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POS Data Collection Whitepaper by Computer Market Research


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Whitepaper discusses "Best Practices" for POS processing from Channel Partners.

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POS Data Collection Whitepaper by Computer Market Research

  1. 1. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners First in a Series of Channel Information Management White Papers from Computer Market Research. Over the past 20 years, Computer Market Research, Ltd. has perfected its method of obtaining raw POS data from distribution partners. This white paper details the implementation 8 of a fluid collection process that funnels raw channel data from reporting partners into point-of- sale (POS) reports of business intelligence that can be used for future revenue generation. In eight easy steps, this white paper will demonstrate how our Fortune 500 clients obtain, use and depend on the sales data acquired. steps to success:© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  2. 2. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners Table of Contents Executive Summary 01 Define Management Challenges 05 02 Set Management Goals 06 03 Implement an Effective Collection Method 06 04 Construct Prior Agreement for Collection 07 05 Simplify the Collection Process 07 06 Import and Clean the Data 09 07 Feedback 12 8 steps program: 08 Share the Value 13 Conclusion© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  3. 3. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners 03 Executive Summary Business Challenge The customer is the most vital aspect of any business. The in-depth knowledge of the customer and the point-of-sale activity is an essential aspect of any suc- cessful marketing and sales strategy. This information can only be gathered with a comprehensive collection process from the distribution channel. High-tech companies selling through two and three-tiered distribution channels rely on the point-of-sale (POS) information that arrives from reporting partners. The accuracy of this information is therefore imperative to the success of any strategies based on it. Once the manufacturer has overcome the cumbersome task of obtaining the sales data from the channel, a new set of challenges arise; cleaning, standard- izing and processing the raw data files into business intelligence used for future revenue generation. When the information is at its most accurate, the challenge becomes how to best present the information intelligently. Additionally, manufacturers cannot afford to wait for quarterly sales and inventory reports to actively adjust inventory for enhanced selling opportunities to freshly identified customers. They must be able to access the data on a weekly or monthly basis. Solution Description Computer Market Research (CMR) has developed and perfected several channel data management applications that alleviate the challenges of collecting, process- ing and interpreting POS data from reporting partners, such as wholesale distribu- tors, retail store chains, online resellers, and other channel partners. Solution Benefits Accurate, complete and timely sales records arriving from the channel regard- ing specific aspects of all individual sales provides the manufacturer with crucial weekly and monthly information about who, when, why, where and how the products were purchased. With an optimized practice for collecting data imple- mented correctly, business intelligence is generated for channel enhancement.© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  4. 4. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners 04 The manufacturer can utilize this information to pay the sales force, create productive marketing strategies, optimize channel efficiency, comply with Sarbanes-Oxley laws, enhance CRM and PRM approaches and speed up the sales cycle – all key aspects in driving greater profit, market share and end- customer satisfaction. Over eight steps, this guide will detail how to implement the most successful channel partner data collection methods, as proven by many of the most prominent high-tech corporations in the industry. “I can seamlessly import the data, notice sales trends and better manage the US and Canadian field staff. The ChannelPOS reports sit on my desktop all day long. I live and die by this data.” - Bryan Levine, VAR Sales, Netgear, North America© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  5. 5. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners 05Step 1 8 steps to success: Define Management Challenges The first step to implementing any new strategy includes a com- mitment to a plan. First, schedule an executive meeting where the department directors can discuss the current internal challenges of gathering data from the channel. Some questions that should be addressed are: Information Technology • How cost-effective is your company in obtaining the information from the channel? • Do you have a method of cleaning and standardizing the data obtained from the channel? • Do you currently have any methods of enhancing the data? • Does your current reporting process give you adequate insight into changing marketing strategies? • Do your current collection solutions integrate fluidly with vendors of CRM, PRM, Sales Compensation and Financial applications? Finance Department • What is your current company procedure for compensating the sales team? • How do you accurately recognize revenue traveling through the channel? • How do you currently process partner incentives? • Is maintaining price protection a constant challenge? Sales Department • What is your current company procedure for motivating the sales force? • Do sales data and technology assist in your lead management process? • What are your current strategies for pipeline management? • Do you have an effective way to forecast sales? • What are your current company procedures for special pricing?© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  6. 6. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners 06 2 Marketing Department • Does your company currently have a simplified method of adding new resellers to your network and database? • How efficiently does your company issue COOP/MDF funds? • What are your current procedures for calculating marketing program return-on- investment (ROI)? • What are your current procedures for issuing rebates and spiffs? Set Management Goals Collaborate to create firm goals of what your company intends to achieve by collecting the POS data. Essential information may include channel customers, successful products and the sales trends they have created. Identify Your Distributors • Would you like to easily merge multiple distributor POS files for analysis? • Would you prefer to have your sales and marketing personnel receive channel information that allows them to better understand their business, offload administrative tasks and focus on their specific duties? • Would you like to alleviate headaches from partner rebate validations? Identify Your Resellers • Is making the commission payroll a monthly headache? • Do you need to better police channel returns? • Is full Sarbanes-Oxley compliance seemingly unattainable? • Are you spending too much time and money attempting to optimize your channel? Identify The End Users • Who are your top customers and what vertical markets are they in? • When do you acquire new customers? • How can you increase your sales to customers demographically? Identify Your Products • What are your top products that are being sold and why, where and by whom? • How can you make improvements on products that are not at their optimum selling capacity? • Is balancing inventory and price protection a concern? Implement an Effective Collection Method Once the goals have been determined, decide upon and implement a method of attaining the goals. Consider factors including the effectiveness of the collection© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  7. 7. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners 07 time and effort spent internally. Management must analyze if the hardware, soft- ware and human resources necessary for proper data collection are worth the final results. A company can waste valuable time tracking reporting partners who are continually behind schedule. If the sales records are unattended for lengthy periods of time, the sales departments are losing money and valuable direction. Once the data arrives, Information Technology departments are constantly burdened with the repetitive 4 process of manually clarifying the data that arrives from the channel. Through finan- cial analysis and a comprehensive ROI process with management, decisions can be made about when it is more cost-effective to outsource the collection and data processing to a single company that can easily resolve all of the defined manage- ment challenges. The CMR Channel POS online application easily imports, cleans and processes the POS data files into useful information for decision-makers. Channel POS also links to a variety of products that enhance communication and effectiveness of the distribution channel. These products combined, alleviate all management challenges defined in step one and achieve all goals decided upon in step two. Construct Prior Agreement for Collection It is essential that an agreement be developed and approved by both the manu- 5 facturer and the reporting partners. Based on the goals stated by the department heads, the agreement must state specific needs concerning the exact methods of obtaining the POS records from the reporting partners, avoiding simple agreements to “collect the data in a timely manner. ” The agreement should state specific needs, including the day and date that the file is due, the rate at which the reporting occurs (month/week/day), the type of data that is expected and the format that this data will arrive in, the repercussions of a late file and rewards for on-time reporting (See Section 8 – Share the Value). Simplify the Collection Process The manufacturer must provide receiving methods that are reporting partner-friendly and identify critical-to-quality data fields. They are providing data that business activ- ity depends on. The more reporting methods and file formats allowed, the greater the chances of accurate, complete and timely reporting. Some essential methods include: • An email attachment • FTP Push © COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  8. 8. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners 08 The CMR Compliance Wizard saves time and money by allowing the reporting partners to enter the POS data directly into the database. • FTP Fetch • A Website that is linked to a database CMR accepts all reporting partner formats. Excel Files • XML Files • ASCII Text Files • Comma Separated Values (CSV) • EDI Files© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  9. 9. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners 09 Tab-delimited Text Files 6 Import and Clean the Data Once the file has been received, import and audit the raw data file, in preparation for processing.© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  10. 10. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners 10 To ensure accuracy and data protection, CMR imports the file into a temporary generic template for preliminary review. In this stage, the file is standardized before it is uploaded into the database for processing. CMR’s Channel POS application has many pages, like the one shown below, that allow the user to quickly standardize any aspect of the sales data files that arrive from reporting partners that do not match the information stored in the database. Management can easily specify which fields of the file should be uploaded into the database, in a process known as mapping.© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  11. 11. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners 11 Verify that the file was processed correctly and critical-to-quality fields are present and valid. Track the file as it is received, imported, cleaned, migrated and processed.© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  12. 12. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners 12 Create accurate, clean and configurable reports based on the data generated. 7 Feedback Confirm via email with the reporting partners that the files were received.© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  13. 13. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners 13 If the file is late, use an automated reminder system that delivers emails of escalating urgency to the late reporting partner. Create a report that ranks their reporting performance, to allow them to improve their methods. 8 Share the Value The reporting partner should be made aware of the importance of their contribu- tion. The manufacturer can use the sales reports as a tool to advise the partners of methods of enhancing sales opportunities by providing the partners with sug- gestions of possible leads. Effective reporting partner motivators include rewards like leads, rebates, spiffs and Co-op/MDF money. Greater amounts of selling reward all levels of the channel.© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007
  14. 14. Best Practices For Collecting Sales Data from Channel Partners 14 Conclusion Without knowledge of the customer, management can only guess how to sell a product. Point-of-sale records obtained from reporting partners contain this crucial and fundamental information. When reporting partners are content with an optimized channel information collection and reporting process, manufacturers gain business intelligence on vital customers that translates into future revenue. About Computer Market Research Computer Market Research, Ltd. (CMR) is the industry’s leading solution provider of POS data management applications for the distribution channel. For over 20 years, CMR’s web-based and hosted software applications have accelerated and automated distributor and reseller data collection, processing, analysis and reporting. Clients like Hitachi Data Systems, palmOne, Samsung, Roxio and Sym- bol Technologies, rely on CMR to improve their POS data management process. Sales Contact: Rick Bussell, VP of sales For more information, visit us at© COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, 2007