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5 Elements of a Successful Channel Engagement Strategy

Engagement is king when selling products through channel partners and distributors. The more actively you engage, the more you sell. Unfortunately, our data indicates that a significant portion of sales leads generated by manufacturers goes unaddressed by these channel partners.

This represents a missed opportunity. The good news is you don’t have to increase your marketing budget or generate even more new sales leads to boost engagement. And you don’t have to turn to more traditional forms of engagement to fill the gaps.

With the right channel engagement strategy, manufacturers can end opportunity waste and maximize sales. Here’s what you need to know about improving channel partner engagement, and how technology like CPQ (configure, price quote), electronic catalogs, data analytics, product lifecycle management (PLM), and product data management Powerful Product Catalogs: Access Critical Data with Ease (PDM) software can help.

5 tips for improving your channel engagement strategy

An effective channel engagement strategy requires manufacturers to follow a structured plan that helps third-party distributors better connect with leads and improve sales. With so many players and moving parts in the network of channel partners, efficient communication and seamless data sharing are key to success. Here are five tips for maximizing the impact of your channel engagement strategy:

1. Connect your internal systems

Manufacturers often sell their products through dozens or hundreds of network partners and distributors. They’re the least effective when they rely on emails and spreadsheets for sales execution. In other words, they convert fewer sales. That’s not in line with your goal, so to overcome disconnected systems and processes, you need a connected network of channel partners communicating via the same platform, such as a CPQ or PDM solution. These tools can provide you with an overhead view, showing the status of every deal to maximize the opportunity of every lead.

2. Level up your visibility

You can’t fix what you can’t see. Once your pieces are connected, it’s important to base decisions on a real-time view of your pipeline. You don’t have to cross your fingers and hope you’ll reach your sales goals. With a single data source on a unified platform, you can gain up-to-the-minute insights into the status and size of various deals. You’ll also have access to metrics that can measure the performance of your channel partners.


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3. Enable sales partners with product data

Keeping channel partners updated with the latest sales pitch, product positioning, or new feature poses a challenge. This is particularly true if partners have to navigate your website or sift through electronic catalogs to access the necessary information. Keeping product data in a partner’s web portal also isn’t foolproof since they won’t always know what they’re looking for. Either way, they’re likely seeing a sliver of what you have to offer and they may be missing out on the most powerful materials.

The best solution is PDM software, allowing your team to provide sales and product information your distributors can have at their fingertips at all times. We call it contextual enablement, which means delivering helpful information on-demand throughout the deal flow — all without relying on your channels to track down portals, catalogs or website information.

4. Optimize lead scoring and communication

Once you’ve established connectivity, visibility, and contextual sales enablement, the next step is to create a continuous real-time feedback loop of communication. Doing so improves lead quality, deal conversion rates, and sales execution.

When a distributor receives a lead, is it simple for them to score it? Are you wasting resources on a call center or sending an email or paper survey to see if the lead is worthwhile? These are the questions you’ll want to answer during optimization.

Here’s the secret to optimizing communication: Keep it simple. The task will be ignored if it’s complicated or requires extra steps. Your solution should make it easy for your channel partners to score leads and communicate their status. And remember, conversion rates go up when all your players share a common communications platform like a shared data analytics solution.

5. Make decisions based on data

A data-driven approach to understanding distributor performance prevents you from making decisions based on assumptions. Without a unified view of channel performance, your conversion rates, lead response times, and ability to spot trends or make revenue forecasts is limited. Data gives you insight into your channel network, helping you spot high and low performers, patterns over time, and opportunities for improvement.

Maximize your channel engagement strategy with Revalize

Building an effective channel engagement strategy isn’t about generating more leads; it’s about unlocking the complete value of the leads you already possess. Master these channel-engagement strategies, and you’ll help your distributors significantly improve sales.

Revalize offers a suite of tailor-made software solutions to help manufacturers improve communication, streamline sales processes, and increase data visibility. Want to build a winning channel engagement strategy?

Request a demo of any of our products to get started.

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