Jeff Ernst, in The New Rules of Sales Enablement, cites research showing that 30% of reps turn over each year, it takes an average of seven months to ramp up a new sales person and the average salesperson forgets more than 80% of what they learn in sales training within 30 days. In other words, traditional sales training is about as cost-efficient as owning a vintage, wooden-hulled sailboat.
At the same time, CSO Insights 2010 states that 47% of companies surveyed report that salespeople generate their own leads, and Gartner Group (Oct 2010) says smartphone unit sales will surpass PCs in 2012. IDC (Jan 2009) states an average rep spends two hours per week looking for sales collateral and another five hours per week creating and recreating presentations and documents for customers and prospects. Meanwhile, by 2014 video is estimated to account for 69% of mobile data traffic (Morgan Stanley Research, April 2010).
On the Move
Where am I going with this? Partners and salespeople are mobile in every way. They need and want to address their own information needs and those of their clients and prospects “in the moment” wherever they are – on the road, via smartphones and mobile devices.
In particular, salespeople also want learning when they need it… usually right before they are meeting with a customer on a solution. They often won’t bother going through formal training (and/or won’t retain much) at a time when the information isn’t relevant for them. Sound familiar?
Given all this mobility and just-in-time information needs, consider what conventionally happens when a reseller’s sales rep needs support from the vendor on a sales call. The vendor traditionally provides that support by dragging a sales engineer along physically, or trying to make one available over the phone. Is there no better way?
Quick Tips for Partner Sales Enablement
Here are some ways you can help your channel partners:
Have a mobile solution – find a way to give them the content they need while they’re on the move from a single repository. Whether it’s a mobile app or Cloud-based software, make sure that collateral is accessible anywhere, anytime.
Repurpose Content – when you create your channel collateral, keep in mind how it can be used and reused so that you minimize the work for yourself and your partners. Give them the training and sales tools they want in a format they can use – like video content with supporting collateral attached. Sales reps can use – and re-use this content with ease, in real-time…right from your subject matter experts and presales engineers.
Evaluate – make sure you are able to track and assess what content is valuable and what isn’t. Don’t just send out material and call it a day. Measure content usage on a per partner basis to find out who is engaged and what’s getting air time.
With mobile parameters on the ascent and conventional sales training results in the tank, it’s time to give partner sales forces the tools they need to engage and work with customers and develop sales:
On-demand training that’s easy to search and find online in a user-friendly “knowledge base” repository
Product overviews from product experts on features, benefits, installation/configuration, whatever
Customer success stories
Ready-to-use content and tools (emails, presentations and more) for partners to engage their clients/prospects
Multimedia video content accessible anytime/anywhere via any mobile device, including smartphone and tablets
If you can pull that off, it’ll be something channel salespeople can get onboard with.