- On January 26, 2021
At Gorilla we pride ourselves on delivering some of the best marketing solutions the industry has to offer, but we know in reality that’s only half the story. You can have the greatest lead generation strategy and execution in the world but it’s all for nothing without making those leads into customers. That’s where channel sales enablement comes in, and it’s a different beast all together!
So what is channel sales enablement?
Channel sales enablement is the processes, content, and technology that equip sales partners to bring your products and services to market more quickly and effectively. The vast majority of partner sales enablement services and solutions exist disparately of their marketing counterparts, in most cases partner-owned sales teams and vendor employed partner marketing agency marketing professionals. The fact is over 50% of sales decisions are made before the lead interacts with the sales team meaning in order for both departments to be successful, they need to work harmoniously.
It’s vital that the transition of a lead from marketing to sales teams is handled with the utmost care and attention, though often, when the departments are separated, they can find this too difficult or time consuming to focus on. Losing touch with a customer’s needs, and most importantly what bought them to you, as they move from one environment to the next is all too easy and obviously should be avoided at all costs.
The best way to visualise the issue is with an example say your vendor and partner marketing agency chose a particular topic that was targeting a common pain-point plaguing your usual buyers. They put out several blogs and social media posts, utilised highly targeted display ads and powerful calls to action offering your leads some meaningful collateral. A downloadable whitepaper or case study that provided insights on the problem and possible solutions; perhaps a virtual demonstration showcasing the vendor solution. From the marketing agencies’ perspective, the campaign was a resounding success. Your site traffic increased, and potential new leads gave out their details willingly to sign up for the webinar and get the whitepaper. You’ve got fresh, well qualified leads, and moved your prospects from awareness to the consideration stage in your channel funnel. Now comes the really hard part, moving those customers even further, through intent and finally to purchase, that’s where the channel sales enablement comes in.
From a partner marketing agency position there are lots of things you can do to make this happen below are 3 very simple strategy alterations you can change to ensure a smooth marketing-to-sales handoff:
1. Give the sales team the marketing copy.
Buyers are looking to partners, and your vendors solution, to help them accomplish a goal or avoid a pitfall. Your sales team likely isn’t dialled into the company’s day-to-day marketing activities. Ask the team members how they would prefer to be notified of events such as webinars you are conducting or new e-books you are launching. To this end what a marketing team should do specifically for sales is create a brief … well, brief, full of the main talking points that relate to the content and collateral they’re sharing and your new leads are consuming. By reading that outline the sales team should be able to talk more directly to the leads needs. In this case the channel sales enablement is created by your marketing team providing key information about a marketing-generated lead to the relevant salesperson.
2. Be consistent and provide content.
One of the biggest problems with channel sales enablement is for many vendors it can be a one-time process. While creating training and onboarding partners’ sales teams correctly is a very important element of the process it should not be where the journey ends, enablement is something that needs to be continually monitored and given input. Much like a partner marketing agency provides marketing materials for partners to use almost constantly, similarly relevant material should make it to the sales teams. Playbooks, up to date product information, marketing schedules and lead nurturing emails are all essential sales tools that should be provisioned for each relevant sales cycle.
3. Build open systems for synergistic benefit.
The real key to achieving those two previous points at minimal time and financial outlay across the board is infrastructure. It’s all well and good saying provide this, give that, but the real problem is not a lack of desire to have these possibilities in place, but a lack of connection between marketing that is possibly outsourced to the partner marketing agency, and the sales team. By creating an environment, or utilising a suitable platform, that allows the sharing of this knowledge as easily as possible everything previously discussed is far more likely. Investing in a CRM at the partner level, and/or PRM at the vendor’s, is a cost effective and cloud aware solution that should mean no matter which department, internal or external, needs access to the data surrounding a lead they can find it and use it to their advantage.
As you can see, the connection between channel sales enablement and marketing runs deep and is interwoven at almost every point in the partner program ideal. To truly flourish marketing and sales teams should be connected as never before, even where they exist in diverse locations and aren’t joined by the commonality of a single enterprise.
Are you up to the channel challenge of combining partner sales teams and a vendor led channel marketing agency? Why not take a look at our partner marketing & sales services. As a full-service channel agency our solutions are built to support your teams through the entire life of a lead at minimal cost and time input! Get in touch to find out more.
Does your partner channel development still lack that cutting edge stopping you from performing to the best of your abilities, is the prospect of creating and managing your own partner program too daunting or seem cost inefficient? Get in touch and see what Gorilla can do to help you with everything from competitor research and marketing strategy, to proprietary PRM software and 1-to-1 concierge partner management.