If your vendor partner promises to provide point of sale (POS) leads as a benefit of their channel partner program, are you benefitting from it? Here are 5 tips that will help VARs get leads from their vendors that they can convert into sales.
Vendors fill their websites with end-user facing content offers, exhibit at trade shows, and send emails targeting end users. So which partners get the POS leads from these activities? The answer depends on the vendor. Some distribute leads based on the partner’s industry or solution expertise, while others base the decision solely on which reseller covers the lead’s geographic region.
If you share an area with other resellers, however, there is probably an element of competition in who gets a lead. Study the terms of your partnership with the vendor and talk to your channel sales rep about how you can increase the number of leads you receive. This may involve working harder to close more sales for the vendor or elevating your business to a higher level of partnership with the vendor. If you can qualify, do what you need to do to move to a higher tier, which could mean you get preference when it comes to receiving POS leads.
If your vendor partner does pass you POS leads, act immediately. You don’t want a hot lead to cool down or choose a different POS system. Even if you find the lead is only in the information-gathering stage of the buying process, it’s better to make a connection than to wait and find out that in the meantime they have been connecting with a competitor. This is backed by research: according to a report in the Harvard Business Review on converting online leads, firms that contacted a lead within the hour were seven times more likely to qualify the lead.
If you don’t make any inroads on your first attempt with the lead, make sure you try again. Just because the lead wasn’t ready to buy when you first called doesn’t mean they won’t be ready in the near future. The vendor that collected the lead will appreciate your persistence when you close the sale.
When you get POS leads from your vendor partner, they may not be hot, qualified sales leads. What you may be receiving are qualified marketing leads. The vendor could have collected them by producing an e-book or buyer’s guide and requiring people that visited their websites to fill in a form to download it. Or they may be people that stopped by a tradeshow booth. In both cases, the marketing lead is qualified by the fact that the person showed interest, but they aren’t necessarily ready to buy.
If you receive a marketing lead, understand it will take time to nurture and qualify its sales potential. This can involve activities including contacting them by phone, email marketing, or inviting them to meet with you at an event or one-on-one.
Communicate with your vendor partner about the activities you are using to engage the leads they provide and your degree of success converting. Even if your conversion percentage is lower than you would like, you can show the vendor you have a strategic plan in place to move leads through the sales funnel, which could tip the scales your way when the vendor is deciding which partner will receive a lead.
If you don’t have a marketing plan in place, it’s time to get one. Start by asking about marketing resources available from your vendor partner — including marketing development funds (MDF) — and use those resources to build a strategy. Consider using MDF to outsource marketing activities or to supplement in-house marketing resources with new capabilities.
A good way to increase the odds of getting more leads from your vendor partner is to convert the leads you get. Work to consistently guide leads through the sales funnel and close sales.
Need advice? Contact The SkyRocket Group to discuss strategies that work!