Posted: June 22nd, 2012 | Author: Eric Nitschke | Filed under: Channel Marketing, Content Development, Content Strategy, Practice Enablement, Sales Enablement | No Comments »
One of the greatest marketing/sales disconnects in direct organizations is how demand gen campaign activity integrates with sales process. It is surprisingly common for marketing organizations to report that salespeople are simply unaware of the campaigns taking place around them and how those efforts could impact and enhance interactions with their customers and prospects.
This disconnect is especially magnified in the channel fundamentally because of how campaigns are funded: Most campaign budgets come from a product or solution silo, and the monies support the campaign through the process of delivering leads to a partner. That partner is then left to carry each lead to a sale. That’s like running a relay where the first leg runs at top speed straight to the second leg, passes the baton, but the second leg is wearing blindfolds. Despite running at great speed, the second leg is never quite sure if he/she is headed in the right direction.
Campaigns without corresponding enablement are particularly great for “low-hanging fruit” deals. But in today’s economy where sales cycles are longer, marketers must employ multi-touch campaigns that recognize where buyer’s are in their journeys and include sellers in the process. In fact, aligning campaigns with buying/selling processes is a major imperative for channel organizations focused on enablement strategies, and it is forcing vendors and LOB managers to rethink budget allocations. Here are five easy-to-include works that extend campaigns into usable tools for sellers:
- Campaign Value Briefs provide partners with an overview of the campaign, key campaign messages, and a map of sales process and assets across the entire campaign lifecycle. It also identifies available tools and resources for partners to leverage at every step of the buyer and seller journey.
- Correspondence Packs provide sellers with a series of communications that can be personalized for emails or letters to their target audiences. These “Very Important Top Officer” (VITO) assets leverage great solution information and reach prospects in a way that is continuous, relevant and prompts an increased sense of urgency for them to act.
- Conversation Guides help sellers recognize what kinds of conversations belong at various points of the sales cycle, based on what their prospect is saying. For example, introductory scripts can help partners zero in on specific business challenges customers may be experiencing. White board conversations often provide the venue for a more interactive discussion where visuals reinforce key points.
- Customizable One-Pagers help sellers leverage campaign-specific thought leadership and collateral assets in more digestible format. They serve two great benefits: Sellers have a reason to stay in touch with the prospect over time, and prospects have immediate access to information they can share across their organizations when a seller isn’t present. Remember, prospect organizations have more decision influencers than ever…sellers cannot be everywhere.
- Proof Templates help partners create their own examples of success that can be weaved into their selling process. By showing partners how to turn their own case studies into simple statements that can be used as part of a larger conversation, partners have “at your fingertips” validation for campaign messages/offers.
Considering that 40% of solution providers have not standardized or documented a specific selling methodology, it’s no small job to create tools that help sellers across an undocumented course. We’ve spent countless hours hosting workshops for partners on various topics from messaging and sales process alignment to teaching partners how to whiteboard, and these are some of the things they tell us they need:
- A reason to stay in touch, flyers and one-pagers
- Business-focused conversation starters and diagnostic questions
- Case studies
- Email content
- Proposal language
- Objection handling
If your campaigns are being measured on closed deals, perhaps it’s time to enable your partners with a targeted mix of assets and resources aligned with the sales process.
Posted: June 21st, 2012 | Author: Eric Nitschke | Filed under: Channel Marketing, Content Development, Content Strategy, Practice Enablement, Sales Enablement | No Comments »
The concept of “practice enablement” has started to get some attention at channel events I’m attending (if only because I’m encouraging the conversations)!
Getting above traditional onboarding and training—and encouraging a more holistic, dynamic enablement strategy to help partners drive services and solution revenues with your offerings at their foundation—is attractive to the channel organizations I’m speaking to.
Focusing on practice enablement is a way to differentiate your company from competitors with similar offerings. Moving a partner from a reseller model to “solution practice” is a huge win for your company, and can provide valuable benefits and profits for the partner.
I typically talk about these topics from a content perspective; how are you providing the market vision and value leadership that will help partners develop their practices? How are you looking beyond the next sale or the next quarter’s targets to build a sustainable, growing practice?
Many channel organizations make the mistake of taking the product to market first, and not putting the partner in the forefront. Your company has likely already done the work to position the product in the marketplace (market need, value prop, etc). It’s the channel organization’s job to make it relevant to the partner and illustrate the overall value message to the partner, and encourage the investment required to really succeed with your solutions.
We put together this graphic as the baseline for our upcoming ebook, Content Strategies for the Channel Landscape. We’ll dive deeper into each section, and provide some actionable information around how channel organizations can achieve these goals.
Looking forward to further discussion and development around practice enablement and channel enablement overall.