Posted: October 28th, 2013 | Author: Jody Canavan | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Be honest: You’re tired of your organization’s marketers and salespeople arguing over what makes content useful. We hear this argument all the time, and it’s one of the reasons we’ve come up with a best-practice-based method for creating great sales content.
Want a quick primer on how it works? Watch our interactive Prezi, Few and Improved: How to create less content that drives more sales. In it, you’ll learn how to:
- Address relevant perspectives
- Conduct a content audit
- Rank existing sales enablement assets
- Plan and execute your content upgrade project
And if you’re looking for more, download our Few and Improved ebook, which dives more deeply into what it takes to develop an ongoing plan for creating better content and tools.
Posted: October 16th, 2013 | Author: Eric Nitschke | Filed under: Channel Marketing, Uncategorized | Tags: channel, channel chiefs, channel enablement, channel marketing, partners | No Comments »
It’s 2014 planning time for many channel organizations. Many of our channel clients are looking for insights and best practices that will help guide their 2014 sales enablement and marketing budgets. Here’s our thoughts on three “channel changers” that can help guide channel enablement spending in 2014.
1. Role-based enablement critical to deeper partner integration
Successful channel organizations will include enablement resources that span all roles across their partner base. That means marketing, services, finance and even executive roles will receive customized enablement tracks based on their roles in positioning, selling and support solutions.
We recently helped a large storage client develop role-based enablement resources to show partners how to build their cloud services offerings. We focused as much on shifting the financial practice, marketing messages and services alignment, as we did on the sales and technical implications of adding cloud services to their portfolio.
2. Marketing enablement elevates the message to the customers
Channel organizations that offer advanced marketing services are finding greater success in filling the pipeline and increasing deal close rates. Partner marketing and sales organizations should be educated on target profiles, market trends, and insights into the buying process before they even launch a specific campaign.
A Launch client that provides converged infrastructure solutions asked us to create a “campaign in a box” package that would help partners take their solution to market. Along with the outbound content and assets, we included an interactive marketing playbook that highlighted messages and questions for specific target buyers, as well as a playbook with resources and content aligned to typical buying stages.
3. Alliances enablement can make the difference
We are seeing many channel organizations getting better at positioning their solutions within their partners’ larger portfolio. That means providing the messages, tools and resources to position their offerings with their partners’ solutions—showing how to position their security solution with the partners’ cloud offerings, or explaining how a new service can add value to existing network business.
Launch strategists and writers spent much of our summer creating playbooks and battle cards that showed the best practices for integrating our leading storage supplier client’s offerings with integrator and services organizations offerings. These playbooks were used by resellers, as well as with the suppliers extended sales and channel teams.
Bonus point: CDMs are the Last Mile to Partner Enablement
All this integration across the partner business needs to be constantly reinforced and validated by the local feet-on-the-street. Local field support (by whatever name: CDM, CAM, CSM, etc) is absolutely critical to bringing the story home at the partner level.
We have several clients focusing resources and communications to helping CDMs lead and nurture partners through this integrated approach to partner enablement. These companies are creating CDM playbooks, emails, and even dedicated CDM portals to providing consistent, relevant information to channel sales managers.
Be sure to check out our channel enablement ebook, Creating a Roadmap for Channel Success with Better Content.
Posted: October 14th, 2013 | Author: Eric Nitschke | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
I’ve noted an interesting shift in the sales enablement community over the past few months. We’ve always noted the importance of aligning content and sales assets with a company’s sales model. But that has mostly been a design point—we all know that the tools and resources salespeople use need to advance the customer through their buying cycle.
Not surprisingly, the stories I heard in 2011 and 2012 were still prevalent even in early 2013:
- Marketing is still creating product-focused content.
- Salespeople are still creating their own customer presentations.
- No one owns the integration of marketing assets with the buying cycle.
However, in the many sales conferences I’ve attended over the summer and fall of 2013, the breakout session topics and conversations around the hallways and exhibit centers have started focusing more and more on the execution of those strategies–especially as it relates to the sales model these companies are training salespeople on.
The furor and passion of integrating sales and marketing has finally gotten the sales and marketing communities to focus on the convergence of their company’s sales model with the messages they’re presenting our clients and the assets they’re providing customers and sellers for campaigns and conversations.
And regardless of the sales model or industry—insight is leading the way for this convergence.
Insight is about more than documenting market dynamics and purchase history; it’s about discovering and validating the reasons customer buy—or don’t buy.
Insight helps you determine the motivating factors and corporate justifications for how customers discover, qualify and decide on their investments. More often than not, it’s a complicated equation integrating budget needs, ROI and general company health. (Our friends at Alinean do some great analysis of buyer justifications in their Fight Frugalnomics story.)
