How to Build A Profitable International Sales Channel
#ZachSelch has helped build sales channels across 130+ countries. As a good Jewish boy he's built successful and sustained channels in Saudi Arabia, throughout Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe. He's a true internationalist. Zach has recruited over 1000 partners for his employers and clients but he doesn't build a land army; he builds a special forces unit.
In each market he generally only works with one partner, whether they are distributors, resellers or agents. He builds clear trust based contracts and clear expectations up front that he is in it for the long term, that the partner will get paid, operate with total transparency, and uncompromising integrity.
He focuses his time on helping the partners to sell because no matter how good they are at installing a product, no one makes any money and the partnership will fail. Never assume that your partners can sell. Most can't. Most partners are plumbers - they know how to weld and cut pipes - it's your job to help them build a plumbing business. That means selling, building systems and processes, hiring the right people.
Zach shares his partner onboarding process which is tried and tested. Familiarisation with the local culture is critical. Providing partners with short training videos is important because distributors rarely put much time into training partners on how to sell. This meant that Zach earned the right to mentor the individual salespeople, helping them make more money because his job is to get the result no matter what it takes and not being distracted to maximise #TimeAvailableForSelling and #TimeAvailableForManagement.
Stop hurting sales with the pointless, and add value each time you touch your partners' salespeople. Ignore this and you will reduce the time available for selling and they're highly productive you risk reducing the highly productive selling time to as low as 3%-7.35% of their time.
Zach makes it his policy to help the careers of his distributor salespeople. Treat them like they are your own, your protégés. Stop behaving like an overpaid clerk. You need to manage your distributors. Calling once a month and adding no value is why you are failing to optimise your channel sales performance. Help them prospect. Get out in the field with them.
Meeting once a year at a trade show and making a call once a month is a major dereliction of duty. Don't think that you've done your hard work and a channel role is a prize where you can sit in your ivory tower and the money will come rolling in to smash your quota. Channel sales is the toughest sales role there is bar none. It is not a place to send failed direct salespeople. It is where you send your best salespeople who have management capability.
You grow companies fast by leveraging the power of your partnerships. You grow them sustainably, by planning, recruiting great partners who can sell, getting into the trenches, training & coaching them to be great sellers, holding each other accountable and making them successful.
"There is only one way out of my network. And that's in a box!" - Zach Selch
Zach has built a lifetime network which means he can set up a distribution network in 25% of the time than other people.
We explore the up front contract he establishes to protect both sides. It will surprise you if you are only used to selling via partners in your own local market. It cuts out 3-4 months of dead time, prevents getting tied up in pointless stuff that lawyers think is important and will hurt you commercially. He establishes clear expectations in return for exclusivity. He also shares how he gets partners to open up all their customer and prospect information when you meet resistance or pushback.
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Zach suggests these 3 biographies of General Sherman
Sherman: Soldier, realist, American by BH Liddell Hart
A Soldier's Passion For Order by John Marszalek
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Happy international selling!
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