November 27, 2022

What are channel sales and why are they so important?

For all companies, increasing revenue is essential. An increase in sales – ergo an increase in revenue – is the most reliable route for a company to pursue its growth ambitions and follow its underlying scaling strategies. So, what are channel sales, and why do they make up such a large percentage of the sales market?

Last week, on Selligence’s Sales Syndicate Podcast, our very own Ellis Campbell, Head of Enterprise at Selligence, spoke with Alex Whitford, VP of Partners and Operations at Channext, to learn about his background in channel and partnerships sales.

Listen to the podcast

Whitford has spent eight years building channels and partnerships right across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He has worked for some big names including Zoom, where he ran their distribution strategy through the pandemic.

What is a sales channel?

A sales channel is a way in which a company sells its product to its users. There are many types of sales channels that a company might use to develop its selling strategy, but all of these channels are based on relationships. It takes time to build trust and rapport, but in doing so a company can go to market with a much more effective outreach than traditional cold-calling strategies.

Building a channel takes time

Sales channels are designed to be efficient, but building an efficient process can take time to perfect. The selling/buying relationship can involve a lot of back and forth, involving lots of communication and managing of queries and expectations. It’s not just building the channel that you need to allow for either – that channel is only of real use to you when it’s taking care of itself. According to Whitford, it “takes months and really years to really start to be self-sufficient and running.”

But having a self-sufficient channel is where you need to be aiming. Any company looking to major growth, perhaps targeting an IPO, will want a channel network that is driving their business. “It’s a massive value add,” Whitford continued.

You need to change your approach for channel sales. Instead of wasting your time and energy chasing down one big opportunity, play it smart and go after that one company’s partners. Any one of these partners will also be selling to a number of other clients you might want to chase down. So, by winning a reseller, you will ensure that your product doesn’t just go out to that one contact but will actually be made accessible to multiple other organisations.

To build a channel, you’ll need to change your selling mentality. Approaching a prospect with ‘we want to work with you’ is often received much better than asking ‘do you want to work with us?’. The thing to remember is that these prospects want to be treated as partners, not just resellers of your product. By presenting the opportunity as a partnership where both sides can benefit as equals, you can frame a much more enticing opportunity. You need to illustrate that you can bring them value too, and that this will be a partnership of give and take.

How to negate the challenges

One of the biggest challenges facing any sales channel is the risk of churn. It’s easy to sell a product to someone but keeping them on board is a bigger task. Salespeople tend to over-promise: they tell a good story, tell you how much money you’re going to make and how easy it’s going to be. Then the newly signed client hits a brick wall and fails to see the results they’ve been promised. Lack of trust comes into play next. The client feels cheated, or maybe just underwhelmed. Churn is then a very real risk.

There are three main ways to work around this. One: build a very structured go-to-market and really focus in on how value can be added for the end users, and how that can generate revenue. Two: for new user acquisition, tie your product to another complimentary product, so you can both go out and co-sell to new users together. Three: for retention and renewal, look for a way to come in and add extra value (even free of charge for a period of time), so that your users can start living and breathing the sales cycle.

Narrowing your focus is essential to doing well. Stop over-promising and leading your clients to disappointment. Whitford says, “focus is critical because where I see channels fail is when they promise too much and then nothing happens in the right time frames and then ultimately it falls over. What you want to do is promise three wins and deliver three wins – then continually do that as you then ramp.”

Clarity is key

A narrow focus and clarity go hand in hand. Now you know what you’re doing, and what you’re promising, it’s time to buckle down and communicate that – clearly – to your prospect. For any plan that you’re putting forward you’ll need to consider the volume, the churn rate, and the expected conversion rate. Set your expectations very clearly.

When building a business plan with a partner, Whitford will state the lead and lag measure. The lag measure typically is revenue, what you’re driving towards. The lead measures might be volume, end users spoken to, proof of concepts delivered, conversion rate, churn rate, etc. Once these have been decided on, Whitford advises, “map it all out clearly so that even if you haven’t achieved revenue today, if you’re hitting all the lead measures, you can be confident that you’re going to hit the proven lag.”

Integrity will also come into play here. If you’re being transparent, thorough and are consistent, integrity and good reputation will follow. In business, people talk, so a good reputation will spread. On the flip side, “you can only screw over a partner once and they never forget. And the problem is, you don’t just end up screwing over one partner, you screw over a whole channel because they all talk to each other, they all go for drinks, and suddenly you’re the guy that screwed them out of one deal and it just never goes away.”

