Take the time.
A great sales rep will understand the importance of co-selling with partners, whether it’s a distributor or a partner sales rep. The channel represents feet on the street above and beyond your single self, so it’s time well invested when you work closely together.
Think about it: maybe the distributor has 50 sales reps. If you can motivate even a fraction of them, there's a greater likelihood of selling much more. This means going out on sales calls, buddying up, and answering questions, as well as potential social activities such as dinner or a ballgame. Your success is dependent on them, and effective channel management can only happen if you take the time and invest in the relationship.
Create a best practices community for channel management.
Following on with social media, there is also the opportunity to create shared experiences and communities. This can take the form of invitation-only pages for all vendors, partners, and companies, and customers to all come together and share best practices.
Why would a distributor want to be a part of a best practices community? From the partner side, their success obviously depends on the ability to sell the products. But they also need “just in time” information that can help them be specific enough to address a customer problem that they're facing and trying to address. In a B2B social media community, they can find applicable success stories from other distributors, partners, and customers. They can also ask questions to each other. These answers aren’t just from the vendor or the manufacturer, but also other partners doing the exact same thing they are. If your distributor management strategy enables a community of best practices, it's potentially worldwide and always open 24 hours a day.
Co-invest with your channel partner.
“In a well-designed channel model, multiple partners, representing the same vendor, should be trying to win a specific opportunity, albeit with differentiated value-add.”