Channel partners are a critical source of revenue for tech companies — but if businesses took a hard look at the experience potential customers have when working with a channel sales partner compared to an internal sales rep, those two experiences would be anything but consistent.
In fact, more than half of SE leaders aren’t confident in the delivery of brand consistency across channels during the sales process. This inconsistency comes from gaps between resources across content, technology, and training between businesses and their channel sales partners. Because of this, companies and organizations are beginning to invest more in their partner enablement plans, which has proven to provide 40% annual revenue growth for businesses.
What is partner enablement?
What exactly does this mean for your business and just what is partner enablement? Partner enablement (also referred to as channel enablement) is the practice of ensuring your partners can independently initiate and complete the sales process while also effectively implementing and supporting the customer solution. With so many different channel partners, it’s important to provide resources, templates, training and technology so there’s consistency for your brand.
Challenges of partner sales
As mentioned above, one challenge businesses experience with their partners and sales is that most enterprises provide more resources to direct sellers than channel partner companies. This can be detrimental to your partnerships, especially if your partners feel like you’re wasting their time or resources.
Another big challenge of partner sales is that indirect sellers find it 1.3x to 1.6x harder than direct sellers to get prospects to make a next meeting. Most partners tend to find they have a harder time advancing the sales cycle than a direct seller. This challenge can stem from those gaps in resources mentioned before. These gaps can also stem from the fact that most sales employees are more thoroughly trained than partner reps — companies tend to provide sales employees with the necessary software, templates and devices needed to grow and succeed.
Strategies of partner enablement program
To create a successful channel partner program, you need to have some solid strategies in place. Check out the best strategies below:
Get feedback from your current channel partners
Because you most likely work with partners of all different shapes and sizes, it will be difficult to appeal to them all. Talking to your partners will help you create better services and products, while also finding out how you can help them succeed. Do they need training videos? Would they benefit from incentives or award programs to up sales? Don’t guess.
Training will help increase the skill of your partners, helping them become more productive and expanding. You can provide training in several different ways including sessions during office hours where partners can ask technical questions, or a more formal training session like webinars, certifications, or traditional seminars. If you do provide online training, note that research shows you’ll be most successful with videos of 6 minutes or less.
Another way to provide training is to try gamification. If you’ve ever had to do online or technical certification training, you know that it can be boring. Turning training into a game with a ladder of certifications can make training more appealing.
Our need for recognition is universal. A great example of the success of this concept is Microsoft’s Partner of the Year Awards. You can start with a simple MVP award and promote in webinars, training videos or even on your website. Offering recognition like this is an easy way to engage partners and help them connect with your brand.
Sales enablement content
Providing sales enablement content has been proven to boost conversion rates. Companies that deploy sales enablement platforms to their partners are up to 2.3x more effective at achieving their sales goals. By offering sales enablement content you are guaranteeing that all of your channels provide a cohesive brand experience. And as we mentioned earlier, sales enablement content can lead to 40% higher revenue growth. With this content, be sure to provide branded templates that channel partners can quickly find and customize.
Brand templates can help your teams maintain brand consistency along with easy asset storage and access. Our channel management software can help you build a library of content that not only your employees can access but also your partners. With lockable templates you can guarantee that your content and brand will appear consistent throughout all channels while enabling channel partners to customize content for their prospects. A lack of cohesiveness is detrimental to brands today, and Lucidpress makes it easier to keep teams, partners and vendors all on the same page.
As you start to create a channel partner enablement plan, don’t forget to focus on consistency, which will ultimately help your brand expand. For more insight on brand consistency, check out our guide on how to achieve consistent storytelling across sales.