Partner Enablement: Sure is a lot of it lately!
I have heard the phrase “we need help with our partner enablement” many times in the last 2 weeks. Are companies now figuring out that partners and channels are essential to revenue growth, or are there not that many good people who know how to really enable a partner and therefore it’s a skill that is lacking in organizations? I prefer the later – it makes me a more valuable resource.
But in all seriousness, the answer is both. Well, maybe companies are not just figuring it out but they certainly see the value of a channel, partner, or OEM that is complimentary to their sales efforts. For the purpose of this article, I’ll lump the channel, partner, and OEM routes to market into one bucket and call it “partner enablement”.
What is partner enablement? In general, it is the activities helping partners establish and grow their business through successfully positioning, selling, implementing, and supporting your product or service. When you set up this channel correctly and then you enable this channel, you have established further breadth in your sales efforts.
Many companies have well defined partner programs. Then some have well-defined programs but not the right resources or personnel to effectively execute it. Besides showing our partners some love, we need to give them the easy button. Below are a couple of things you can consider as you build your partner enablement programs:
- Have strong messaging. Know your value proposition, the business issues you solve, where you win, where you stay away, and competitive positioning. This can then easily be used or tailored for your OEM, channel, reseller, or distributor.
- Have a good base of standard content: data sheets, customer facing presentations, sales aids, and white papers. These will be tailored for your partner channel as key content for awareness and demand generation.
- Prepare demand generation packages or events-in-a-box. This is a content package that consists of everything your sales team or partner channel could use for demand generation; signage, a set of emails for communication, collateral and presentations, high-value content for follow-up, what to do to run the event – basically everything you need for a campaign.
- Provide an easy way for your partner channel to get access to this material and to stay updated. This is a good web portal and communication strategy that shares with them news and other selling strategies.
Once you have the basics in place, then it’s all about relationships. Partner with your partner, do events with them, give them access to your experts, and help them win deals. The easier you make it for them to sell, the more they will sell of your product and not someone else’s product.
About the author:
Kim McMahon has done sales and marketing for more years than she cares to count. She writes frequently on marketing, life, the world and how they sometimes all come together.