26 Jan What is Sales Channel Enablement?
One of my favorite topics because we were able to build a sales channel enablement program at PandaDoc that grew from 0 to $100k MRR in 6 months. This was led by our fearless leader, Jared Fuller. If you don’t know him, he is the mastermind to taking PandaDoc from $1MM to $10MM in 2 years. A good friend and a mentor, he taught me everything I know on how to build a sales channel enablement program that crushes it.
But before we talk about about any tips & hacks, let’s first learn the basics.
Your channel network is not just another extension of your direct sales team, but can be a significant differentiator. However, more often than not, partners don’t get the same support level and ongoing development that can benefit direct sales teams and customers. This is a missed selling opportunity, considering that the channel is a primal source of revenue for most technology vendors and, in certain instances, generates more revenue than direct sales.
A sales channel enablement ensures that your reps have the right information at the right time, and know clearly where prospects are in terms of the buyer’s journey. In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about sales channel enablement and how it can help you grow sales and earn consistently higher revenues.
The simplest definition of sales channel enablement is that it’s a systematic approach that organizations take to increase sales productivity, and it involves empowering sales team with content, coaching, training and analytics they require to engage customers within more successful conversations.
To put it bluntly, it is all about giving your sales people the content, information and tools they need to sell your products or services more effectively.
Within the channel, it’s critical that you look at enablement from a continuous perspective.
It’s not really a one-off event. With channel sales enablement, it’s important that you are there continually. It’s true you must be there at the start to onboard your sales team and help them start off but that’s hardly enough. You need to be there constantly to enable you provide enablement that your competitors don’t.
When properly designed and managed, an enablement program can not only increase your market share but also improve your bottom line. However, as research shows, designing, executing and maintaining an enablement program can cost you a lot if not properly rolled out. In the absence of the right training programs and tools to increase effectiveness of sales, enablement programs can get bogged down easily and hamper performance.
There are basically two parts to sales channel enablement:
- Sales readiness: This ensures that customer-facing staffs have the skills and knowledge they need to articulate your value proposition. Also, it ensures your sales team receives the requisite training on-the-field to close deals.
- Sales asset management: This means sales people possess the right content at the perfect time to improve customer engagement, simplify content creation and deliver content faster.
Together, these two elements ensure your sales reps are able to close more deals. How this is achieved in your sales enablement strategy depends on many factors like the organization needs, obstacles, and challenges faced by your sales team, which could change over time.
What to look for in a sales channel enablement solution
Any sales channel enablement program meant to differentiate your channel from the competition must be aligned with the way your audience works and thinks. For channel reps, it’s important that the solution is engaging, simple and convenient and one that doesn’t disrupt the selling time. For the sales management, it should be cost-efficient and offer insights into the capability of each rep to prioritize your product offerings and close deals. Master the below three strategies and you will be well and truly on course to crafting a winning strategy.
- Ensure channel productivity – You need to ensure that channel sales teams are equipped with the know-how regarding how to position your products. Irrespective of where your channel partners are, deliver the same product info so they are all in synch and even on-message.
- Measure sales proficiency – It should enable you to track the channel reps that are mastering your message, and provide targeted coaching/training to those that need help.
- Gain mindshare – Differentiate programs in new ways through developing business value and competencies around your solutions to drive opportunities and also improve close rates.
Qualities of a good Sales Channel Enablement Solution
If he members of your sales team don’t know what they ought to know, you are doomed to fail. It’s your responsibility to ensure that they have access to information about your products, new customers, and the competition and even updated pricing.
Content & Sharing
As they say, content is king. For your salespeople to convince a prospective buyer to do business, it’s crucial that they share content that can connect with the interests of the buyer. They also should have tools for sharing that content, and that isn’t just email. It’s also critical to avail to them social sharing tools.
Today, there is a lot of data out there about anyone you want to reach. The realm of prospecting databases and tools is quickly evolving, and this means it’s very important that you are on top of your game and give your people whatever the top-of-the-range solutions are at that particular point.
Training & Coaching
The entire sales world is in some state of flux. Tools, channels etc are changing by the day. Ensuring that your sales people are continually trained and coached is the only way you will ensure that they remain ahead of the pack.
Tracking & Reporting
In several respects, sales enablement share responsibilities with marketing with regard to tracking and reporting. In order to fully understand what’s working and what’s not, as well as how to improve, you must have holistic data at your disposal. The data also need to tie back to core objectives, win rates, most commonly pipeline and deal sizes.
Need Help? ClosedWon is Your Perfect Solution
ClosedWon is AI sales assistant for sales channel engagement, and prospecting. It empowers salespeople to close more deals while still enjoying life. We do this using Luna, a sales enablement AI that provides lead intelligence in real time. ClosedWon empowers your sales folks with prospect automation, key performance indicators and prospect engagement optimization.
It provides seamless experiences across all device platforms and gives business people breakthrough services that include email, data enrichment, augmented sales caching strategy and phone and social validation. With more than 20 million companies under its belt, and 395 million contacts spread in 165 countries, it has automated more than 50,000 prospects that led to 300+ opportunities and generated $10m of annual sustainable revenue for clients.