Understanding those factors improves your situational relevance—the state marketers need to help sellers achieve by providing the conversation tools that leverage insight throughout the customer relationship.
We address some of these topics in our Thoughtful Selling ebook—and look for our joint webcast with Alinean on October 22, 2013 at 11am ET: Where Can You Get The Insights Needed for Provocative Selling?
Posted: October 10th, 2013 | Author: Eric Nitschke | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
My channel clients know I’m a frequent and enthusiastic speaker about channel enablement topics! My goals in the channel are simple: to help channel organizations maximize their partners’ revenue opportunities through consistent, high-value enablement and marketing tools and assets.
I was fortunate to be interviewed by Alicia Fiorletta, Managing Editor of Channel Marketer Report, and got to talk about channel trends, recruiting, onboarding, sales enablement and marketing.
Take a look, and I’d love to hear your feedback!
Be sure to check out our channel enablement ebook, Creating a Roadmap for Channel Success with Better Content.
Posted: August 15th, 2013 | Author: Eric Nitschke | Filed under: Channel Marketing, channel recruiting, Practice Enablement, Uncategorized | Tags: channel recruiting, channel strategy, partner recruiting, SAP channel | 1 Comment »
A recent CRN interview with SAP’s Kevin Gilroy highlighted changes in SAP’s partner recruiting strategy—with the company focusing on partners who invest in their forward-leaning solutions like cloud—as opposed to waiting for incoming revenues to invest.
That strategy is consistent with what we’ve been telling clients about strategic partner enablement—focus first on how this solution will make you money, and align resources to support long-term success.In our Channel Enablement ebook, we outlined a 5 step roadmap to helping drive greater success in your channel. The very first section focused on developing the value messaging that you’d take to the channel as part of your recruiting efforts.
Illustrating the vision and value you can deliver a partner is absolutely critical in developing a value-based channel—as opposed to depending on volume of partners who may actually cost you money to manage.
Posted: February 27th, 2013 | Author: Jim Moliski | Filed under: Content Strategy, Sales Enablement, Thought leadership, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Is your company providing unique insights into customer problems and how to solve them? Can your salespeople deliver those insights in executive conversations?
At the Sales Enablement Forum in Scottsdale, Arizona (March 4-5) Launch International will discuss Thoughtful Selling strategies for delivering unique insights that lead to strategic customer relationships.
According to Forrester Research, only “13% of executive buyers believe that a salesperson can clearly show they understand their business issues and articulate a way to solve them.” Salespeople who push products rather than solve problems face declining win rates and heavy discounting. In the future they will lose more to competitors who know how to get marketing and sales on the same page in speaking to buyer issues.
Launch will show how leading companies are developing strategic customer relationships by:
- Creating unique insights that speak to buyer problems
- Communicating those insights through effective campaigns
- Enabling all customer facing employees to have effective two-way conversations
Join Launch International at Booth #103 to learn more.
Posted: February 27th, 2013 | Author: Eric Nitschke | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Launch International will once again be presenting at the Forrester Sales Enablement Forum coming up next week in Phoenix.
Along with debuting Thoughtful Selling (TM) model and our OnQ(TM) Value Conversation App, we’ll be speaking with channel enablement companies about their frameworks for partner enablement.
A more holistic, dynamic enablement strategy is needed to help partners drive services and solution revenues with your offerings at their foundation. 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.
Take a look at our Channel Enablement 2013 ebook (registration here, or email me for a copy). And we look forward to talking about partner enablement at the Forrester show!
Posted: February 1st, 2013 | Author: Jody Canavan | Filed under: Client communication, Content Development, Content Strategy, Messaging, Presentations, Sales Enablement, Thought leadership, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Take a moment and try this: Search for “sales conversations” on Google, and see how many results you get. I bet it’s nine figures. My own search produced 109 million results. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of opinions about what makes a good sales conversation. That’s no surprise, because improving the value of sales conversations is a top goal for every single client we serve.
With good reason; it’s widely acknowledged that the makeup of an effective sales conversation has changed since customers and prospects have been able to consume more information digitally before a seller is engaged. That means salespeople are walking into meetings and conversations without the benefit of knowing their starting points, and the navigation is anything but easy.
In fact, IDC discovered in its research on the customer experience that more than 50% of salespeople were showing up to meetings unprepared. And Forrester Research reported that just 15% of executives believe sales meetings meet their expectations.
Stats like these have us wondering how our work as marketers and sales enablers contributes to such low marks from customers. After all, we’ve all been focused on improving seller conversations, so it can’t be in the tools they use, right?
