With the majority of companies expecting channel sales to increase in importance over the next 18 months, it’s mission critical for sales enablement leaders to become channel enablement leaders. Just like in-house sales teams, channel partners can benefit from proper training and coaching, but the approach needs to be tailored to their situation as external salespeople.
If you don’t already have a formalized channel enablement program, it’s not uncommon for sales enablement to take on the responsibility. Here are 4 statistics showing why your organization needs channel enablement.
63.5% of companies say channel partners contributed to their annual revenue. (CSO Insights)
If your business relies on channel sales for growth, then you should prioritize channel enablement to put them in the best position to succeed. One of the unique challenges, of course, is that you're likely not the only company relying on those same partners to sell for them. Effective training, easy access to sales and marketing content, and continuous updates can go a long way to staying top-of-mind with partner reps and keeping them prepared and selling for you.
Channel partners take over a year to become fully productive, according to 24% of companies. (CSO Insights)
Increasing new hires’ time to productivity is a common enablement challenge in the channel, just as it is with direct sales forces. This stat highlights the need for onboarding that is specifically tailored for channel partners. If channel reps are taking over a year to ramp up, that’s a lot of lost productivity. Provide them with tailored onboarding from day one and follow up with continuous training and coaching so knowledge doesn't go in one ear and out the other.
Channel enablement technology is only present at 46% of companies. (SMA)
Sales enablement technology makes it easier to scale onboarding, training and coaching to sales forces of any size and location. Extend your sales enablement platform to channel partners so they can have the same easy access to sales content, training materials and anything else they need in order to sell effectively.
Only 35% of companies have effective coaching and development for channel salespeople. (SMA)
Don’t ignore channel salespeople; just because they aren’t under your roof, doesn’t mean they can't benefit from similar levels of support – and that can include continuous coaching. When asking in-house reps to complete video coaching challenges (where reps are asked to record a pitch or response to a question or prompt), think about a way to adapt them for your channel teams. With any new developments, such as new products or features, the channel sellers need to stay up-to-date just like the rest of your sales force.
For more tips on channel enablement, check out our brief: 4 Ways to Keep Your Channel Sales Force Prepared (and Selling for YOU).