If your organization sells through channel partners, resellers or retailers then there is a way to add thousands of relevant and new contact records into your CRM.
A channel partner meets up with prospects for your products and there is a high chance that you do not have visibility in it. Worse, there is a smaller chance that the information of that prospect will ever get into your CRM! A principal vendor usually ends up saying that the channel partner does not want to share the leads for some reason. Based on our findings and discussion with numerous channel partners, this is not always correct. While there are cases where the channel partner does not indeed share the contact information or leads due to reasons, it is usually the absence of process which is the culprit.
As mentioned in our earlier post, we had surveyed 38 companies during 1st half of 2016, out of which 20 were channel partners and retailers of manufacturers from diverse industries like IT, automotive, home furnishing and apparel. They all echoed the requests of their principal vendors to constantly send the contacts and leads information - and majority of them do it. But the method was usually to enter the data in a blank spreadsheet which gets attached into an email and gets lost among thousands of other emails and then forgotten. Then there have been tradeshow and roadshow attendees who filled up an interest form and the scanned copies of these forms were sent. But the partners know it by experience that these details were rarely captured by principal's system as the requests for the data comes back in business reviews.
We found the problem was addressed in one case where an integrated partner relationship management (PRM) was provided to channels for registration of deals and entry of contact data and this PRM happened to be tightly integrated to principal's own CRM. However, we found only one such instance of an integrated system during our interviews. We did find several cases where the data was being manually entered by principals into their CRM but here the delay of the lead reaching the system became the issue. Since the data entered late, the marketing automation system could not provide the right nurturing to the lead.
The key is to get a system which can be used by channel partners through which the accurate data goes directly into principal vendor's CRM. The accuracy of data is important else it will not be trusted. The speed of that contact information getting into the system is important too, for correct lead scoring and nurturing. And then there is the security which assures the channel partner that their contact data will not be viewed by other channels of the principal.
At Contactous, we have solved this problem. Our customers are able to provide access to their channel partners to their environment in a restricted mode where the channel partner has visibility to only their data. The process is fast as they just need to take a photo of the business card and no other data entry is expected as it is done by us manually, to ensure accuracy of data. Immediately, the data is visible to our customers where it is then sent to their CRM system.
Beside our own surveys, there are studies which highlight that 9 out of 10 business cards do not make into the CRM system. But then are we even getting all the contact data ? As an organization we talk about the contact data which we have, but what about 'our' data which is with our partners that we do not have? It is actually an opportunity!