The next twelve months of battling to keep existing customers and gain new ones is going to forever change the perception of just what time is in many companies, and completely redefine how time is used. Time – the most precious resource any company has – is going to be in shorter supply than ever in the next twelve months.
Get ready for a new reality when it comes to attracting, selling and serving customers. It’s not going to ever be business as “usual” again. Instead, there is a new edginess to competitiveness right now. Instead of holding onto manually-oriented approaches to managing your channels, or relying on sales training via PowerPoint on unreliable WebEx connections, get out and do some real social networking, in person, with your channels. And realize that your quoting systems need work to be as efficient as your competitors if the second major paradigm shift coming in 2012 is going to be a catalyst of change instead of a crutch.
Recession: From Crutch to Catalyst of Change
2012 is going to be a challenging year and instead of lining up all the excuses for not excelling in serving your channel partners, distributors or dealers today because of the economy, embrace the tougher challenge of changing how you serve channel partners instead. Embrace the responsibility to fight for your channels and get them the tools they need. Look at those areas of how you’re working with channel partners today and resolve to fix them – now – and make them strengths. That is the surest path to surviving a recession.
The Path of Survival in A Recession: Serve Channels Aggressively
Go back and look at previous recessions and see how the top-performing companies were actually strengthened by it and also learned how to be more efficient. General Electric Lighting Division faced formidable challenges selling into the European Market and nearly quite its channel management program. What changed? GE concentrated only on one area, how they managed their quotes and pricing. The slow economy was making small and mid-size resellers choose Phillips and other European-based manufacturers. GE concentrates so aggressively on making this specific process so efficient that they began winning market share – even in the midst of a recession. It can be done.
Time To Get To Work
Instead of looking at 2012 with fear and trepidation and letting that fear paralyze your plans, be the aggressor. Be the competitor in your industry that takes this opportunity to dominate channel relationships. Practice real-world social networking by getting out and really talking to your distributors, dealers and resellers to see what their unmet needs are. Sure, social networking and social media are fascinating, but trust and delivering on commitments are more important than anything else right now.
Bottom Line: Go find what makes your company most painful to do business with from your channel partner’s perspective, and really see how it slows them down from selling more. Resolve to do whatever it takes to get those strategies cleaned up, more automated, and focus on turning your channel partners’ time into a competitive advantage for them.