sales planningWhile some are still wrapping up their quarterly reports for Q3, savvy channel sales leaders are already deep into planning for 2015. For those seeking expert insight to drive both partner and supplier sales activity in 2015, SiriusDecisions has just published a new Research Brief that will point you in the right direction.

Channel Sales: Planning Assumptions 2015 identifies the five key issues that should drive the agenda of channel sales leaders in the coming year, with critical focus on:

1) Technology: Just-in-Time Access to Sales Resources

Make sure that your partners have direct access to the most relevant content and sales tools wherever they are doing business. That means investing in truly integrated channel sales enablement tools – and delivering access to those tools via mobile platforms, including tablets and smartphones.

2) Interlock: Alignment to Partner Business Objectives

Channel sales programs must be aligned with partners’ business priorities. Get them in tune by surveying partners to better understand their primary business issues, take a proactive role in supporting partner end-goals and ramp up partner communications to create a more collaborative sales process.

3) Measurement: Growth Metrics Tied to Partner Specializations

Suppliers are digging deeper into numbers, measuring everything from partner FTE investments and trained resources to revenue and sales by customer type in an effort to determine whether partners are on track to achieve targets. In 2015, suppliers should key in on partner specializations, such as industry or product line, define specific criteria to qualify partners, and rank partners within specializations to better measure performance.

4) Organization/Structure: The Evolving Role of Channel Sales Operations

Consider establishing a channel sales operations role that reports to the head of channel sales and manages the day-to-day execution of partner programs. Tracking partner sales performance, managing partner onboarding and addressing channel conflict issues would also fall to the channel sales operations leader.

5) Cloud: New Paradigm Solutions for the Channel

Cloud offerings move into the mainstream in 2015 and channel sales leaders must determine whether current partners are ready and willing to sell new cloud solutions. Surveys and advisory meetings centered on cloud will help undercover partner training and education gaps that suppliers must address to promote the sale of cloud-based offerings.

Jumpstart your 2015 planning by downloading the full SiriusDecisions Research Brief: Channel Sales: Planning Assumptions 2015 and let us know your key focus areas for channel sales in 2015.