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CRM is a complex thing. It involves understanding your customers and your own business -- two difficult things to fully grasp under any circumstances -- and then using technology to convert that understanding into a positive impact on your business.
Customers, and to a lesser extent your business, are always changing, which makes the juggling of people, processes and technology an ongoing and always complex exercise.
When you sell through the channel, that complexity increases exponentially. While the channel's an important way to expand your reach into the market, managing these relationships is a task fraught with possible pitfalls. It's a form of customer relationship, but it's much more complicated than managing relationships with your end-user customers.
For example, your partners may live in fear that you may suddenly shift to a direct sales model and thus keep some important information close to the vest. At the same time, they want you to provide leads, conduct marketing and offer service to the end-user customers in some cases, so there is a need for visibility into the partner's sales.
You also need to manage lead distribution, marketing campaigns, inventory access and other factors that never enter into a direct sales CRM model.
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