If you’re working with a reputable sales channel partner with a conscience, you’ll know pretty quickly. You can’t fake culture. It comes down to treating people well. Ask your potential sales channel partner how they recruit, train, manage, support, and compensate their employees. The answers to those questions will tell you a lot about the values at the heart of your potential partner—and if those values mirror your own.
- Are you prepared to mirror my company culture? If you’ve determined that the sales channel partner you intend to partner with does indeed have a strong company culture of its own, you can feel fairly confident that they will be capable of mirroring yours in their sales efforts. Your sales channel partner should be prepared to get out into the market with your existing sales force (if you have one) to obtain a very granular understanding of how your culture translates to the marketplace. This can be achieved only when the two organizations work together on an operational basis to immerse the channelized sales team in the company’s brand.
- What steps will you take to ensure my comfort with the sales channel partnership? When entering into a sales channel partnership, you may have questions about the confidentiality of your data. It’s critical to understand your sales channel partner’s policies and procedures regarding hiring, background checks, documentation, and confidentiality agreements to ensure that your brand will be preserved and the employees hired by the sales channel partner will not share sensitive data about your firm in the marketplace. A sales channel partner who employs a sales team is generally much more capable of ensuring your confidentiality than one who works with independent contractors, who are not required by law to adhere to confidentiality agreements, codes of conduct, dress codes, etc. When evaluating a potential sales channel partner, ensuring these policies are in place will make you much more comfortable regarding the protection of your brand.
- How can I be confident the sales channel sales team will represent my brand accurately—even in the toughest situations in the field? This is one of the best questions you can ask a potential sales channel partner, because it will tell you a lot about their culture. When properly trained, coached, and immersed in the culture of both the sales channel partner and the brand, a sales executive should be able to handle any situation with grace—always with the brand’s integrity top of mind. For example, if an sales channel partner’s sales executive approaches a potential customer of your brand, only to be met with dissatisfaction about a past experience or product from the brand, the employee should be prepared to react accordingly. It’s not his or her job to solve the problem, but rather to politely and professionally apologize for the issue and get the client a direct line to the appropriate party at your brand who can address the issue. When effective training, HR, and culture are in place at a sales channel partner firm, you should have no worries that your brand is being represented accurately in the field.
How can Netpique help you extend the reach of your brand? Contact us today to find out.