It's no secret that analyzing POS (Point of Sale) Data from Channel Partners can be like playing "Whack-A-Mole" at carnivals. As soon as you think you have one Channel reporting in ways compatible with your data management system, something new (either from the same Channel Partner or a different one), non-conforming or incompatible pops up.
Whether it's the lack of on-time reporting, incomplete, inaccurate and/or non-conforming data or any of the leading Channel Data Management challenges, one thing is certain. If it's not under control, your business will lose revenue, renewals and potentially your Channel Partners themselves if your payments, product rebates and other incentives don't align with what they were reporting.
What's the solution? According to GSA (US Government General Services Administration) and other sources, that's the Half-Billion Dollar Question.
Channel Surfing Challenge #1: Reeling in POS Data On Time
No matter what timeframe you think you've agreed upon, on-time reporting is often cited as one of their biggest Channel Surfing Challenges.
The burden is always on you and your internal sales team to make sure reporting is done on time. Automating your workflow management may be one viable answer.
A programmed notification system could send alerts several weeks ahead of the agreed upon reporting date. Friendly auto reminders could alarm again a week prior. For those still not in compliance, additional targeted reminders could go out again two days before the deadline, the day of and daily thereafter until the Indirect Sales Channel Data is received.
Applying a technology solution frees up your sales and admin staffs while still reminding your Indirect Sales Channel to comply with your business processes.
Channel Surfing Challenge #2: The Flotsam and Jetsam of Inaccurate and Incomplete Data
Before you can tackle the problems of marketing globally creates, there's the issue of incomplete and inaccurate Indirect Sales Data.
If address reporting is your biggest accuracy issue, an automated address mapping table may be the answer. Capable of auto-updating fields, it can go a long way in correcting and completing locations, especially if the problem is concentrated among the same few offenders.
Channel Surfing Challenge #3: New Catch Thrown in With the Old
Onboarding new accounts is great for business... or is it?
While it proves growth and the increasing market adoption of your products and services, maintaining and overseeing that business is equally as important. Managing new customer set-up should be fairly straightforward. When it's buried in confusing Channel Partner Data, it can be anything but.
If getting your partners to flag new customers is difficult, so will be identifying them and transposing their information into your own systems. The best solution is building in a business process that validates each partner submission against a master customer list. A match: Existing. No match: Flag that account as new.
Channel Surfing Challenge #4: Tower of Babel Submission Formats
The size of this challenge depends on the size of your distribution network. One hundred Channel Partners can mean trying to manage POS data in a hundred different formats. Providing them with fill-in templates may sound simple—and in some cases, it is—but it will still require constant monitoring to ensure correct compliance.
If it takes them more work to transpose POS data from their system to yours, your compliance rates will drop drastically. Their perception is that they're there to sell, not administer.
Workflow automation via a system that can interpret and translate Channel Data live may be the answer. This technology solution gives you the ability to allocate or reallocate fields to match your required format and can result in perfectly formatted data.
These four challenges are the most reported problems Channel Surfing can pose to your Channel Data Management and business processes. The importance of solving them cannot be underestimated.
Meaningful data management systems can be the difference between making the right decisions that grow revenue from your channels and drowning in inaccurate and inconsistent data. Effectively solving the issues requires both effort on your part and a robust process that ensures timeliness, accuracy and compliance.
It all comes down to the size of the fish you hope to land and how long you want to keep it.
iasset.com takes the hard work out of merging your company's Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) data sources with those of your Channel Partners. By automating workflow through business rules, iasset.com will cleanse, auto-correct and validate information. You'll be able view a consolidated, accurate picture of all Channel Partner POS activity.
Want more on how to maximize revenue from your Channel Partners? Look for our upcoming blogs and publications.