Best Practices Using Data to Drive Channel Sales

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Best Practices: Using Data to Drive Channel Sales Growth
Honeywell’s Global Channel model consisted of collecting millions of sales transactions from
the company’s 100+ distributors, and direct sales channels. The data came in multi-lingual
and multi-file formats, from which it was very difficult to effectively extract meaningful
After examining the business issues, Honeywell decided that a single repository solution was
needed. They also required this solution to fulfill three objectives:
Better manage global channel partners
Deliver high quality channel data
Increase channel sales
As a welcome by-product of achieving these goals, the company experienced impressive
results in their sales data processing operations.
Global Channel Model
Like many companies, Honeywell operates in a multi-tiered channel sales model. Some sales
are direct to large customers, other sales go through distributors, and other sales
opportunities filter through value added resellers (VARS). Honeywell’s customers can buy
through one or all of these channels.
Over 70% of Honeywell’s revenue comes from their multi-tier distribution sales channel.
Honeywell has over a hundred distributors that submit data, with almost 90% of them being
outside of the United States. As a result, Honeywell needed to solve a fundamental business
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visibility issue that resulted from large amounts of data coming in from a variety of sources,
in different formats, with different quality standards. The remaining direct revenue includes
extremely large deals with very large, multinational customers, such as UPS.
Business Needs
Honeywell scaled their business needs down to the following four requirements. They were
The ability to integrate for channel visibility to 250 sales reps
The capacity to process data quickly with little human intervention
The sophistication to display up-to-date reporting quickly and easily
The ability for global partners to report using partners’ preferred methods
Honeywell was faced with determining the best way to show data to their sales reps. Since
reviewing past sales data is not an ideal use of time, Honeywell wanted to provide reps with
data quickly, efficiently and in an easy to read fashion. Also, in order to verify that all data
was formatted properly, Honeywell determined that an automated solution was needed.
However, that solution had to have the inherent ability to perform tasks quickly and without
human intervention. Honeywell also needed to know that their reporting partners were
providing complete sales data. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, was making sure
there was a single repository for cleansed point of sale and direct sales data.
Channel Solution Overview
The chart below gives a comprehensive look at the solution that Honeywell decided upon.
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Honeywell’s POS and inventory data comes straight from their global distributors, across
multiple regions. Distributors combine their channel data with their direct sales data. The
data is then enriched with additional information from reference files, global pricing stats
and product catalogues and eventually matched with their customer master.
Honeywell then takes this data and does following:
Special Price Requests: Channel partners often require special price discounts to be
able to win a deal. Honeywell needs to be able to validate and calculate the
appropriate discounts.
Serial Number Matching: Honeywell links serial numbers back to service contracts,
calculates a tax rate and to incentivize their sales reps. The only way Honeywell could
properly incentivize their reps was to have accurate visibility into their partner data.
Product Matching: By automatically matching product data, Honeywell can clean up
poor quality data they receive from multiple distributors and render it usable for
business decisions. For example, if a distributor adds a suffix to a SKU, this is fixed
Account Matching: Honeywell is able to use automated account matching and
company hierarchies to roll up transactions so that the correct salesperson receives
Inventory Processing: By controlling the inventory of their distributors, Honeywell
can more effectively control their inventory internally.
Objective #1: Global Partner Management
Honeywell needed an effective automated solution for quick and easy implementation for
their existing partners. It was necessary to accept partner data in whatever format they
provided and develop it into a new global solution. Their number one objective was to
create an effective and efficient global partner management solution.
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Honeywell learned that one of the key issues related to effective data collection was for
partners to trust their vendor. That put the burden on Honeywell to let their partners know
what they were going to do with the data they received as well as use the data for the
benefit of all parties involved.
Honeywell also needed to automate their POS data collection. While EDI is the best
approach, many channel partners do not submit data using EDI. So Honeywell chose
Channelinsight’s DataConnect™ product, which automatically extracts POS data from
channel partners in a variety of formats, standardizes and enriches the data, then
consistently delivers improved channel data back to them. Along with making it easy for
partners to submit their data, Honeywell now receives actionable channel data in a format
they can use.
