“Partner Enablement may not be the primary objective of a through-channel marketing program, but it sure is a welcome consequence. With proactive marketing support, you can onboard new partners, scale partner revenue generation efforts, and build partner loyalty more quickly.”
– Forrester Research
In an increasingly competitive retail environment, having strong channel partnerships is now more important than ever. The combined benefits from channel sales enablement are well-established in the manufacturing circuit:
- Channel partnerships cut overhead costs
- Channel partnerships cut operation costs
- Channel partnerships increase revenue potential for both parties involved
But many manufacturers fail to reap the full benefits of a strong channel partnership due to a lack of partner visibility.
Engaging in channel sales does not mean that your inventory becomes the responsibility of some other third party reseller. You have to make your product stand out amidst the competition in the eyes of the consumer AND the eyes of the sales reps working on your behalf!
There is a difference between having a partnership in place with a reseller and engaging in a smart sales channel enablement strategy.
Manufacturers can create a smarter sales enablement strategy, and ultimately sell more using this acronym: S-E-L-L.
S – Strategy | Offer a playbook for the sales strategy.
It’s simple: if you don’t offer a sales playbook, you have no control over the sales strategy. Channel partner product knowledge is a mile wide and an inch deep. They have to sell a lot of products and cannot possibly know the nitty gritty details of every product’s features. This lack of partner enablement puts both you and your channel partner at a disadvantage.
Give your channel partners a simple catalog system so they have a step-by-step guide walking them through the process – all the way from product training to sales materials and marketing support programs.
E – Easy | Make it easy and efficient.
Ease of access goes hand-in-hand with partner enablement. The key functions of a partner enablement platform include product search, browsing catalogs, multiple payment options, and templates of pre-designed promotional material in a variety of formats that channel partners can leverage quickly and efficiently.
These platforms for channel sales enablement make it easy to deploy marketing tools throughout the network, simplifying the process for sales reps.
L – Loyalty | Incentivize loyalty among channel partners.
Partner marketing is arguably just as important as directly marketing to the end consumer. Incentivize partner sales reps with tangible benefits via a channel partner program of some sort. Contests, giveaways, incentive programs, etc. help your product stand out from competitors and facilitate the creation of a stronger, more collaborative relationship with your channel partners.
L – Leeway – Leeway to customize
Channel Partners want professional marketing materials and programs – but they want to use their brand and contact information in the process. Using today’s sales and partner enablement platforms, companies can easily create customizable templates for email, direct mail, point of sale materials and product literature. Automating this function improves channel rep satisfaction – which means your products stay top of mind.
Most importantly, create an open dialogue with your channel manager. Without feedback, there is no chance of ever creating a collaborative relationship – which is endlessly important in partner relationship management. This means keeping sales teams up-to-date on how they should sell your products, regularly offering new and innovative promotional materials/templates, and prioritizing the relationship with your reseller. With the capabilities of the latest channel marketing platforms, it’s never been easier to deliver to your partners exactly what they need to be your advocate in the market.