Be selective

With a clear plan and strategy in place, you can afford to be selective in targeting your partners. To secure sustainable growth, you’ll need to be qualifying your partners and customers so you can root out any that don’t truly fit your ICP. If you don’t believe you can achieve sufficient ROI for both sides of the partnership, then it’s time to cut them loose.  

With channel sales, the idea is you need to employ a different mentality. Selecting a partner because you think you can sell one deal is not the point. You need to be thorough and considered in your approach. You need to be making partnerships where you can sell hundreds of deals through that relationship, not just the odd one or two.

Key takeaways

So, it boils down to a few key points. For Whitford, the starting point is with the end user: “who is your one end user who perfectly defines your market? Go and understand how your product works into that organisation. What value are they getting? What is it missing and what does it integrate with? And then I work backwards from that.”

Networking is central to building a channel, so spend time on networking sites like LinkedIn. The amount of information available to you in these environments is huge. In these forums, you can also build interest around your own brand so that you can get people coming directly to you too. By creating content on a networking platform, you can start driving a lot of interesting conversations. These can lead to valuable relationships that will serve you throughout your career. They can also help drive traffic and insightful conversation straight to you, so you can reduce some of the leg work!

Finally, focus on value. For a sales channel to become self-sufficient and really add value, you need to understand what that value looks like. You need to remember that value has two sides – what it offers you and your company, and what it can offer your partners. By understanding how your product can benefit your end user, you can also identify ways to add value for them too. Making your product more attractive, making it stickier and more integrated, is the way you will secure your own revenue value.

Rather watch the podcast?

