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How To Build Powerful And Effective Sales Channels With Barry Klein [Episode 153]

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Is your business maximizing the power of channel partners?

If not, it might be time to start. In this episode, Doug C. Brown speaks with Barry Klein, the Vice President of Success and Enablement at Talroo. Doug and Barry delve into the world of sales channels, including building and managing indirect sales channels, the long-term benefits of successful channels, essential mindsets and strategies, and much more.

Episode’s guest – Barry Klein

CEO Sales Strategies | Barry Klein | Sales Channel

Barry Klein is Vice President of Success and Enablement at Austin-based Talroo, the data-driven job and hiring event advertising platform that helps businesses reach the candidates they need to build their essential workforce. Barry provides leadership to Talroo’s team of Customer Success Analysts who have both revenue and customer service responsibilities for multiple verticals. Passionate about establishing “customers” as “partners”, he focuses on long-term relationships, lifetime value and establishing raving fans. Barry holds a BS in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

transcript

How To Build Powerful And Effective Sales Channels With Barry Klein

I’ve got an amazing guest for you. His name is Mr. Barry Klein. The company is called Talroo. We’re going to talk about building a channel. What does that mean? You have direct sales and you have indirect sales. Indirect sales is what we call the channel. Indirect sales are independent people who go out there and they sell your products and services on your behalf. They’re not your employee. You just have to pay them a commission.

The Importance Of Indirect Channels

Now, there is a process of success to doing this and we’re going to talk about it. Barry and I go pretty deep into this. I want you to get in your mind that no matter what you sell, you can always use an indirect channel to sell it. The cool part about indirect channels is they already have relationships. They bring those relationships to you. You don’t end up spending that high marketing dollar. You don’t end up having to take your direct sales team and take them all out and schmooze them to get it done with lunch or dinners and networking.

The agents already have these relationships built in. There is a process to this, and if you do it the right way, it will be an amazing revenue growth strategy. If you don’t do it the right way, it’s disappointing. Barry and I are going to talk a lot about that. If any of you at the end of this go, “I want to build a channel,” and you’re not sure where to go, reach back out to me at Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com and let me know. I can hook you up with either people who can help you or maybe I can help you directly. Without further ado, let’s go speak to Mr. Barry Klein.

Barry, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being here.

I am thrilled and flattered to be with you. Thank you.

Flattered, I love that word. That’s awesome. Barry, why don’t you give me a little background? Where are you? Where are you from? What do you do?

I am speaking to you from Austin, Texas, where Spring is springing. My back and original education was as a computer science major, going back many years, leading me more into customer-facing roles. I decided I had done enough programming by the time I even graduated from college and realized that what I particularly enjoy doing is demystifying technical topics for non-technical folks while at the same time being able to go toe-to-toe with the technologists.

It’s fun to be in a room with anyone from a frontline technologist to the C-suite and be able to provide value, educate, cajole, sell, or whatever it may be. My career took me through the Unix operating system, tech support and customer-facing sales roles. I owned and operated my own business for a while, unrelated to technology.

I’ve been with Talroo for over seven years. I am Vice President of Success and Enablement. I have a team that looks after a wide cohort of customers. We have indirect customer relationships through agencies and job boards where we don’t know the employers we are advertising for. We have our own direct employers who we look after. My team is responsible for all those cadres of customers.

Talroo, very simply, is a matching marketplace. We specialize primarily in frontline and essential workers, who are high-volume and often blue-collar. Our goal is to deliver unique candidates that any given employer might not find through some of the well-known dot-coms. We are in the same space as an Indeed or a ZIP recruiter, but you don’t have to go to Talroo.com to post a job. We pursue things a little bit differently, which creates interesting challenges from a sales point of view, from a customer success point of view, and what our customers get from us.

We’re going to talk about some of this stuff, but you just said something that piqued my interest. By the way, I think you’re better than Indeed and all those other companies out there. What piqued my interest in what you were saying, and I didn’t know this when we first talked, was that it was indirect versus direct. A lot of people don’t know how to build indirect channels. They try to build them like direct channels. Let me explain what Barry said, in case you didn’t catch it.

Direct channels are, “We hire the sales team. They’re in-house or far, but we have them as employees.” Indirect are those independent agents, independent sellers who represent our brand and sell our products or services for us. Barry, how different is it managing this type of people?

