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Do the Math Before Dismissing Deal Registration

- Blog

Steve MurphyThe B2B technology buying process has changed dramatically — Sirius Decision finds that over 67 percent of the purchasing journey may be done digitally before a buyer even contacts a sales rep. For the channel partner or reseller, the shift from product sales to solutions and services, and the transition to recurring revenue streams, raises new challenges. And for tech vendors, the cloud changes everything — partner portfolios, channel economics and incentives. The transformation is well underway but hardly complete. 

In a period where all three legs of the buyer/seller/supplier stool are being dramatically transformed, there’s a real need for fact-based insights. CFOs, CMOs and sales executives alike are demanding hard data. For the indirect channel, PoS data is often too late, providing only a rearview mirror, while marketing automation offers too little insight; connecting MQLs to partner actions remains elusive at best. 

For most vendors, however, there is a readily available source of fact-based customer and partner impact assessment: deal registration. It should be persistent practice across all partner-qualified opportunities, both partner-driven and partner-given. Approved deal registrations are that single kernel of actionable data insight that sits at the intersection of the buyer-and-seller journey as well as the resellers’ and vendors’ opportunity pipelines.

Linking deal registration to revenue from Opportunity to Closed Won in the sales funnel through CRM is completely linear — it can and should be done in both the vendor and reseller CRM systems. Linking registered deals to campaign activities from corporate marketing automation and Through Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) is less linear, but it enables channel marketers to calculate ROMI on a campaign basis, empowering better decisions on what marketing expenditures are reaping the best (or worst) results. 

Even minimal integration between deal-registration systems and TCMA tools can directly correlate the marketing amplification being achieved through partners with the “top of the marketing funnel" activities used to create MQLs and registered deals. And vendors can use this data to assign better valuations for partner-driven and partner-given leads.

The Vendor Side

So what can vendors do to maximize pipeline visibility? Well, for starters, make it easy for partners to do business with you. That starts with making it simple to register deals, ensure that they are acted on quickly and, if a request is denied, clearly communicate the reasons. Vendors must also make it easy for partners to manage registration activity throughout every stage: 

  • Enable partners to handle registrations in a way that aligns with how they run their businesses. Many want to manage their registration activity in a way that aligns with their sales territories, others want to centralize the process for better control, while others want sales reps to register all their own deals.
  • If possible, enable partners to integrate your registered opportunities with their CRM systems.
  • Provide complete audit trails of all related activity, being sure not to lose deal history in the opportunity conversion process.
  • Consider SPIFF rewards to drive sales reps’ behaviors, in particular, promoting registration early in the sales process.
  • Link marketing campaign info with registered opportunities so your partners and your marketing team know what’s working — and what’s not. 
  • Use registration data in your partner business planning process and quarterly reviews. 

The Partner Side

Resellers are always told that deal registration will make them more money. But when they’re pushing to close a month or close a quarter, the process as it has always existed just seems way too tedious. Is it really going to help you reach your quota or earn reps a big SPIF?

The answer is YES! Deal registration has numerous benefits, including helping resellers reward their reps, increase their visibility, earn special discounts with vendors, get their products to customers more quickly and make a lot more money.

The problem is that vendors either have their own proprietary portals for registering deals or, worse, require resellers to keep track of deals in spreadsheets that they have to remember to email each month. Multiply that process by numerous vendors and even more inbound and field sales reps and SEs and deal reg seems more like a distraction from the goal of increasing profitability than a method to do so.

Because of this, as many as 40 percent of qualifying deals are not getting registered. But, at what cost?

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical $250,000 data center deal:

a. Data center vendor deal value:

 Additional margin for approved registration:

b. Storage vendor deal value: 

 Additional margin for approved registration:

c. Virtualization vendor deal value:

 Additional margin for approved registration:

d. Partner-provided services:

Total deal value:

Registration benefits:

Incremental margin on overall deal:

 $100,000

10%

$50,000

10%

$35,000

10%

$65,000

$250,000

$18,500

7.4%

If the reseller chooses not to register this deal, it is walking away from nearly three overall margin points and costing its rep $1,500 in commission. This is money that these employees have earned, yet it’s being left on the table. As the old saying goes: There’s gotta be a better way.

Resellers have shared with us four essential requirements for making deal registration a profitable part of the sales process:

  • Awareness: Vendors need to clearly communicate the benefits of deal registration to their partners, and then resellers need to make sure that their reps, SEs and support teams know about those benefits and their potential impacts. Do managers have visibility to the pipeline and the registration activity in real time, and are they taking action on it? Are commissions tied to registration? The importance of deal registration need to be consistently and clearly communicated from the top down. 
  • Accountability: Clear lines of responsibility must be established and expectations managed for everyone in the sales organization, and the reseller as a whole, to benefit from deal registration. The process must be operationalized. Even if you just put one person in charge of collecting all of the reps' deal registration information and disseminating it among vendors monthly, there must be some kind of system in place that everyone is aware of and participates in.
  • Automation: Having the right tools is essential to providing those accountable with the ability to submit, manage and measure all registration requests and status. Using a multi-vendor deal registration process can help streamline submissions. Integrating with the CRM system can help monitor and track reseller efforts.
  • Adoption: Finally, reinforce the need for accountability and use of automation tools until they become a habit. Rewarding sales reps for getting their deals registered early in the selling process can help improve visibility for resellers and vendors alike. 

Steve Murphy is the CMO of Vartopia. A channel marketing leader, Murphy is expanding Vartopia's Platform to technology vendors interested in growing channel revenues and improving the effectiveness of their partner incentives.

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