Latest from the blog

Explore other resources

The Advantages of Using Sales Triggers
10 min read
The Advantages of Using Sales Triggers
10 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Marketing
Client Success
RevOps
Staffing
What are Sales Triggers and why you need to be tracking them: Part 5, New Facility and Facility Expansion & Investment
10 min read
What are Sales Triggers and why you need to be tracking them: Part 5, New Facility and Facility Expansion & Investment
10 min read
Jamie Pagan
Sales
Sales Triggers
Staffing
Marketing
What are Sales Triggers and why you need to be tracking them: Part 4, Growth Revealed
10 min read
What are Sales Triggers and why you need to be tracking them: Part 4, Growth Revealed
10 min read
Jamie Pagan
Sales
Sales Triggers
Staffing
Marketing
What are Sales Triggers and why you need to be tracking them: Part 3, New Offices
30 min read
What are Sales Triggers and why you need to be tracking them: Part 3, New Offices
30 min read
Jamie Pagan
Sales
Sales Triggers
Staffing
Marketing
Fintech: an industry to watch
5 min read
Fintech: an industry to watch
5 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Client Success
Marketing
Staffing
Understanding Sales Triggers: Funding Round
5 min read
Understanding Sales Triggers: Funding Round
5 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Sales Triggers
Staffing
Marketing
Client Success
What are Sales Triggers and why you need to be tracking them: Part 2, Expansion Plans
30 min read
What are Sales Triggers and why you need to be tracking them: Part 2, Expansion Plans
30 min read
Jamie Pagan
Sales
Sales Triggers
Staffing
Marketing
Using Sales Triggers: How to create a winning pitch
10 min read
Using Sales Triggers: How to create a winning pitch
10 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
Pre-Christmas Personal Branding Prep with Aaron Hawthorne, BDM and LinkedIn Coach at Hoxo
34 min read
Pre-Christmas Personal Branding Prep with Aaron Hawthorne, BDM and LinkedIn Coach at Hoxo
34 min read
Jamie Pagan
Sales
Staffing
Marketing
Client Success
What are Sales Triggers and why you need to be tracking them: Part 1, Funding Rounds
30 min read
What are Sales Triggers and why you need to be tracking them: Part 1, Funding Rounds
30 min read
Jamie Pagan
Sales
Sales Triggers
Staffing
Marketing
How open communication between Sales and Marketing teams benefits everyone
45 min read
How open communication between Sales and Marketing teams benefits everyone
45 min read
Jamie Pagan
Marketing
Sales
Client success is sales: Debunking 'CS' misconceptions with Katie Savino, Global Director of CS
29 min read
Client success is sales: Debunking 'CS' misconceptions with Katie Savino, Global Director of CS
29 min read
Jamie Pagan
Sales
Client Success
The ins and outs of international sales with Thomas Sutton, Director at NCC Group
45 min read
The ins and outs of international sales with Thomas Sutton, Director at NCC Group
45 min read
Jamie Pagan
Sales
Demystifying personal branding and social selling with Aaron Hawthorne at Hoxo
55 min read
Demystifying personal branding and social selling with Aaron Hawthorne at Hoxo
55 min read
Jamie Pagan
Sales
Staffing
Marketing
Chatting channel & partnership sales with Alex Whitford, VP of Partners and Operations at Channext
35 min read
Chatting channel & partnership sales with Alex Whitford, VP of Partners and Operations at Channext
35 min read
Jamie Pagan
Sales
Cold Calling Tactics That Never Fail
30 min read
Cold Calling Tactics That Never Fail
30 min read
Jamie Pagan
Sales
Cold Calling
Daily habits of productive leaders: Remember to breathe
6 min read
Daily habits of productive leaders: Remember to breathe
6 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
Northeast England welcomes timely jobs boost
2 min read
Northeast England welcomes timely jobs boost
2 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Sales
How to manage your pipeline amid Q4 anxieties
10 min read
How to manage your pipeline amid Q4 anxieties
10 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
What are channel sales and why are they so important?
8 min read
What are channel sales and why are they so important?
8 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
What are Sales Triggers?
25 min read
What are Sales Triggers?
25 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
Sales Triggers
How to develop your personal brand and start social selling in 4 easy steps
25 min read
How to develop your personal brand and start social selling in 4 easy steps
25 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
Dianthus Therapeutics Raises £100m in Series A Round
3 min read
Dianthus Therapeutics Raises £100m in Series A Round
3 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
Venly raises €21 million
4 min read
Venly raises €21 million
4 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
Payaut closes venture round at €8 million
4 min read
Payaut closes venture round at €8 million
4 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Sales
How Zeal Management Group reduced time spent candidate sourcing and recruiting by 85%
10 min read
How Zeal Management Group reduced time spent candidate sourcing and recruiting by 85%
10 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
How Selligence helped eSift Recruitment achieve 45x ROI in just five months
10 min read
How Selligence helped eSift Recruitment achieve 45x ROI in just five months
10 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Ellevest raises $53 million in Series B funding round
5 min read
Ellevest raises $53 million in Series B funding round
5 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
Brightseed raises $68 million in venture funding
4 min read
Brightseed raises $68 million in venture funding