It’s a great topic and a very interesting one. When you have an organization that has both the direct selling team and a partnership, channel, or agency, whatever name it lives under, the mindset is quite different for the people who are supporting these different categories of customers. For instance, when we work with a recruitment marketing agency, it sounds so simple, but they are our customer.

The customer is to whom they are selling are not my customers, ergo and direct. Finding the balance between staying clear on who your customer is, the agency, the reseller, and the partner. I want to not insult them but, at the same time, want to understand their business and motivate them to bring you as much business as they can.

If they have an employer, in our case, selling job advertising. If they have an employer who we think is a great fit for us, how do I get them to bring us that business, keep them motivated, and keep them aware of us? It’s all about the relationship with that third party. It’s all about the relationship with our customer, the reseller. I can’t reach out and touch the employer and say, “You need to be doing business with Talroo.” That would be incredibly offensive to our partner.

On the other hand, we have a vested interest in looking at ourselves and navigating, which requires some savvy and some skill. It requires value add. In our world and the way the world has become, it’s all about the data, KPIs, and showing your reseller partner and agency partner that their customer is going to be better off working with you.

These days, it’s all about the data. We have to let the data speak for themselves. I had a call prior to us jumping on this conversation. I spoke with one of our agency partners about a potential new employer whom they would be bringing to us. One of the gentlemen from my own company who was on it was asking questions about, “How do we make this happen?”

We make this happen by arming our agency partner with everything they need so that they can go to their customer and say, “We want to add Talroo to your mix. We think it’s a good thing for you.” When you’re dealing with a direct customer, you have a seat at the table. You don’t have to use that intermediary.

Transparency And Ethical Behavior

Navigating can be challenging when one of our direct salespeople finds a way to meet an employer who is already working with a third-party agency. That creates a great deal of angst. I stay very close to those things for how we navigate them because you don’t want to insult anybody. You want to bring as much business as you can but with transparency and ethical behavior. In our case, I’ve always said to our sales team, “I will never undermine the agency, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to best represent my solution to the employer who might benefit from us.”

You want to bring in as much business as you can. Transparency and ethical behavior are important to that. Share on X

I always use the line “It’s as much as the agencies in any industry are protective of their customers.” If we were at a trade show and an employer came wandering about our booth, I found out that they worked with one of our agency partners, I wouldn’t turn them away, “I can’t talk to you.” I would speak to them. I would then educate them, “Can we get together with your agency? Can we have a three-way meeting?” That’s how I like to approach those things so that everyone’s in the loop, communicates, and everything is done in the light of day.

Those thoughts were amazing. I’m so happy we’re bringing this up because it is a huge form of revenue growth for companies when they do it right. They don’t think so much about the indirect channel, but I love what you said: “You have to respect the channel.” Your customer is the channel that’s bringing you customers who are the end customers that your direct team would bring directly. They’ve got to be managed differently. It’s like one’s your child, and you get to interact with them. Maybe that’s the direct side. The other one is you have some friends of your children or whatever. You can’t necessarily parent them the same way, if you will.

It’s a great analogy. I’m going to use that.

I’ve built numerous channels and I’ve helped companies build numerous channels. I wouldn’t say it’s a foreign concept to them, but it’s more of a concept where they’ve got to wrap their head around it differently, as you’re saying, Barry, because it’s run differently than it’s run direct if you try to run an indirect channel, folks. As a direct channel, it will blow up in your face quickly because these people are self-employed people. They need to be treated as self-employed people. They live, breathe, and hang on every sale that they make.

As you said, Barry, they come to the trade show if you upend their sale. You go, “Come on. Let’s sign them up directly,” and then the channel finds out about it. Your channel is going to start to erode because it’s all built on trust and support. I used to build telecommunications channels. I built college network channels and different ones. If you cross that line of removing a sale from an agent without cause, that will turn into a bad time for your channel.

It will and you’re also cutting off your nose despite your face because the whole point of working with your channel partner is volume and scale. People are representing you. You don’t have to hire every individual who’s going to help grow your business. You’re trusting your channel partner to do it. Having a long-term relationship-based and lifetime value mentality can be very different. It’s the necessary mindset for a channel partner as opposed to a traditional account executive who has a quota and needs to sign up customers.

