3 Big Challenges of Channel Sales Readiness [Video]

November 14, 2016 | Molly Buccini
3 Big Challenges of Channel Sales Readiness [Video]

Optimizing sales talent is typically both a priority – and challenge– for every sales organization. Recruiting and hiring top talent is the first step, but even the best sellers need to be armed with the knowledge and content to sell your products with your unique value propositions. 

And that’s talking about direct sales forces. For channel sellers? Talent optimization is even more difficult.   

In the video above, Jim Ninivaggi outlines three big obstacles you need to address when working to optimize your channel sales talent:  

1. How Do We Get Training Content into Channel Sales Reps Hands (and Heads)?  

Channel sales enablement isn’t a “one and done” event. It’s critical that channel reps receive continuous feedback, training and coaching so your organization is always top of mind.  

What kind of training content works well for channel reps?  

  • Micro-learning objects that chunk, sequence and layer training materials in a way that’s easy to absorb and retain. Remember: sales reps do not need to learn everything at once.  

  • Easy accessibility. Channel reps need to have an easy path to access content – that’s available anywhere and everywhere. That means putting a special emphasis on mobile.   

Related: B2B Sales Has Changed – Why Your Training Should Too 

2. How Do We Assess Channel Reps for their Ability to Sell Our Products? 

“When we are talking about our direct sellers, we can set up formal certification programs and require our salespeople to go through them. It’s a little harder to that in the channel,” Jim says.  

There are two things that are critical for channel sales that are worth certifying. 

  • Does the rep recognize when to bring your product into play (versus the other OEM solutions they’re selling)  

  • When channel reps DO bring your product into play, do they message and present your solution effectively?  

This is where coaching plays a critical role.  

Example: Have your channel sales partners share their understanding of when they should be recommending your product, and then record a video of themselves delivering a product presentation. When they send you their video, you can assess both of these responses, so you can not only assess their judgment but their ability to sell, and offer guidance for both.  

Get more examples of channel sales coaching solutions here.  

3. How Do We Enable the First Line Managers within our Channel Partner Organizations? 

This one, Jim explains, is almost always overlooked by channel sales enablement leaders.  

“I would dare say most folks say they do a good job of providing enablement to our direct sellers, but don’t do anything to enable the first line managers.” 

Ask Yourself: What can you give channel sales managers to help them teach and coach their reps, specifically around your products?  

The bottom line: If we can help first line managers and get their mindshare – we’re going to get the mindset of their sellers.  

Want to learn more about channel sales enablement best practices? Check out: 

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