4 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Sales
Bouncing back from rejection: Three things to remember
4 min read
Bouncing back from rejection: Three things to remember
4 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Sales
90 FinTech companies scaling right now
10 min read
90 FinTech companies scaling right now
10 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
6 steps to breaking cold calling cut-offs
5 min read
6 steps to breaking cold calling cut-offs
5 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Cold Calling
3 ways to avoid missed sales targets
6 min read
3 ways to avoid missed sales targets
6 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
100 Green Tech companies scaling right now
10 min read
100 Green Tech companies scaling right now
10 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
5 of our favorite companies recruiters should be watching
3.6 min read
5 of our favorite companies recruiters should be watching
3.6 min read
Jamie Pagan
Staffing
Six downsizing companies providing new candidate opportunities
2.2 min read
Six downsizing companies providing new candidate opportunities
2.2 min read
Amy Moores
Staffing
5 Companies Actively Hiring Tech Talent Right Now
4.5 min read
5 Companies Actively Hiring Tech Talent Right Now
4.5 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Klarna provides your next candidate hot list
1.5 min read
Klarna provides your next candidate hot list
1.5 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Citigroup focuses on digitization with 4,000 technology roles to fill
1.5 min read
Citigroup focuses on digitization with 4,000 technology roles to fill
1.5 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
10 HR Tech companies hiring today
4.1 min read
10 HR Tech companies hiring today
4.1 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Hubilo, where are they now?
2.6 min read
Hubilo, where are they now?
2.6 min read
Amy Moores
Staffing
Three Talent Ticker predictive intelligence success stories
3.5 min read
Three Talent Ticker predictive intelligence success stories
3.5 min read
Amy Moores
Staffing
Sales
3 downsizing real estate companies offering up immediate candidates
2.7 min read
3 downsizing real estate companies offering up immediate candidates
2.7 min read
Amy Moores
Staffing
Talent Ticker gets '#1 for Likelihood to Recommend' in G2 Summer Reports
2.4 min read
Talent Ticker gets '#1 for Likelihood to Recommend' in G2 Summer Reports
2.4 min read
Amy Moores
Staffing
Candidate screening pitfalls (and how to avoid them)
5 min read
Candidate screening pitfalls (and how to avoid them)
5 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
The questions your candidate should be asking at interview
4.1 min read
The questions your candidate should be asking at interview
4.1 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Best practice when hiring new graduate recruiters
0.6 min read
Best practice when hiring new graduate recruiters
0.6 min read
Jamie Pagan
Staffing
Puzzle grows using Talent Ticker's business development tools
0.7 min read
Puzzle grows using Talent Ticker's business development tools
0.7 min read
Jamie Pagan
Staffing
Pros2Work get ahead of their competition with Talent Ticker
0.7 min read
Pros2Work get ahead of their competition with Talent Ticker
0.7 min read
Jamie Pagan
Staffing
Zander Search use Talent Ticker to be more efficient
0.5 min read
Zander Search use Talent Ticker to be more efficient
0.5 min read
Jamie Pagan
Staffing
eSift use Talent Ticker to fill niche roles and stay in tune with the market
0.5 min read
eSift use Talent Ticker to fill niche roles and stay in tune with the market
0.5 min read
Jamie Pagan
Staffing
Millions more pieces of data available
1.8 min read
Millions more pieces of data available
1.8 min read
Jamie Pagan
Sales
Staffing
Selligence shortlisted for ‘Best International Impact Award’ in the 2022 Wales Technology Awards
2.5 min read
Selligence shortlisted for ‘Best International Impact Award’ in the 2022 Wales Technology Awards
2.5 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
10 remote working opportunities (for the candidates who don’t want to return to the office)
5.4 min read
10 remote working opportunities (for the candidates who don’t want to return to the office)
5.4 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Your Hopin talent sourcing list with 240+ candidates
3.4 min read
Your Hopin talent sourcing list with 240+ candidates
3.4 min read
Amy Moores
Staffing
Your next A1 Candidate, Boris Johnson
2.6 min read
Your next A1 Candidate, Boris Johnson
2.6 min read
Amy Moores
Staffing
The top skills looked for in today’s candidates
4.3 min read
The top skills looked for in today’s candidates
4.3 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Tech giant valuation crashes opening new candidate pools
7.4 min read
Tech giant valuation crashes opening new candidate pools
7.4 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
How to integrate your email with the platform?
How to integrate your email with the platform?
No items found.
How do I add an email placeholder?
0.4 min read
How do I add an email placeholder?
0.4 min read
No items found.
What happens if I see 0 company contacts on a profile?
1 min read
What happens if I see 0 company contacts on a profile?
1 min read
No items found.
How do I remove something from my search bar?
0.4 min read
How do I remove something from my search bar?
0.4 min read
No items found.
What do the Search Chip icons mean in the search bar?
0.5 min read
What do the Search Chip icons mean in the search bar?
0.5 min read
No items found.
The $52 billion Chip Bill and what it means for US recruitment
7 min read
The $52 billion Chip Bill and what it means for US recruitment