They have a different motivation. That can create conflict and nuance that must be managed and navigated. Neither party is wrong if a direct selling account executive runs into a potential customer who is already working with the agency partner. If you undermine that agency partner, it’s not just the one customer. You are putting the entire agency relationship and the entire channel relationship at risk, and what’s better for the business? That requires a broad mindset of leadership and culture that balances the need for a short-term sale, which feels good versus all the time, investment, and a slower payoff often for the channel. They are two different mindsets. It’s a longer game and sometimes a shorter game.

CEO Sales Strategies | Barry Klein | Sales Channel
Sales Channel: If you undermine your agency partner, you jeopardize the entire agency and channel relationship, not just with this one client. Ultimately, that hurts the business.

I want to come back to the long game. That’s perfect. I’m going to keep pushing this button, Barry, because more companies could do this. They don’t do it. I was part of building a company that got up to $1 billion in sales. I was in the beginning of it. We started out with direct sales teams and a channel. In the beginning, our direct sales were about 60% to 65% of the sales. Our channel, as we were building it because it’s a long game, was down there, like 35% or so.

Fast forward down the line, almost ten years, almost 70% of our business came in from the channel and 30% came in from the direct side. This is that longevity you’re talking about, taking the long path, understanding who they are, and supporting them in the way they need to be. That’s not always easy, is it, Barry?

No, it isn’t and it is dynamic. It’s fascinating to think about and challenging to implement. One of the things that I see with our channel partnerships these days, especially in a world of Zoom calls, it is based on data for who gets what business from the channel, it still boils down to people because what we find with our channel partners is when the channel partner has turnover, it directly impacts us.

We have to stay in front of them, always training their newer people. Keeping our visibility up. We’re not a well-branded household name. When new staff comes into one of our agency partners or any channel, “Who is Talroo? Why should I work with them? Why should I put my customers in with them?” People tend to gravitate to what they know.

We find that we need to physically be present in our agency partners’ lives to the degree we can these days. Some are all virtual. There’s no way to get everyone together but to the extent that you can be physically present, make regular visits, and certainly make regular calls. Know who the people are. I hate to say it as glibly as this, but get them to like you.

People would rather do business with people whose company they enjoy and show the channel partner and their employees, the people who are doing the real work. Showing them the love and the respect to help them do their job better is something that is a constant need. Always someone new to me. Always someone new to educate about what we do and how we do it. I always need someone new to talk to about the mutual success stories that we’ve had. It goes back to the phrase that keeps coming back to my mind. It is a long game and it never stops.

People would rather do business with people whose company they like. Share on X

I want to illustrate that long game again. I had a client with whom I worked with. They started out. They were a smaller company. They went from about $3 million to $6 million. We worked with the direct channel. It took about a year and a half or so to get there. One day, I had lunch with them. I was saying to them, “You should build a channel.” They said to me, “What’s that?” I said, “You get these independent representatives representing your company. They go out and sell their products and services, but you don’t have a base salary, any taxable issues and all of the headaches of hiring and firing. You do have to manage this channel.” That’s the thing.

You’ve got to have a dedicated manager. You’re going to take a little bit of time. It’s going to help you grow, but it’s a long process. We had that conversation. Years later, they went from $6 million to $10 million with their channel. They still had the direct force and decided, “Let’s double down on the channel.” They grew over the next couple of years. Basically, they have one direct sales rep now. They had the majority of the channel pumping along.

They grew so well, they got the attention of somebody. Somebody came in, and as the owner told me, they had paid ridiculous amounts of money for their company. The reason I want to keep bringing this up is there are so many people out there who can build a channel in their business, but they don’t. You said some cool things, such as that you have to have regular contact with these people.

If we’re going to build a channel, what I’m hearing is we have to treat the channel partners just as we would treat our best customers out there. That means, folks, you’ve got to pay them on time. You’ve got to love them and get them to like you. You’ve got to support their business where you can. Think of it as you’re basically taking on a bunch of adopted children in some regard.

CEO Sales Strategies | Barry Klein | Sales Channel
Sales Channel: Treat the channel partners just as you would treat your best customers.

