SCi Launch TALCS to Improve Your Mindshare of Channel Partners

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SCi Sales Group, the leading EMEA sales accelerator, has launched a programme to help companies improve mindshare of their channel partners. TALCS measures existing levels of channel mindshare and highlights key areas of weakness in a company’s channel marketing. A knowledge book on the subject is available from http://www.scisalesgroup.com/knowledge

SCi Sales Group recently conducted a survey on LinkedIn and asked over 190 Channel Partner & Account Management Experts what was their greatest challenge. Mindshare was top of the list, so SCi created a new programme to measure and improve this key element of channel marketing.

While product, price and profitability undoubtedly play an important part in the mindshare of many channel partners, there are other issues to consider. Trust, Ambition, Loyalty, Communication and Synergy (TALCS) are perhaps less obvious components, yet equally powerful claim SCi.

But before a company can improve its mindshare, it needs to quantify the current position. How much of their channel partners mind do they own?

SCi Sales Group recommends that channel partner satisfaction surveys should include measurement of TALCS.

SCi believe conducting this type of research over the phone can be more revealing than an online survey or questionnaire sent in the post. Their experience is that interviewers can elicit more complete and substantive answers from partners, as well as ask for clarification and elaboration concerning responses.

By asking partners to score performance a company will get a clear picture of where mindshare is strong or weak. It may also be possible during the survey to ask partners to compare performance against rivals.

In addition, using a telemarketing survey enables notes to be made on why scores in particular areas are high or low. This adds valuable qualitative data to the quantitative score.

After establishing a base score for each partner, the next stage is to begin improving mindshare by concentrating on 5 key areas:

1) Improve Trust
Trust is obviously a two-way street, but according to SCi Sales Group’s research, if Channel Managers want to be trusted they have to keep their promise, act with integrity and protect their reputation.

Graham Smith, Marketing Manager, explains “Keeping promises is not a simple case of ‘agree what you are going to do, and then do it’. You need to ‘agree what you are going to do, do it, and then tell them you’ve done it’. Good communication is a valuable part of trust.”

2) Increase Loyalty
Trust is a step beyond satisfaction, but a step short of loyalty. Loyalty is linked primarily to whether the partner feels there is value in the relationship. Incentive and reward programmes will certainly improve loyalty, but SCi believe this is not simply about profit margins.

Graham continues “Your partners will take a long-term view of the partnership and consider how much effort is needed to make it work, so make partnering an easy process with a clear path.”

3) Shared Ambitions
There needs to be harmony in the ambitions of a company and its partners. Do they share common goals? Are territorial and market ambitions the same?

A partnership with shared ambitions is likely to have less conflict, and may lead to a deeper level of engagement.

4) Forge greater Synergy
Synergy is all about co-operation, and obviously a key element in dictating the level of mindshare. Co-operating on large scale projects and co-operating in the marketing push.

SCi Sales Group warns not to underestimate the power of supplying leads as part of your co-op marketing. According to ChannelWeb, 82% of channel partners said they are motivated by an OEM/vendors ability to supply leads.

5) Use the right Communication
An important factor in gaining mindshare is communication. But the relevance, timing or openness of communication with partners often leads to confusion and dissatisfaction.

Graham commented “You should start by conducting an audit of your partner communications. Is it a genuine dialogue or a monologue? Is it relevant to individual partners or a ‘one size fits all’ blast? Do you have a partner portal? Is there an immediate response to partner enquiries and easy access to information?”

Brendan O’Flaherty, CEO, believes TALCS performs an important function in channel relationships, “TALCS will help you to quantify your areas of weakness and strength in channel mindshare. It also gives you a benchmark to measure improvements, as well as a metric for comparing your position with that of your rivals.”

Concentrating on the five elements of TALCS (combined with product, price and profitability) should ensure companies gain and maintain significant channel partner mindshare. A knowledge book on the subject is available from http://www.scisalesgroup.com/knowledge

SCi Sales Group are a leading, business-to-business, sales acceleration company who have generated over £3 billion in sales pipeline and £450 million in closed business for their clients. The core of their business is telemarketing, supported by other offline/online marketing touches, with particular expertise in channel development.

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