Launching a new product, or trying to re-establish an existing product through a sales channel that you don’t control, is like mounting an attack.
If the competition holds more market share, they will be ready to defend. If they have minimal market share, they will be launching their own attacks. And then there are your channel reps. Your biggest problem is not whether they will attack or defend but will they care? Will they pay attention to all of the features and benefits of your new product? Do they have the time to read all of the attractive and convincing materials you have created? And most importantly, when the dust has settled, will they take action?
But you have a big idea to combat these potential obstacles: to make sure you get maximum lift from your product launch, you’ve taken the additional step to put together an incentive for channel reps to get off to a fast start. You want to get them focused, emotionally engaged and ideally, setting goals around selling your new product – right away.
Now comes the time for your secret weapon: your field managers. All of your problems will be solved when you get these tools into the hands of your field managers to deliver the message, conduct training and get into the market to meet prospective customers.
But what happens if field managers from your company aren’t engaged? What impact would a disengaged field manager have on the launch of your new product to the channel?
To gain insights into these important questions, we conducted a study to determine the impact a field manager representing the manufacturer has on the engagement of channel sales representatives. We looked at the impact of three important variables in whether a field manager was engaged in the eyes of channel reps. Specifically, was the field manager:
• Supportive of channel sales reps?
• Knowledgeable and passionate about the new product?
• Effective at working with customers of the channel sales reps?
Channel sales reps are far more enthusiastic in a new product launch when they are working with an engaged field manager: