In our previous post, Deal Registration, the good and the bad, we explained deal registration as a way for partners to share leads and deals they have been developing for their vendors. That registration lets partners claim a lead for a set period of time and prevent other people including their vendor from stealing the lead. Once that period of time has expired the lead opens back up. If the partner hasn’t managed to win over the prospect by that point, everyone else can start selling to them.
It’s supposed to be a way to minimize channel conflict, but sometimes it creates problems instead. This happens because when partners fill out a deal registration form, they don’t have any visibility into what the vendor does with that information. One problem is that the vendor could hand that information over to their direct sales team and have them go after the deal. Another problem is that two partners could have registered the same deal. This is more of a problem for the vendor than their partners, but it’s still a deal registration problem.
Problem 1: The direct sales team
When a partner registers a deal, the vendor gets notified. Normally, what happens is the partner gets a period of time to close that deal or work that lead without anyone else interfering. However, sometimes the lead decides to check out the vendor’s website and gets themselves on the vendor’s marketing list.
In this scenario, both the partner and the vendor’s direct sales team fight over the lead. The vendor then has to decide who should pursue the lead. If they upset their partner, their partner may stop engaging with them and stop giving them leads. On the other hand, if they upset their direct sales team, their team loses confidence in them and may walk away.
Then there’s the lead. If the lead has a frustrating experience because both the direct sales team and the partner are talking to them, they’ll go to the vendor’s competitor. They’ll probably also write a review online telling people about their experience causing the vendor’s reputation to slip.
Vendors try not to let this happen, which is why they require the lead to be registered in the first place. When the lead is registered, the vendor can then check to see if the lead is already in the system. If they are, then the vendor tells either the partner or their direct sales team to stop pursuing the lead since one of them has already talked to them.
For more about the direct sales-partner conflict, read: How to make sure your direct sales don’t collide with partner’s deals
Problem 2: Which partner gets the credit for a deal?
Sometimes a vendor has two of their partners register the exact same deal on the exact same day. In that case, the vendor is unable to tell which of their partners was first to register the deal.
Today, most deal registration forms only note the date that the deal was registered on. For most cases this is fine, but it causes a problem in the scenario above. Since the vendor doesn’t know which partner registered the deal first, they have to pick which partner gets the credit and the commission for the deal.
The vendor has to decide who to give the deal to based on a number of factors such as who is more likely to close the deal, what’s best for their prospective customer, and their relationship with the partners involved. Considering these factors will help the vendor make a decision.
Factoring in who is more likely to close the deal will provide the best chance of success at winning the deal. Keeping what’s best for the customer in mind will remind partners of what’s important and prevent them from promising the customer things they can’t do in an effort to look better than the other partner. Finally, considering the vendor’s relationship with each partner will help the vendor keep the partner’s best interests in mind. No matter what the outcome, partners are more likely to respond favorably if the vendor demonstrates that they have the partner’s best interests in mind.
Other tools the vendor can use to make a decision are conflict resolution strategies. If the partners find out that another partner is competing for their deal they won’t be happy and conflict occurs. The vendor can use conflict resolution strategies such as sticking to policies and procedures and moving things forward when none of the other strategies work.
Following policies and procedures means that vendors have a guide on what to do if two of their partners register the same deal. At the same time, the partners have an idea of how the vendor made their decision. This helps prevent the vendor-partner relationship from being damaged as partners understand that the vendor made the decision independent of what that relationship looks like.
For more about how to handle two partners registering the same deal, take a look at our post: 2 Strategies to Resolve Deal Conflicts Between Partners
Deal registration is a useful tool for letting partners lay claim to a lead and gives them the best chance to win that lead without anyone else interfering. However, deal registration can also cause problems. Registering a deal alerts the vendor to a potential lead. The vendor can then hand this lead over to their direct sales team bringing the partner and the direct sales team into conflict. Two partners can also register the same deal putting the vendor in the position of having to choose who gets commission for the deal.