Within its go-to-market structure, Motorola Solutions manages a global channel program called “Partner Empower,” designed to allow distributors, resellers, and sales representatives to know exactly how they are performing at any moment in time. This program includes a series of processes used to gain visibility into the fine details of what is happening within sales and distribution channels. Motorola sales managers and partners need decision-grade channel intelligence to increase sales and improve incentive program ROI.
Motorola wanted to develop the right processes to enhance channel sales by responding to accurate, granular data collected from channels, create better-targeted promotions, and develop more effective partner segmentation for their programs. They also required better processes to gain a deeper understanding of customers to improve regional sales performance and new product planning – and they had to find a way to improve the accuracy of how geographically dispersed channel sales results were being credited to individual Motorola field sales reps.
Challenges / What Motorola Needed to Achieve
Improve accuracy of sales credit assignments
- Process was error prone due to complex organizational structure
- Needed to split states, partners, etc.
Reduce cycle time needed to deliver weekly reports
- Sales people and managers needed sales data faster
Tighter alignment with business strategy for market development
- Market dictates strategy, strategy dictates organization
- When performance cannot be measured, this limits team strategy
Improve sales force focus, trust and execution
- Critical for a sales organization
- Reduce wasted energy reviewing reports
- Increase time selling in the field
A primary objective was to achieve greater accuracy in sales credit reporting. This had to start at the account manager level, and aggregate up to the territory and regional levels, across product lines, vertical markets, and end customer accounts. Motorola implemented a new series of reports that delivered better insights, and they now allow sales to change course as needed.
Channel data collection was automated, and it now reveals the places where Motorola needs to make future changes and take corrective actions to drive more sales and better position itself for future business in a changing marketplace.
Sales incentives are critically important for every company that sells products through multi-step distribution. At the same time, this can be a complicated, time-consuming, error-prone process. It has been known to happen that salespeople can spend an excessive amount of time building shadow systems to double check the accuracy of their sales figures. They might feel this is the only way to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. When that happens, both salesforce morale and productivity can be negatively impacted.
Proper sales credit assignment is literally the life blood of a channel sales organization. It's critical in so many ways, especially from a credibility standpoint. Manufacturers must continuously improve the focus, trust, and effectiveness of their sales assets.
To drive successful behavior within the salesforce, Motorola management defines specific strategic goals and attaches those goals to individual compensation packages, so that sales people are better motivated to focus their daily activities in the right directions. Management knew that an essential management component connected to this is the ability to continually measure and update channel performance to close the loop on the entire process.
Motorola is a highly-matrixed organization, and this is done by design. In some cases overlay teams were created, to deliver the best support to both their partner community and end user customers. As a result, a number of people are occasionally credited for a single transaction. From their viewpoint and their go-to-market strategy, this is done on purpose, but it illustrates why accurate reporting of channel sales results was a huge challenge.
Another essential goal was to reduce the cycle time required to distribute updated sales reports to field sales reps and channel partners, which they did accomplish. It is imperative to minimize the time needed to put sales information into the hands of the salesforce, so they have adequate time to analyze what has been shipped, what remains to be shipped, and what they need to do to close out the quarter.
Motorola partnered with Zyme Solutions, a California company that specializes in Channel Data Management (CDM) solutions to implement automated channel data collection to help refine promotional programs and keep channel activities in better alignment with global business goals. This is where the power and flexibility of a data measurement system plays a key role, because the current conditions in the market should drive strategy, and strategy dictates how an organization is structured. Channel data has no meaning if you can't measure it accurately. You never want to compromise your go-to-market strategy due to system limitations, and you don't want make manual interventions very often.
Motorola's new channel data management system is now automatically gathering point of sale and inventory data from distributors, retailers, and resellers, and transforming that into high-quality insights to improve channel processes and programs.
Research received from Zyme indicates that smarter channel management has helped some companies in the telecom industry increase their channel revenues by as much as 5% annually, and reduce sales promotion costs by 10% to 15%. Since incentive payments account for more than $50 billion of the $1 trillion in sales flowing through tech industry channels, these are substantial numbers that can dramatically impact a manufacturer's year-end financial results, according to Zyme.
Matt Feetterer is a Channel Account Manager at Motorola Solutions, Inc.