It’s not free. One of the objections I’ve seen throughout my career about channel partners is the thumbnail response or initial response of, “I have to pay them a commission. I have to reduce my prices for them.” Often, that’s true. You sell it to them at a discount, and they will be able to make their profit margin, which is fine. There’s a naivety to, “I have to give them some money off the top.” What doesn’t cost you money in a direct selling environment?

The last time I checked, you’ve got base salaries, commissions, all the marketing material you must do, and thousands and thousands of other things to build out a direct channel. It doesn’t mean that direct or indirect is necessarily better or worse than the other. It’s naivety not to recognize there’s cost with whatever we do. I’ve seen some teams dismiss channel activity because, “I’m not going to give them a discount for selling my product.”

Are you not going to give your salespeople commissions for selling your product? Because the last time I checked, you were. It requires a shift in mindset about where the value comes and the potential for scale. Do I want to hire 100 salespeople or do I want to find channel partners who can do the legwork for me? That’s worth the discount by and large.

If you do it right, you could have 100 people selling for you with two people managing. Try that on your direct team, folks. It’s not going to happen. The long game that you’re talking about, my dad – when I was growing up, I used to go to school. It was the greatest thing. I went to school from 8:00 in the morning until 11:00 AM. I get out and I go on work-study. I would go work with my dad’s business.

I loved it because all the other kids had to stay in school and I could go and make money. It was fun. I still don’t know if my father did this to teach me something or wanted low-cost labor. I don’t know but I’m so grateful that he did. He had an electric machinery, motor, and repair company, as well as servicing industrial equipment.

I always had greasy hands when I was little because I was always in helping. Later on, he decided, “I want to do a different business as well as this business.” We started a fisheries business. Everybody knows there’s no money to go out and go fishing. There isn’t, but it was a relaxing thing to do. It was expensive because you had to buy the boats, nets, equipment, and lobster traps.

From day one, he said to me, “Doug, here’s how it works. You get a third, I get a third, and the boat gets a third.” At the time, I was a young guy. I was like fifteen. I’m like, “Why would we give the boat a third? That’s ridiculous, Dad.” He said, “You got fuel, repairs, and all this stuff.” He laid it all out. He said, “In every business, you’ve got to expect that you’re not going to keep it all. You’ve got to put it back in.

To your point, Barry, when you’re building a channel, folks, you’ve got to expect that you’re going to have expenses. There’s no way around it but the expansion that one can get out of a channel. It would be like having a fleet of boats out there that all run under your company name, but you don’t have to pay out all of that expense. Remember, ladies and gentlemen, he, she, and they, they’ve got expenses too. You’re not paying for those expenses. You’re usually just paying that out of a flat commission to them. Barry, did I get that right?

Win-Win Mentality For Channel Success

The phrase that came to mind as you were describing that, not only the practicality of seeing the boat in the example of you and your dad as a living, breathing thing, an equal partner in the project. In simple phrases and perhaps, it’s glib, if you don’t approach a channel partnership with a win-win mentality, it will not work. There has to be something in it for them.

CEO Sales Strategies | Barry Klein | Sales Channel
Sales Channel: If you don’t approach a channel partnership with a win-win mentality, it won’t work. There has to be something in it for them. It cannot be a selfish move on your part.

It cannot be a selfish move on your part. You cannot undermine them. They have their expenses, and if they’re doing their job, people deserve to be treated fairly. I have seen scenarios where individuals or organizations will be looking to, for lack of a better word, take advantage. Certainly, not at Talroo but I’ve seen it in my career, take advantage of channel partners.

That’s no way to live. You’ve got to treat their businesses with the respect that you want to be treated with and give them an opportunity to be profitable, fair, and upfront. It sounds so simple, but sometimes it is not. If you have the wrong partners with whom you can’t treat with that feeling, then cut them. You don’t have to keep toxic relationships around. If you have a good partnership, that has to be given – like the boat – the care and feeding it deserves.

I’m hearing live by the old golden rule. Treat others how you want to be treated yourself. I’ve always found that in the majority of cases, channel partners are saying what you just said as if they’re not being treated right. It’s people who don’t know how to run a channel and they never talk to people who run a channel. They look at it differently or these channels that have been extremely successful with these big, huge companies, then the huge companies play the games with the channel because they look at it as almost like a churn and burn mentality.

