5 Back-To-Basics Ways to Simplify Your Sales Enablement

By Kris Wanamaker, Right on the Line Commercial Director

Channel marketing is not for the faint of heart, especially in the IT industry. Empowering partners with the right information to sell your product or service – with conviction and passion – is hard. What’s even harder is ensuring your partners understand your offering well enough to cross- and up-sell to your end-users.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 93% of B2B marketers are using content marketing, only 42% feel that their content marketing is effective. That suggests that there’s a lot of room for improvement. We’ve worked in the sales enablement game for over 20 years and what gets clearer and clearer each year is that sales teams don’t need more information – they need the right information at just the right time. The latest specs and a hard sell are expected basics in the IT industry. To really cut through the noise, sales teams need a range of multimedia content that also brings in storytelling and a clear understanding of the solutions that will speak to a customer’s unique needs.

This means that vendors who want a real edge with their partners, need to go back to the basics of human-centric marketing and spend more time on producing the right content for their sales teams and their partner sales teams – not just more content.

Companies who get it right, tend to empower their sales teams and partners with these 5 things:

Deep customer knowledge

When the sales guys know whom they’re talking to, and what keeps those people up at night, it makes the job of finding the answers they need a whole lot easier.

Stories and storytelling

Apple hasn’t dominated the consumer market for years just because they’ve got great engineering. They’ve got great engineering AND they’d designed their products and services so that people feel smart and sophisticated using them. AND they tell great stories about the people who use their products, not just the products themselves.

Another recent study says that 75% of B2B customers ultimately select vendors based on content offers, with 89% stating that winning vendors “provided content that makes it easier to show ROI and/or build a business case for the purchase”.

Great sales teams tell great stories about how life was before your product, and what life can be like after your product. Sure, some people will buy purely on the specs, but getting them to look at the brochure starts with them buying into your story. Video can be a powerful tool here. A 2-minute video can do more to onboard someone new to your world, than any brochure or spec sheet, no matter how sexy the product.

Simplicity

We are overwhelmed with data. We consume more information before breakfast than an average person consumed in their whole lives as little as 50 years ago. And we’re not any better for it. Simplicity is hard. But it’s so very worth it. Less is definitely more. According to an Aberdeen report on channel enablement, a well-enabled channel can reduce their sales cycles by 28%. Focus on doing a handful of things really well. Get the basics absolutely right. And make it as simple as possible for the people selling your products and solutions to do a good job.

The right tools at the right time

This is the other side of the simplicity coin. Too much information can be overwhelming for not only your sales teams, but your prospects. Think about not only the journey of your consumer, but the journey of your sales team. And segment your sales enablement tools accordingly. Business development teams will need simple messaging and hooks to understand what you offer and why it’s awesome. Solution focussed teams will need richer materials that help with explaining, problem-solving, planning and, ultimately, meeting customer needs. This approach, coupled with great post-sale customer service, is what ensures future opportunities for cross-selling, up-selling and renewals.

Smart questions

When last did you sit down with the sales team and really interrogate what they need – what they use, how prospects react, what existing customers need? Spend the time with your partners and really listen to them.

Asking your extended teams what will help them is smart. Understand their issues and concerns. Understand what works, what doesn’t, and what they actually find useful. You will probably be horrified at how little of your material is in regular use. Check-in regularly and ask how you can help them – and let them assist you in your sales-enablement content development.

This is about developing all partners into better performers by equipping them with skills and information that allow them to spot cross- and up-sell opportunities and then to make them happen.

Partners need to be on a road map of development with their vendor, not just left on their own to figure it out. Likewise, help them ask customers the smart questions. Help them understand the customer’s big picture, so that they can sell hard and wide on your behalf.

Got any questions of your own? Get in touch.