Activate Blog

How to Make Your CRM Work Harder to Generate Channel Growth

Over the past 6-9 months I have heard many executives mention that they are using and other CRM systems, but are not satisfied with the value they are getting for their channel business.   They say that their CRM system is not configured to support their channel – it lacks flexibility, and does not provide the planning and performance management tools that are needed to effectively manage partner growth.  So why are CRM’s not meeting the expectations of channel executives?

Top Reasons Why CRM Systems are Not Meeting the Needs of Channel Executives:

  • Not fully integrated with channel systems: CRM systems do not always have the latest sales results, pipeline data, and channel manager assignments fully up-to-date
  • Not designed as a channel manager dashboard: Key partner performance data and analytics are often not integrated into CRM systems, including partner scorecards, partner plans, performance-to-plan reports, partner pipelines, and partner marketing generated leads
  • Not providing workflow tools to manage partners: CRM systems are often difficult to use to create partner assessments, partner business plans, incentives, and partner marketing plans
  • Difficult to do quarterly business reviews with partners: CRM systems are not well configured to support the creation and delivery of QBR’s to partners
  • Channel partners are not fully compliant with registering deals: Because of various reasons, CRM systems are often missing a significant portion of their partner’s active deals

In most large organizations, or other CRMs are the “system of record” for the business.   Because they are often not up-to-date and do not provide key workflow tools for managing the day-to-day activities of a channel manager, they are either not used or are not providing much help to drive revenue in the channel.   The diagram below details what each channel team needs from their CRM system and an assessment of channel CRM systems strengths and weaknesses.

Channel Team CRM


This diagram highlights how the most valuable tasks for partners (i.e., deal registration) and channel operations team members (i.e., new partner applications, approvals, and certifications) are well supported by channel CRM systems.   However, CRM systems do not support the needs of channel managers, channel executives, or channel marketers with their most important tasks.  Fortunately, CRM systems are built for integration and these other task areas can be supported by integrating complementary solutions for channel management, measurement, and reporting.

Channel executives can make their CRM work much harder for their business by integrating a set of tools to fill key gaps in their channel technology portfolio.   Here are some guiding principles for building your company’s channel technology strategy:

Your CRM is the “System of Record” and can also work much harder for your team with the integration of missing channel management systems.  Each of the missing tools below can be easily plugged into any CRM system to improve the productivity and effectiveness of Channel Marketers and Channel Managers.

CRM Plan for Channel

Each channel user has specific needs and requirements for their CRM System.   You can turn your CRM system into an invaluable resource for all members of your channel team by giving them what they need to do their job more effectively.   Here are some examples of tools that can dramatically improve the productivity of your team’s channel management effectiveness.

Channel Manager Tool

Each channel role wants to be more effective in their mission to grow your business.   These integrated tools will give users more reasons to use your channel CRM system and at the same time do their job more effectively.   Adding these channel user-focused tools to your CRM will help turn your channel managers into expert growth consultants for their partners.   They’ll be able to use their CRM as one integrated system to manage, plan, motivate, and measure their channel partners.  Additionally, their workload will be streamlined so they can activate more partners and spend more time working with them building growth strategies.  This approach will turn your CRM from a liability to a key asset for enabling your channel team’s success.

Channel Account Manager Reseller CXO Successful Channels Reseller Marketer Reseller Salesperson Channel Chief Image Map