There are mixed opinions on which should be focused on to convince your sales team and your chosen channel partners to promote and sell your product or service and effectively, at that. In truth, there isn’t just one specific of the business to focus on.
From enhanced market awareness to having more leads, lower prices, better product or service offers and more competitive features, all these are important considerations when creating your marketing strategy to increase channel sales.
Another key factor to consider is also close to you – your partners. It makes a sound plan to invest in them such as when you offer training, knowledge transfer, and partner enablement.
What is Partner Enablement?
Partner enablement covers added resources such as on-boarding programs, solution playbooks, technical support, coaching, and customer references. Aside from these, various programs, tools, or collateral intended to equip your partners with whatever they need to professionally represent your company.
To compare with another term that is also being asked on Google, let us define that as well to see if they are any different.
What is Channel Enablement?
Channel enablement involves the utilization of resources to make sure that channel sellers have all the required tools to attain success. What’s more, the company must be able to track its efforts, activities, and the resulting success of each. This is to boost operational efficiency and enhance alignment.
As implied from these two, they are both referring to the same goal which is to use provided resources to increase or enhance channel sales.
Due to the heavy dependence of many channels to channel partners and resellers to promote and sell the various channel members’ products and services, channel enablement or partner enablement is emerging as a primary concern for many companies.
Thus far, channel enablement incorporates various activities and resources used to boost a specific channel selling effort. To clarify the complex ins and outs of channel enablement, you must break these down into problems that may happen then state the outcomes of engaging in a channel enablement strategy.
Problems That Channel Enablement Resolves
Getting on a partner selling strategy or channel selling comes out of an area that is weak or lacking. This can be from knowledge, resources, time, access, or other things that prove to be a weakness of your strategy. Channel resellers open a route to where they want to sell or market products or services. Whether a partner participates in a partner selling agreement in a new geographic location, create inroads to a different industry or market, or leverage the channel resellers to current connections, the possibilities increase more as more channel partners or resellers commit to sell your product or service.
Channel selling offers so much potential to increase sales. However, without a sincere commitment to channel enablement, various problems will arise.
Decentralized strategies can cause breakdowns
Channel resellers abound anywhere in the world and have their own standards and values, which may be different from those they partner with. It is natural, though, that a company will partner with resellers who have the same or similar goals and values as theirs. However, you cannot expect a perfect alignment as that of a traditional employee.
Here are various ways that this tactic can break, and can be resolved by partner enablement.
- Communication – Updating channel resellers about new information or content as soon as it becomes available can be challenging for partner marketers.
- Branding, Compliance, and Personalization – Channel resellers who are located in far areas may not be able to avail of the updated content presented for branding and compliance issues of companies. Channel resellers likewise cannot easily create customized content for the end-users without taking up too much time for the partner marketer.
- Analytics – From the viewpoint of the company, they must monitor how effective their channel selling strategy is. So, they need to know if the resellers are actually using their content if it is proving to be effective and if they can access the portal provided for all resellers use.
How Channel Enablement Enhance Channel Selling
The problems cited above may appear unimportant, but when these small problems pile up, they can easily derail the channel selling strategy of a company. Channel enablement provides avenues to reduce any barriers that may arise between the company and its’ channel resellers. If you are serious about succeeding in this, design a platform that will eliminate any discovered weakness or problem and not just the ones listed above.
Here are how the listed problems are resolved:
- Communication – A channel enablement solution must provide a central hub that is accessible to both channel partners and resellers so either of them can receive the latest correspondence regarding new content, industry events, or industry news.
- Branding, Compliance, and Personalization – A partner enablement platform will provide marketers the capacity to quickly update content and provide access to the latest revisions to the resellers. In the same way, they can limit access to content that can be customized by channel resellers so that only the necessary sections will be seen. This eliminates any risk on non-compliance and off-brand content.
- Analytics – This is one of the most powerful features of an effective channel enablement platform. This refers to the capacity of the marketer to monitor and track every aspect of the channel sales strategy. With the proper tool or software, partner marketers can already track how often content is sent, what content proved to be effective, and who among the channel resellers are properly engaged and actively selling.
Examples Of Activities To Encourage Your Channel Enablement To Stick
Having determined the problems or weaknesses discovered and provided proper partner enablement to resolve those, the final step to the enablement to be completed is to ensure that these are properly reinforced and recalled. This final step is a continuous one that must be done if you want to maintain or boost enablement and sales success.
- Design A Secret Shopper Campaign – In this recall and reinforcement activity, the company provides content for all resellers to use. They must learn it and master it enough to be able to explain it on their own. A time is then set where they will deliver the content. Notes are allowed so long as they provide the salient points of the content in a way that was comfortable and natural to them. In the end, those who delivered impressive messages are given rewards. Similarly, you can use other activities and rewards for those who successfully retains and delivers the key messages properly and effectively.
- Gamification – This is a very good strategy to employ if you want to boost the reinforcement and retrieval of content over time. Activities such as competitions, leader-boards, points, rewards, badges, recognition, and the like that boost motivation, education, and engagement of channel resellers can do wonders to achieve reinforcement and recollection.
- Coaches’ Corner – this involves assigning leaders as coaches, who will be readily available to answer questions or to reinforce recall of a specific message or content. Creating a central team that all your channel resellers can contact will make this an effective way to boost reinforcement and recall.
The Bottom Line
Channel enablement is such a broad topic to cover. However, taking the necessary initiative to engage your resellers more will do wonders in preferring you to unprecedented heights when it comes to channel selling.
For sure, the tasks involved can be challenging, especially as this has such a wide and varied coverage. However, strive to have the patience and the determination to help your channel resellers to know your product or service as you or your employees do. In the end, you can certainly come up with great ideas that can slowly be enhanced to fit your needs or requirement to a tee.
If these are done well, partner enablement will not only equip your resellers to sell more, they will also sell effectively. What’s more, the more sales they make, the more it will encourage them to favor your company as a more profitable vendor.