If I’ve got eight new partners on, but we lost seven, we’re one up. Folks, that is no way to run a channel. I have seen the Kings and Queens of the industry treat channels like that, and then the channel turns against them. They drop a third of their revenue out. We can name company after company, Barry. You and I probably know. That means, in some cases, we might have to pay our channel out a little bit higher in commissions than we pay out our direct team.

All the other expenses are not yours. It may be a little bit more. While we’re talking about this, I’ll share an example, if I may, that literally happened. I’m very proud of the channel partnerships that we have. Both on the day-to-day and at the executive level. We nurture them and care for them. We get to know the people.

In fact, my CEO and I spent the last couple of months of 2023 traveling and taking folks to dinner. We didn’t want to be in the office doing PowerPoints. We wanted to talk to them as people. We got to know the CEOs and the executives. All of whom we know, but it’s nice to sit down, have dinner, and share a bottle of wine and talk.

I was aware of that when our invoices went out. It turned out that due to a technical glitch that occurred in our billing system, a lot of our customers were under-invoiced. Thank God it wasn’t over-invoicing. Under-invoicing, at least, doesn’t freak people out. This one partner in particular, with whom we had a lovely dinner and whose executives we know well, visited us and we had visited them.

We under-invoiced them by a significant amount of money. Not that I was worried that they wouldn’t pay or they’d be offended. The timing is such that what if they started to close their books? What if they had this invoice that dramatically underrepresented what they owed us and they invested time and resources? I was sending emails at 11:00 at night, saying, “We will be in touch in the morning. We just want to let you know.”

The CEO responded like that also in the middle of the night to say, “I’m optimistic that we will resolve this quickly and efficiently.” We did one business day later. Everything had been created or been fixed. Everyone was aligned. No one was upset. We all got on with things. Thankfully, they had not invested any time and effort yet in their closing. We identified the problem quickly enough. That was a moment where I was very grateful for the quality of the relationship.

I didn’t have to hem and haw. I could reach out to these people who I knew and with whom I felt I had a strong relationship to say, “Sorry for the midnight email, but you need to know this.” To get that initial response, that immediate response with that sense of optimism, my stress level went down. By the next day, it had been resolved. You don’t know when you’re going to need that relationship. You don’t know when you’re going to have to rely on it and say, “We’ve done business together. We know each other. We trust each other. We made a mistake, which we’re going to fix immediately, but I need you to know.”

I want to do that unhesitatingly and with confidence to know that the relationship is strong enough. It wasn’t the biggest problem in the world, but we were dealing with a lot of money, and there could have been a lot of confusion had we not fixed it. I was very pleased to have that strong relationship and be able to rely on it when I needed it. We have examples of that. Hopefully, we don’t make mistakes all that often, but when mistakes happen, the relationships mean everything.

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That is the key to building a channel. It’s all about relationships and treating people the way they want to be treated. If you’re going to build a relationship, folks, those of you who are reading, you’ve got to have that relationship. It’s all about building relationships because these people are independent. They can sell for you. They can sell for somebody else. They care about that relationship, and I’ll illustrate it this way.

First, we’re speaking with Mr. Barry Klein from Talroo. Talroo.com is the website. I’ll illustrate it this way, Barry. When I was a telecommunications agent and we had an agency, I had agents working for my agency. Back then, it was called a master agent. Now, the language has changed, but we had an agency. We had 33 potential companies that we could sell in this agency.

We sold five on a regular basis, 5 out of 33. We were doing about $3.5 million a month out of this agency. We had some buying power, but we only did five. Why? It’s what you’re saying, it’s the relationship. When we looked at it and all agents tend to look at it this way, all channel partners tend to look at it this way, “Whoever is treating me the right way, even if they’re paying me a little less. I’m going to go there because I trust it. I’m going to go there because I have family.” That’s the feeling we have.

As you said, stuff’s going to happen. Mistakes are going to happen. In telecommunications, how many times have our commissions been off? Every commission run was off. We have one person dedicated to commissions to go back and get the commissions straightened out. The point is that the commission you’re talking about was what kept it all together. We would do the same with our agents. If we traveled in a certain area, we’d be like, “We’re going to be here. We’d spend an extra day and we go out. We get everybody together.” Barry, you mentioned data and KPIs being very important in a channel. How so? Can you elaborate on that for me?