A best practice to ensure prompt data delivery from partners is not to force the use of an
existing data template. Requiring partners to use an existing template may result in a lack of
data submission. If partners can submit data in any format, they are more likely to submit
their data in a timely fashion and Channelinsight’s DataConnect makes that possible.
Another best practice is to set up automated reminders to ensure that data submissions
come in when expected. By sending automated reminders, partners are informed via email
when they should submit data.
Honeywell also verifies the accuracy of the data they receive. They can measure the quality
and timeliness of the data and use scorecards to let their partners know how they are
performing. This allows Honeywell to offer incentives to partners who provide them with
timely, complete and accurate data and it encourages other underperforming partners to
Objective #2: High Quality Channel Data
Honeywell’s next objective was to ensure that they would be working with high quality
channel data. As a result, they implemented an automated channel data management
system that replaced their legacy solution, which relied on Excel spread sheets, Access
databases and human resources. The new automated solution was extremely reliable, and
did not require extensive manual manipulation and resulted in a reduction of human
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Honeywell needed a solution that could handle millions of POS, inventory and direct sales
transactions and they needed a single-source repository where they could be confident that
the data was accurate. The goal here was not to have perfect data; the goal was to have
“usable” data.
To obtain quality usable data, you need an automated process that validates all incoming
data against internal reference data and industry directories. Additionally, best practices
state that exceptions should only be handled once. Therefore you should use data validation
rules that look for incorrect data, such as flagging data volumes that are too high or too low
in order to automatically catch data anomalies.
It is best to use an application that is always learning from itself, meaning that the same
errors aren’t handled repeatedly. By doing this, you will be working with the best possible
data instead of incomplete and/or inaccurate data submitted by your channel partners.
Once the data has gone through these processes, it can be used for downstream use.
Objective #3: Increase Channel Sales
Honeywell’s third objective was to grow their reporting partner base and ensure that they
were working with the right channel partners.
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Obtaining numbers and data is one thing; however a benchmark by which to compare the
data is a necessity. There is a need to establish benchmarks for your partners and compare
their actual sales against them. If you embed these benchmarks into your business
intelligence solutions, you can easily see when a partner is not hitting their targeted number.
By providing partners with regular and frequent feedback, you can strengthen their
performance and your relationship.
Honeywell is also always looking for new resellers and partners. One of the best places to
look is with their distributor partners. But many resellers and new customers can also be
found in your POS data if it is rolled up across geography and distributor. It is easy to identify
resellers who are doing a job well selling a particular product that could be good candidates
to become a certified partner.
Honeywell uses the Channelinsight Directory™ to enhance their POS with SIC code and
company classification so they can identify what kinds of resellers they have and which
industries those resellers are focused on. This ensures that Honeywell is not rolling products
out to partners that don’t sell to a certain customer base. Segmenting point-of-sale data is a
huge advantage when using analytics to see what’s selling in a specific segment, and enables
the creation of custom incentive programs for each vertical market.
Automatically closing the loop on deal registrations is also a big advantage when it comes to
forecasting. By automating this process, Honeywell knows which large deals have closed
without looking them up and can get a much better sense of how each quarter will progress.
To accomplish this, they determine which marketing programs are creating leads and then
follow those leads all the way through the POS.
After a deal is made, Honeywell can determine when the product actually shipped. On
average, they get 80% to automatically match with the deal registration I.D. or the end
customer and the SKU. The remaining 20% of POS data is exception handled to get a
complete, closed-loop view of their leads, all the way through shipment. By automating this
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process, they get a much better view into which marketing programs are working and which
resellers are actually closing deal registrations, not just creating them.
Channel Sales Results
Honeywell achieved positive results in eight major channel sales areas including reduced
processing times, improved product/price match accuracy and a 10% increase in quarterly
sales bookings as seen in the chart below:
Honeywell was also able to triple the number of transactions processed in 2013 and
decrease their data processing time from days to real-time. Making sure they constructed a
fully automated solution and employing best practices was the only way Honeywell could
process millions of transactions annually and provide all the required analytics with a staff of
less than 10 people.
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