Just because you’ve partnered with a company, it doesn’t mean their sales reps are 100% ready to champion your brands’ products and solutions from the get-go. Having unprepared sales reps can lead to missed opportunities, and in some cases can even worsen your brand image.
As a B2B sales organization, you need proven ways to keep channel sales reps engaged with your brand, driving revenue through compelling and cohesive company strategies that provide steadfast solutions to consumer problems. In other words, you need an effective partner enablement strategy.
Don’t let your partner enablement be an afterthought. Growth and profit are driven by constant innovation and development – not stale, backline and outdated practices.
Keep your partner enablement strategy in check by following the best practices outlined below:
1. Emphasize the ‘Partner’ in ‘Channel Partnership’
Channel partners are responsible for nearly half of all B2B revenue, yet the majority of companies fail to adequately equip their partners with the same tools, equipment and insight they provide their internal sellers.
You might have the best product on the market, but if your partner enablement strategy is stale, outdated and ineffective you’ll end up low on your channel partner’s list of priorities.
The relationship between you and your partners is not a one-way street – for them to make the sales, you are responsible for ensuring they are equipped to position your product well.
This means helping the partner convert company messaging into their own format, process it for sellers, and preparing them for any obstacles and challenges they may face.
It almost goes without saying, but any technology used to enable your internal sales team should be utilized to help your partners, too.
2. Incorporate Sales Enablement Technology
More and more companies are adding dedicated sales enablement functions, yet many still aren’t hitting their sales goals.
This is due to an overwhelming majority of companies failing to implement the necessary sales enablement technology needed to support their initiatives. Mary Shea, principle analyst at Forrester, states that “Companies that invest in three foundational tools – sales engagement, sales enablement automation and sales readiness technologies – will see dramatic results, including increases in revenues”.
3. Set Goals, Outline Commitment
To avoid one-way partnerships that ultimately lead to frustration on both sides, a clear plan should be provided to all partners.
The plan should include:
- A set of objectives and goals
- Detailed views of the target demographic
- Strategies, tactics and guides
- Committed resources (from both parties)
- Realistic view of ROI
Ensure partners are given time to raise any concerns they may have, ask any questions and offer suggestions. Since partners are the face of your products, their experience and feedback is extremely valuable.
4. Class-leading Enablement
If your partners aren’t familiar with your product, how can you expect them to sell it – let alone become agile and enthusiastic when confronting customer questions and concerns.
You’ll need to make sure partners have access to your product – and are familiar with it – so they know what they’re selling.
Once partners are trained, it is crucial to keep them up to date with new product developments and give them access to new services ASAP. By doing this, you can ensure they’re experts the day it hits the market.
5. Keep Evolving your Partner Enablement Strategy
A winning partner enablement strategy is never complacent.
Take ownership of your strategy and make an honest commitment to continuous improvement in order to take your strategy to the next level.
This is where the partner feedback mentioned earlier really comes into effect – understanding partner pain points is key to furthering the value of any enablement strategy.
A winning partner enablement strategy requires more than just enabling your existing partners – it’s also about sourcing and recruiting the best possible partners for your business. For more information recruiting and motivating the right partners, click here