Technology is shaping how we run our organizations, its creating new areas for innovative business leaders to flourish and grow. It’s shaping our attitudes, altering our customer relationships, and affecting our sales strategies, and now it’s impacting our channel marketing.
Channel marketing is a crucial tool for effective selling, especially for manufacturing companies, and channel enablement solutions are here to help by enabling, educating, and empowering your channel partners.
In the modern buying environment your channel partners are seen as an extension of your brand and your organization. You can turn them into brand advocates and product knowledge experts with the help of a channel enablement solution!
Channel enablement, an aspect of sales enablement,
“…Is the process of aligning your channel partners’ marketing, sales and technical practices with your solutions. It happens when you provide them with product education as well as insights into prospect motivations and behaviour across a specified range of organizations and territories. These insights, organized with an actionable Go-to-market strategy, complete with guides on how to execute that strategy, help them to generate and effectively measure the results." – Elastic Grid
Four Steps to Successful Channel Enablement
Help your channel partners understand your products. Your channel partners should be trusted product knowledge experts, individuals who know your product inside and out, it’s your responsibility to provide them with the information and education that they need to succeed.
Your channel partners work with many other organizations, so it’s important that your products are that the top of their minds. Ensure that they have all of the information and training materials necessary to successful sell your brand.
Gain the competitive advantage and save them valuable selling time by providing them with your interactive training and education materials in one convenient and easily accessible platform such as a sales content management solution.
[For more information on how to improve your partner network check out our previous blog post: Recharge your Partner Network with Channel Enablement.]
The second stage in developing a successful channel partner network is consistently creating and distributing quality sales content to your partners. One of the biggest challenges our clients faced before joining Team WHUT was the inability to distribute and update branded marketing materials within their channel partner network.
You spend a lot of time and money on developing compelling communications that motivate your prospects while adhering to your branding guidelines, but the majority of content is never used! For example, only 18% of manufacturers believe that their organization is effective at content marketing (CMI, 2016).
Channel enablement is the sales tool your channel partners need! With channel enablement all branded content is readily available for your partners, they can create tailored PowerPoints, co-branded emails, and other powerful presentations, allowing them to effectively communicate with their potential customers and measure their results.
Now that your channel partners are armed with your marketing leads and strategies, it’s important that they have the right technology for closing those leads.
A staggering 79% of all marketing generated leads are never converted to sales (Square2Marketing, 2015). And only 34% of sales executives indicate that their sales professionals are able to provide relevant marketing materials (Forrester, 2012).
To combat this you have to provide your channel partners with access to the right materials for closing deals such as support documentation, demonstration guides, call scripts, white papers, and ROI calculators.
[For a detailed look into the content that you should be creating for your channel partners visit: 5 Content Types that Drive Manufacturing Sales]
Empower your channel partners to succeed by providing them with a comprehensive channel enablement platform where they can access, present, and share assets with their prospects.
Now we’ve reached the end of the buyer’s journey, and your sales process. Your channel partners have closed their sales, and it’s time to deliver your solution to the end customers.
During this step it’s vital that you work hard to maintain and deliver on customer satisfaction. You need to focus on helping your channel partners to deliver the best possible user experience for your solution.
Support your channel partners by providing them with the assets your customers will need such as best practice models, user guides, licensing documentation, and technical guides.
Based on the four stages laid out by Elastic Grid
Moving Forward with a Channel Enablement Solution
The process of channel sales is refined and made easy with the help of channel enablement. Your home marketing teams can create channel sales toolkits complete with all of the materials necessary to make a winning deal. They can tag the assets for best use eliminating uncertainty among channel partners and ensuring a smooth sales process. For example they can tag materials as: pre-call training, during meeting, and post-call follow up.
Channel enablement allows you to differentiate your product offerings from others in your channel partner’s arsenal, building a competitive advantage that will also strengthen your channel partner’s ability to close larger deals. Additionally built-in metrics allow you to keep track of your channel partner’s customer engagements, so that you can measure and improve your content.
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of a channel enablement solution, then we’d love to talk to you. Book a demo below and one our product experts will be in touch.