7 min read
Amy Moores
Staffing
How to deal with difficult candidates
6.5 min read
How to deal with difficult candidates
6.5 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
IMF publishes damning WEO report, slowing growth for 2023
4.8 min read
IMF publishes damning WEO report, slowing growth for 2023
4.8 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
How to send an email within Talent Ticker Sourcing
0.8 min read
How to send an email within Talent Ticker Sourcing
0.8 min read
No items found.
It’s Coming Home – England’s Game Changer
4 min read
It’s Coming Home – England’s Game Changer
4 min read
Amy Moores
No items found.
Why are British salaries so low?
3.9 min read
Why are British salaries so low?
3.9 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Recession: The impact it could have on recruitment
9.4 min read
Recession: The impact it could have on recruitment
9.4 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Predictive Intelligence in Action, StrideUp Funding Round
1.9 min read
Predictive Intelligence in Action, StrideUp Funding Round
1.9 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
15 tech companies still hiring in August 2022
2.2 min read
15 tech companies still hiring in August 2022
2.2 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
5 tech companies with candidates available immediately
2.9 min read
5 tech companies with candidates available immediately
2.9 min read
Amy Moores
Staffing
Hunter Selection win new business and save time with Talent Ticker
0.7 min read
Hunter Selection win new business and save time with Talent Ticker
0.7 min read
Jamie Pagan
Staffing
How to set up Saved Searches in Talent Ticker
0.5 min read
How to set up Saved Searches in Talent Ticker
0.5 min read
No items found.
How to integrate your email in Talent Ticker
0.6 min read
How to integrate your email in Talent Ticker
0.6 min read
No items found.
How to install the Talent Ticker Chrome Extension
0.5 min read
How to install the Talent Ticker Chrome Extension
0.5 min read
No items found.
Getting started with Talent Ticker
2.3 min read
Getting started with Talent Ticker
2.3 min read
No items found.
Daily habits of productive leaders: start small
3.6 min read
Daily habits of productive leaders: start small
3.6 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
The $52 billion Chip Bill: your intel US vacancy list
3.9 min read
The $52 billion Chip Bill: your intel US vacancy list
3.9 min read
Amy Moores
Staffing
How to use Market Mapping in Talent Ticker to put candidates to market
2.1 min read
How to use Market Mapping in Talent Ticker to put candidates to market
2.1 min read
No items found.
Daily habits of productive leaders: Back to basics
4.1 min read
Daily habits of productive leaders: Back to basics
4.1 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
How Hamlyn Williams achieve 8 x ROI in just two months
8 min read
How Hamlyn Williams achieve 8 x ROI in just two months
8 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
How to set up Sequences in Talent Ticker
0.5 min read
How to set up Sequences in Talent Ticker
0.5 min read
No items found.
Talent Ticker News Walkthrough
0.4 min read
Talent Ticker News Walkthrough
0.4 min read
No items found.
How to use Talent Ticker's Sourcing feature
0.7 min read
How to use Talent Ticker's Sourcing feature
0.7 min read
No items found.
How to use Projects in Talent Ticker to build short lists and export contacts
0.5 min read
How to use Projects in Talent Ticker to build short lists and export contacts
0.5 min read
No items found.
Canada’s “The Help List” supports recently laid-off workers find new opportunities
2.6 min read
Canada’s “The Help List” supports recently laid-off workers find new opportunities
2.6 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
Daily habits of productive leaders: Stay hungry
5.8 min read
Daily habits of productive leaders: Stay hungry
5.8 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
How to improve your organizational work culture, without booze
3.2 min read
How to improve your organizational work culture, without booze
3.2 min read
Amy Moores
Sales
Staffing
Search locations, email integration test, Chrome extension upgrades, plus more!
1.2 min read
Search locations, email integration test, Chrome extension upgrades, plus more!
1.2 min read
Jamie Pagan
Staffing
Daily habits of productive leaders: Keep momentum
6.2 min read
Daily habits of productive leaders: Keep momentum
6.2 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
The ‘Unretired’: 5 reasons to spec out pensioners
5.8 min read
The ‘Unretired’: 5 reasons to spec out pensioners
5.8 min read
Rebekah Prime
Sales
Staffing
Why posting salary ranges on job listings matters
4.6 min read
Why posting salary ranges on job listings matters
4.6 min read
Amy Moores
Staffing
Drilling into the fracking industry and what it means for UK energy
4.8 min read
Drilling into the fracking industry and what it means for UK energy
4.8 min read
Amy Moores
Sales
Staffing
Going Purpose, Not Public: Patagonia
2.1 min read
Going Purpose, Not Public: Patagonia
2.1 min read
Amy Moores
Sales
Staffing
Source Technology find their most active client using Selligence
6.3 min read
Source Technology find their most active client using Selligence
6.3 min read
Rebekah Prime
Staffing
50 Companies in the UK Scaling Right Now, September 2022
50 Companies in the UK Scaling Right Now, September 2022
Sales
Staffing
50 Companies in the US Scaling Right Now, September 2022
50 Companies in the US Scaling Right Now, September 2022
Sales
Staffing
Business Development Tips & Tricks
1 min read
Business Development Tips & Tricks
1 min read
Jamie Pagan
Staffing
Sales
Resources not found!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.