Especially in our world, with online advertising, things can be tracked down to the penny. In our industry, a key metric, for instance, is cost per application. How much, as an employer, was spent on advertising divided by how many applications they got? The other key metric, among others, is cost per hire. How much did I invest in my advertising and how many human beings did I get to hire?

The latter KPI always gives me angst because I can’t control it. I can’t speak to how efficient or not efficient an employer is. Regardless, in our industry, we’re held accountable for that. In a world of automation and what’s referred to as programmatic advertising, the balance of how much the channel partner trusts us, knows that we’re going to treat them right, and knows that they’re going to get paid on time. All those things that matter. Those don’t matter.

The performance metrics that the ultimate end customer is experiencing will win the day. It manifests itself. I’ll speak stereotypically, back in the day, with any channel partnership because it’s relationship-based, even perhaps more so than direct. A salesperson trying to build a channel might take on the traditional management role. I’m going to take you out for drinks. We might do some other socially inappropriate things or I’m going to get a luxury suite at Madison Square Garden. I’m going to schmooze you.

You like me the most and I spent the most money on you, you’re going to give me your business. That’s not going to happen. That is simply not going to happen. We took our customers, our channel partners to dinner. There’s still relationship-building to do, but it’s got to be substantive base. It’s got to be based on the numbers because, at the end of the day, I could schmooze one of our channel partners as much as I want.

If their employers and their customers are not happy with my performance, I’m done. Ultimately, the performance will win. They’ll give us a little leeway. They’ll give us time. With a good relationship, you can fix things. You can evolve and grow. Over time, if we’re not making those KPIs, they’re not going to keep using us. It is that simple.

With a good relationship, you can fix things, you can evolve, and you can grow, but over time, if you're not meeting KPIs, they're not going to keep doing business with you. Share on X

It makes total sense. Remember, for those of you who are like, “I might want to build a channel.” You have to pay these people on time and preferably early. That’s an even better part. Looking at these KPIs will help your company manage this process and have conversations if you know the uh-ohs are coming up and all of that.

It’s honest and open communication. One thing that people should be aware of when they’re building this type of channel is the people that are going to be coming to them or they’re going to be recruiting. They’ve been burned most likely by other channels. I remember one time, Barry, before I met my wonderful wife, I would go out and I’d ask these people out.

I was having a bad string. They would say yes, then no show for the date. It beats up on the confidence of a person. It’s like, “Why are these people doing this?” Or they’re flaking out or whatever. I always relate these types of things to the world of channels because they are used to, “The channel manager didn’t show up for this important meeting.”

I’m sure that people who have worked in channels are bobbing their head up and down going, “That happened to me one time.” If you’re going to build a successful channel, you cannot do these things to your agents. These are your most important customers. Barry, as you said, it’s a long game. If we want to increase our transactional value, create a new client account, and increase buying frequency through an agent channel, They’ve got to be treated the way they’re supposed to be treated, and that is why they’re held in high regard.

As you said, Barry, if they’re not the type of person you can work with. You cut them loose. It’s that simple. It’s better for all. I wanted to address one other thing before we go because a lot of people think, “I got a channel. I can’t play quota games or even set quotas with a channel.” I always tell people, “Yes, you can.” They go, “How?” I say, “You build it into a tier system.”

That’s one way of doing it. If they’re selling this, then they get paid that. Once they hit that level of growth, then you can raise the percentage. When you raise the percentage, you’re raising the quota. It’s that simple. This is how we don’t get in trouble with them becoming an employee. Do you want to add anything to that, Barry?

It’s a great thought. We began 2024 by reviewing all of our channel partners with exactly that mindset. We create ladders of achievement. With the greater investment and commitment on the part of the channel partner, the more we invest in them. In our case, it’s a commission off of an invoice or a discount off of an invoice as opposed to paying them directly.

They invoice their customers and that’s how they make their profit margin. We’ve saved them 15, 20 or 25 points. One of the misleading aspects of doing that that folks should guard against, or at least, this is my mentality and also, gratefully, my CFO’s mentality, we have a couple of very large channel partners. Their steps in their ladder are very large dollar figures. They can earn some significant percentages off of their invoice, which is great.

I offer the same percentages to the smaller channel partners. Everything is customized to say, “What can you deliver to me?” We never want to reward our channel partners for the same performance that they had the year before. That’s not interesting to me. I’m not paying you for that, but we want to grow. It’s unfair for me to hold a raw dollar figure to a smaller channel partner as the largest number would be for the larger partner.

That doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of earning the same type of structure, the same commission, and the same payment. To us, we look at each channel partner with fresh eyes. What are they capable of? What have they done historically? What are they signing up for the new year? What new offerings are they bringing to the table? How can they help us? We crafted a unique ladder for literally every single one of them.

People appreciate that even though they don’t know what we’re doing with others. People sense when they’re being treated fairly and that there’s a logic to it. We’re not making up stories when we’re presenting it, and then you realize you just lied and someone caught you in the lock. We treat everyone consistently and present the information consistently.

That’s perfect. It’s transparency. Sometimes transparency is, “You don’t belong directly with us. You should go with this larger agent because you’re going to get better support in these areas or not that we won’t support you, but they already have this built-in that you’re looking to do.” Or whatever it might be. It’s always a win-win. As you said, play win-win when entering a channel environment. Barry, how do people get to know more about you or the company? I imagine people are going, “I could do this with Barry’s company, or this was amazing.” How do they get a hold of you?

LinkedIn is a great place to find me. I’m Barry Klein number five. I can’t believe there are four other Barry Kleins. If you go to the Talroo website, as you mentioned earlier, very simply Talroo.com and you go to the About Us section, you’ll see lots of information about our offering, our executive team, and a lovely photo of me. It’s a nice way to reach me as well.

Barry Klein five. Five is a power number, so that’s the perfect claim. Mine, unfortunately, DougBrown123. I didn’t think of a power number. Barry, thanks for being here on the show. I’m grateful. I’m so happy we had this conversation because people must know it.

My pleasure. I’m glad. I do hope and trust your readers will find this valuable. I’m very glad I could be here with you.

Supporting Channel Partners For Mutual Success

Did you get a bunch of notes? Here’s the thing, when you’re building a direct channel, that is employees, you have certain human resources or things that you’ve got to do. Otherwise, you get in trouble. When you’re building an indirect channel, an agency, or an agent channel, you have certain things you’ve got to do also that are different than the direct side, which is you’ve got to stay in touch with these people and pay attention to them. Pay them, treat them with respect and help them build their business. Remember, they are your customer.

Final Thoughts On Building Channel

It’s different that you don’t have an HR department for this, but you do have a relationship department in the form of you’ve got to take care of these people and they will take care of you. It’s that simple. If you’re going to build a channel, please understand that it is a separate thing to which you’ve got to dedicate separate resources. You’ve got to have that attention that people are looking for.

When you do this and you do it the right way, you can also explode your revenues and profits because sometimes, channels can be less than it costs to run a direct side. I would air on the side that it’s going to cost a little bit more than it costs to run the direct side. You can figure out the numbers as you go. As Barry said, the data and the KPIs are important, but you can control certain things by adjusting quotas and how they’re supposed to be and building relationships through that part.

Maybe some of these people belong to larger agencies or are directly connected with you. You’ll figure all of this out as you go along. You want to constantly add value to the channel because remember, a lot of channels don’t treat their people appropriately if you treat them like more than human beings that are just sales entities for you. You will fare well and play win-win. I say that on every single episode we do, but in the channel, you want to play win-win and play the long game process.

I thought that was an excellent point that Barry brought up. If you love this episode, please go give it a review. I know it takes a few minutes to do that, but I’d be forever grateful. If you want to build the channel or you need help with your sales teams or your sales in general yourself, reach out to me. You can reach out to me directly at Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com.

If you know somebody who’s great and you think they’d be awesome for this show or you are interested in our 1% academy, which is teaching you how to act, think, and work like a 1% earner in selling. Reach out to us at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com. Whether you send me an email directly or you send it to YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com, we answer all inquiries. If you don’t hear back from us within 24 hours, send a second email because your first email didn’t get through for whatever reason.

Until next time, this is Doug C. Brown saying go out and sell something. Go sell a lot of it. Go make people happy by playing win-win. You win and they win. You get paid. They solve a problem or they get a better future. Watch discounting because discounting can take you down where you have to sell multiple new things down the line to break even. A lot of people don’t think about things like discounting or churn rate or something like that in their sales process. You want to figure all of that in to make sure that you’re highly profitable. Here’s to your success.

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