Finding alignment with channel partners is one of the hardest things to achieve for expanding your market reach. That is, up until now.
A quick refresher, what is Channel Enablement again?
Channel enablement or channel partner enablement is the framework of processes that helps your partners and resellers sell your products and services.
It encapsulates tools, content, training, and workflows. Channel enablement empowers your resellers to optimize their sales results (and commissions), and for you to widen your market reach, leveraging a bigger network and tapping into new target demographics.
You might say:
“Ok, that sounds a lot like a Partner Relationship Management tool (PRM).”
Yes, you’re close but no cigar.
A PRM is a passive, easy going combination of content and tools that your partners can tap into.
If they want to.
PRM is like a toolbox with your brand’s sticker on it that you leave in front of your door for resellers to visit once in a while and see what’s new. Not very enticing. Much different from channel enablement.
Channel Enablement is basically the hyped-up-super-fun-ready-to-play genius kid on the block who, instead, loves ringing your doorbell. Not in an obnoxious way, but in a very welcoming “let’s go for adventure” kind.
Because channel enablement is about actively collaborating with your partners. Setting them up for a win. And taking ownership to provide them the best tools so their work becomes easier.
Why is channel enablement such a hard nut to crack?
Okay, great so we found a shortcut to bigger markets, new audiences, and multiple ways to increase revenue. Then why is channel enablement one of the hardest things to get right?
The answer is painstakingly simple. Let’s take a look at what George Bernard Shaw had to say:
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Please read that again. As you probably know, success in business and relationships comes from excellent communication. And the more clarity we give others, the more well-informed, connected, and aligned they feel to us. The more we increase our mutual chances for success.
And this is not to make you, dear curious reader, uncomfortable, but can you with 100% certainty say that the following information is at all times known to your resellers and partners:
Your product or service’s time to deployment; your product’s geographical availability, the real benefits of your solution; the length of your sales cycles, your product’s weaknesses, misconceptions and common objections; your target customer’s deal size; the minimum and maximum deal term lengths; which support resources are available to the end customer; which promotions are available to end customers; where to find sales support resources for partners.
Our apologies if that sparked some worries. Don’t rush and leave this page yet, we’ll offer solutions that will help you get back on track. And if you did happen to mark each of those items with a big green ‘check’ then know that we’re rooting for you!
As you can see, there are a lot of details that need constant attention. Often these bits of information, data sets, and marketing materials are scattered across departments or are ever-changing. They are difficult to keep tabs on. That’s why it’s so hard to get channel enablement right. It requires internal alignment and clarity first.
So unless you have a full-time team dedicated to keeping your partners and resellers up to date, you’re bound to drop some balls. And we’re saying it’s okay. Pick your battles and become exceptional at the high quality information you can provide on a consistent basis.
Also know that Scaura is designed as an excellent support software for channel enablement strategies – but we’ll get to that later.
For now, are you okay with us making this a little more edgy?
Because we want to show you the importance of a solid channel enablement strategy. And to show you the bright bits, we also have to show you what happens if the majority of the list-items above are left unchecked.
Ready? Big deep breathe in. Deep breathe out.
When channel enablement goes wrong
So you do the good thing: you keep up with trends, build out your portfolio, expand your strategy and start partnering with resellers. Great job. We guess you also poured a lot of money into R&D to get this right. And if you did, then you’d likely wouldn’t be on this blog.
And if instead you’ve only scratched the surface on your channel partner enablement and feel there’s much more to discover then you’re at the right place.
But we digress. This was about edgy, uncomfortable and negative impacts when execution is done poorly. Like a bandaid, we’ll rip this one off clean and fast.
The collateral damage when channel enablement goes wrong:
- Ineffective sales approaches by your partners
- Wasted market development funds
- Lost time and effort
- Low return on investment
- Decreased or capped partner revenue
- Partner and customer churn
- Loss of brand trust (both by partners and customers)
- Difficulty recruiting new partners
Yikes. Not getting channel enablement right could seriously hamper your business and have ripple effects you may not even be aware of until it’s likely too late to do something about it.
Okay, let’s not make this a doom and gloom post. Because there is plenty of hope and solutions to go around – for budgets big and small.
Are you ready to get serious about creating a profitable, mutually beneficial partner enablement approach? Then we have to shift from a “nice to have” to a “must have”. Let us channel our inner hyped-up-super-fun-ready-to-play genius kid on the block and get this right.
Setting your channel partners up for a win
To keep a pace and not needlessly distract you from your aim (a better channel enablement strategy), we’ve identified three core sub strategies.
Strategy 1: Digital-First Approach
Research from McKinsey & Company found that 70 percent to 80 percent of B2B buyers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service to in-person interactions. In other words, engaging and enabling partners for digital marketing and social selling will be crucial to your success. So helping your partners stay ahead of the curve with a digital-first enablement strategy is no longer an option, it’s become a necessity.
Strategy 2: Build a Channel Partner Enablement Program for Salespeople
Most channel partners – even the successful ones – are sales-first organizations. Some have no marketing department and completely rely on your team to handle the marketing bit. With this in mind, it’s important to create channel enablement and marketing materials for their sales teams. The better equipped they are, the better their results, the more beneficial for you.
Strategy 3: Listen to Your Partners & Focus on Their Needs, Not Yours
Your partners have a better visibility into the competitive landscape. If you’re willing to listen, they can be an invaluable sounding board on the strengths and weaknesses of your partner channel and how your products and services are performing. Leave the ego at the door and be actively open-minded for honest partner feedback. It will help you develop a competitive edge. Prioritising your partner’s goals and finding better ways for them to achieve it will result in bigger success for you.
What does channel enablement have to do with Scaura?
A short recap of what we’ve covered. (Or skip the next subsection and jump straight into the juicy part)
We’ve shown the differences between Channel Enablement and Partner Relationship Management (genius kid vs toolbox). You’ve explored what information needs to be clear and communicated to your partners and resellers (the big bold summary). You’ve seen the doom-scenario of not getting channel enablement right, and you’ve also gained insight in three strategies that put you in the driver’s seat.
We could wrap it up here and you can be on your way…
Unless you’re hungry for a shortcut. Hungry for a better way to achieve results. A solution that leads to seamless internal communications. And equally, empowers your partners with a tool that truly opens doors and increases their conversation rates.
We cannot give you all those answers right here. What our solution could mean to your business is something we’d like to figure out together. But we will tell you this:
Scaura is a visually-stunning sales enablement software solution. We designed it for you to track which product information is interesting to your partners and customers. It is made to astonish prospects by presenting your sales pitches, spec sheets, and marketing material in a fully branded environment. Digital-first, cloud-based. Meaning, Scaura is accessible from every location and every device with controlled access to discern between your own teams and your resellers.
And that’s all we want to say. Because Scaura is meant to be experienced. Request a demo from our website and directly apply it to your brand.
If you’d like a more personal touch, contact Norbert Bessems (Founder at Scaura) through firstname.lastname@example.org. And let us assist you in delivering a sales experience that knows no equal.