Lately we have received a lot of requests to help our customer put their indirect and sometimes even their direct data into Salesforce. We wondered what customers were doing with all this data, so we asked them and here is what they told us.
They want full channel performance visibility. In graduate school my marketing professor talked about channels and meant all channels – direct, distribution, retail, on-line, not just indirect channels. Companies want all their “channel” data in Salesforce where their salespeople can use it every day.
They want channel inventory visibility. Sales want to know which partners have the product a customer is looking to buy. They also want to see which partners do not have enough inventory to support needed growth and therefore need who needs to place an order.
They want to automatically close the deal registration loop and measure the real results of channel programs. By having detailed POS transactions in Salesforce, the Channel Data Management (for Salesforce) application can automatically match POS to open opportunities and show ROI to channel program investments.
They want to forecast their business accurately – Since they are closing opportunities automatically, sales can utilize native salesforce.com forecasting functionality for both direct and indirect channels.
They want to replace many of their legacy applications and consolidate their IT landscape – using the Force.com platform rationalizes applications including channel data management, CRM, partner portal (PRM), business intelligence, customer service, and social marketing.
They want to be able to get to their channel data on the go. Sales can already log into their Salesforce instance using their mobile devises. Now they can get channel performance data at their fingertips right from their phone or tablet.
They want to improve customer service and having POS with serial numbers allows the service organization to instantly know who is under warrantee and who is a good prospect to renew their maintenance agreements.
They want to make it easy for partners to submit POS and Inventory data using a simple app from the AppExchange, like PartnerConnect.
Lastly, they want to get social with their partners using Chatter, which can empower the sales team and channel partners by promoting a conversation around leads, prospects, opportunities, deals, and registrations.
There is a lot to gain by getting sales channel data in front to the sales and channel managers and using Salesforce is a great way to do this. It is amazing how having full, accurate visibility in the channel can save time and money as well as increase bookings.