A major struggle for vendors is keeping their eyes on the wider channel environment, as they have no way of tracking what is going on. As a result they lose visibility and control of their efforts, slowing channel productivity and revenue growth.
The top performing companies prioritise channel enablement, but what is it anyway?
- Better Sales Performance
- Sales Revenue Growth
- Increased Communication
- Increased Sales Visibility
Channel enablement platforms allow vendors to regain visibility of channel operations through digitization, enhancing a channel managers ability to manage sales productivity. Increased sales productivity ultimately drives revenue growth.
Sales Data & Analytics
Sales data and analytics provide channel managers with hard evidence, so ROI can be pinpointed to specific channel partners. Channel managers can make informed decisions, directing spending efforts towards the most beneficial channels. Informed decisions enhance a channel managers ability to manage performance, with better sales content delivery and improved coverage of their target audience. Ultimately channel managers have real-time sales insight and visibility of major deals. Therefore outcomes can be tracked, allowing channel managers to intercept if there is the need for more expertise and support.
Organisations with multiple channel partners face the challenge of balancing their points of focus. Do you invest in channel partners you know are ‘cash cows’ who deliver results? Or do you invest in the ‘rising stars’? the ones who may not currently be high performers, but have the potential with a little time and effort.
Due the digitally growing world more and more agile products are released in the market, in order to stay competitive organisations need to keep up with the latest innovations. But, incumbent partners will be extremely comfortable selling the old technology. More often than not incumbent partners will have little motivation to invest in educating the sales team to sell something new, in their minds the product or service produces a high return, so there is little need for change. However, vendors who focus their efforts on investing in cash cows (incumbent partners) run the risk of losing opportunities for future sales growth.
On the other hand you have the rising stars, younger channel partners who are more suited to taking up new technology available to sell. Channel enablement provides sales visibility across channels, thus channel managers have the ability to pinpoint exactly who the rising stars are. This allows channel managers to optimally balance channel investments of incumbent partners who deliver growth, and the rising stars which have the potential to deliver high sales growth on new technology in the medium term with some nurturing.
Sales Content and Digitization
The key to sales content is digitization, nowadays channel managers and salespeople need to be able to access sales content easily, anywhere at any time. Research shows organisations who invest in improving the way salespeople access sales content can increase sales productivity by 59% (Forbes Insights, 2015). Digital channel enablement platforms allow organisations to scale efforts effectively, measure the impact of new propositions delivered into the channel instantly, and access real-time sales insight into customer sales conversations and performance at the touch of a button.
Channel salespeople currently face information overload, spending up to 40% of their time sifting through and adapting relevant sales content. Therefore it is critical to standardize key messages into conversation points channel salespeople can deliver to prospects. Enabling one message to be communicated by many voices. Channel enablement platforms give channel managers the ability to trace which sales content delivers the most ROI. Thus managers can ensure channel partners deliver the most profitable sales content to prospects, driving sales productivity and revenue forward.
In order to produce successful outcomes it is imperative for channel partners to sell the way buyers are buying. Buyers no longer want a list of specifics about a product or service, they want to know how your solution provides value ultimately benefiting their operations. Therefore sales content must be aligned to each stage in the buying process in order for it to resonate with buyers. Connecting sales content to the buying stage, and organising this information in a digital platform can result in sales cycles shortening, and sales productivity increasing. Research shows a sales productivity increase of 56% in organisations who align their sales content with the buyer’s journey (Forbes Insights, 2015).
A leading cause of decreased visibility is the lack of communication between vendors and channel partners, straining the vendor-channel relationship. Channel enablement is the key to better communication, allowing managers to ensure every channel partner is notified about product or service updates, launches, redundancies and promotions. Channel partners are notified just-in-time in an easily consumable way, closing the feedback gap. Channel managers are given the hard sales data they need, thus managing the channel effectively with a better vendor-channel relationship.
So there you have it, a break down of channel enablement in all its glory. If your sales productivity levels and revenue growth are slowed, you’ve most likely lost visibility and control of your channel partners. Regain control and implement a channel enablement platform today and you will have sales visibility in no time. For more on effectively enabling your channels download our Five Step Guide To Enable Channel Sales today.
Forbes Insights. (2015). The Power of Enablement. Bridging the Sales Productivity Gap. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/forbesinsights/brainshark/index.html