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Vendors: Invest more in channel sales and less in operations, study says

If you’ve ever felt like the last thing you need from a vendor is yet another channel web portal, and what you’d really rather have is a darn good lead, you’re probably not alone.

A new report is attempting to make your point.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 channel leaders, jointly conducted by consultancies BlueRoads and SiriusDecisions, companies that invest in sales strategies like deal registration or lead generation report stronger sales growth than companies that invest in tactical or operational functions like web forums and portals. Sixty-two percent of executives who said they focused on sales effectiveness reported an increase in revenue in 2008, while only 40% of those who said they focused on efficiency programs reported the same.

“The Channel Survey: 2009 Priorities” study also claims that when vendors are seeking to drive sales, they tend to resort to “brute force tactics,” including recruiting in a region that is already populated with partners, instead of implementing programs to strengthen existing solution providers. The survey covered a variety of channel-dependent industries, including software, telecommunications, computer hardware, and information services.

From the results of this survey, it could be concluded that if partners had to rate vendors on how well they support sales efforts, the channel might give them a whopping “C.” That’s about the same grade vendors gave channel partners on how well they follow through on sales leads and participate in deal registration programs, according to a recent Forrester report.

In response to the Forrester report, partners overwhelmingly told that vendors regularly pass along bunk sales leads and violate deal registration programs.

If there is a ray of sunshine here, it’s that the BlueRoads report shows that nearly 60 percent of respondents agreed they need to spend more on sales effectiveness programs in 2009. Still, intentions don’t always become action. Many of the companies surveyed continued to list training and partner content portals as the top planned investments.

BlueRoads’ report includes a series of tips for vendors to improve channel sales. The top piece of advice should be a no-brainer: Generate high quality leads for the channel. Other tips include, measuring every partner and lead opportunity, rapid delivery of leads to the channel, protection from channel conflict, and selling guidance and coaching to help partners accelerate sales cycles. The last tip happens to be one of the services BlueRoads could provide.

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