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Business Development Rants and Resources

Lead Management System Deployment to Channel Partners?

Many manufacturers use independent distributors as a primary sales channel. Even if the manufacturer has a great market presence and may appear to have their choice of distributor, a good distributor is still to be coveted in the same way a seller has to covet a customer.

This means that support of the distribution network is key, with elements that include training, good communication, and sales tools.

Good local distributors usually develop their own sales leads and have their own sales operations – and this in fact is a primary selection criterion for a manufacturer. The distrinutor needs to add value in some way, and this is a primary way to do so.

However, some manufacturers like to augment their distributors’ lead generation efforts by supplying leads of their own. Often, these leads are derived through expensive sources. These well-intended efforts, at least as a program, tend to be short-lived for the same reason why many other lead generation efforts are “events” rather than processes – the person paying the bill can’t measure the result due to lack of visibility.

A manufacturer will say “I spend $5,000 per month on my construction leads and I send them out and never know if anything came of it. I stopped doing that. I don’t even know if these things are followed up.” When we mention the possibility of putting in SalesInSync for this purpose, we hear “I can’t force them to use any particular system.”

But that response isn’t completely true. The problem is that the lead program had been rolled out to the distributors without all the tools in place. The program should have been rolled out so that basic disposition reporting was a requirement. Provide at least one SalesInSync user license free of charge, for distribution of the lead. Maybe the program will spread within the distributorship. Maybe it won’t. But the distributor will have to log into the system to retrieve the information and will have to provide some information on the resulting activity in order to keep receiving them. It’s not much to ask in exchange for valuable incremental business, and those (many) sales operations without an effective lead management system may get on board completely, which will make their own lead handling more effective and provide a high ROI for the manufacturer.

July 10, 2012 - Posted by | Lead Management and CRM | ,

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