Too many companies are still doing “random acts of sales enablement” which, frankly, do not improve the customer’s experience with your salespeople or your company in a sustainable way. Even the companies that believe they’ve implemented “best-in-class” enablement processes and tools are challenged to prove that they are moving the needle in any significant manner.
Why is this such a struggle for so many? Go back and take a look at the top hits of your Google search. Each article and blog post likely presented a similar theme on how to make sales conversations better:
- Uncover pains.
- Identify goals.
- Visualize improvement.
- Show outcomes.
- Use questions.
- Use number plays.
- Use proof points.
- Use better visuals.
- Appeal to the left brain.
- Don’t forget the right brain.
To me, it seemed as though most authors were focused on conversation architecture. A few offered techniques to serve up positioning and solution statements in response to prescribed customer need. Not one of them actually shared how to make a conversation truly different and unique.
No one is focused on the DNA of differentiation.
As reference, in a recent conversation with a valued client and VP of Sales Enablement, she shared that their customers were complaining that the introductory conversations being offered by salespeople across several different vendors presenting to them looked/sounded painfully similar. “Let’s talk about how we can help you reduce costs, manage risks, and improve service to your customers.” In an industry where we are all starting to sound identical (especially at high, introductory levels) and in an economy where we are all chasing the same budget dollars, what is it that separates true market leaders and their best-in-class salespeople from everyone else?
Answer: A truly unique point of view.
I don’t mean POVs. Every company we know is producing POVs out of their marketing and sales enablement teams. But, sadly, they are most often neither unique NOR a point of view. Meaning, salespeople forced to present a canned POV often do not bring truly differentiated insight from your company as part of their story.
The POV I’m referring to is about invention and innovation. It’s about experience and your ability to deliver. These are game-changing conversations. They are discussions that make customers think and ask you for more. They challenge or validate thinking. They engage.
When I explore the topic of value conversation creation with clients, my favorite question to ask is, “Where does true differentiation come from?”
Quite simply, without creating true differentiation, you cannot create conversations of real value.
My next blog will show you how to create a truly unique point of view, and then how to carry that brilliance into a strategy that brings marketing and sales together in a way you’ve never done before.
Stay tuned for the DNA of Differentiation, Part 2.
In the meantime, where do you think true differentiation comes from? I welcome your thoughts.
Posted: January 29th, 2013 | Author: Jody Canavan | Filed under: Content Development, Messaging, Sales Enablement, Sales Training, Thought leadership, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
During a recent conversation with a valued client whose job role is Vice President of Sales Enablement, she shared with me some of the challenges her organization is facing as it transforms to be more customer-centric. She said, “Sometimes I think my job should be called ‘VP of Internal Selling.’”
How true. While many of us may not be quota-carrying salespeople, we are all in the business of helping our peers and colleagues visualize a better outcome through our ideas and perspectives. In fact, in Daniel Pink’s newest book, To Sell Is Human, Pink explains that each of us spends 40% of our business time in “non-sales selling” activities, such as persuading and pitching to a variety of audiences.
Pink reminds us that, “Like it or not, we’re all in sales now.” That’s an interesting perspective reversal from the notion that selling is a dying art and that salespeople will eventually become extinct. In fact, between 2000 and today—when online commerce was supposed to show signs of a decreased need for salespeople—the total number of sales jobs actually increased across the US. And, two million more new sales jobs are expected by 2020.
To Sell Is Human is an interesting and validating read that reinforces the fact that, as sales enablement professionals, our jobs have never been more visible—or more important. It is also true, however, that salespeople must be relevant in their interactions with customers, or they will not survive in today’s competitive, self-service climate.
Every client we serve is laser focused on solving the sales enablement challenge by building better tools and resources to support seller and buyer journeys. Those most successful have integrated marketing, thought leadership, and campaign strategies into their sales toolsets in a way that supports truly unique and differentiated interactions with customers using messages that are consistent and unified.
Stay tuned for the upcoming webinar on our Thoughtful Selling™ model, which provides a framework and system for creating truly unique and differentiated value conversations for salespeople.
Posted: November 30th, 2012 | Author: Eric Nitschke | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
We just launched this ebook about ebooks – Always love a good Seinfeld reference.
Let’s face it–everyone has an ebook these days. To me, the challenge has always been about just throwing the name “ebook” on any old PDF, just to increase its relevance.
So this ebook about ebooks was a good way for us to take a more strategic approach to their creation–and provide a few specific paths to creating them. Instead of just rebranding a white paper or solution brief as an ebook–we put together a few ideas for compelling, interactive ebooks that start with a unique twist on content and data you may already have.
Take a look at Four Quick Routes to Cool Ebooks – I’d love to hear your feedback.