31 Jan Changing the Channel: 6 Partner Enablement Trends in 2018
Are you a high-level B2B channel executive facing obstacles in reaching your goals?
Look no further. We have listed some trends that will let you stay ahead of the curve with partner enablement in 2018. These address the challenges and the opportunities that you will encounter in a market with rapidly changing products, services, and go-to-market strategies.
1. Forget the 80/20 rule
The 80-20 Pareto principle, states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In channel sales, this means that 80% of the business comes from 20% of the partners. The common result? Vendors pay attention to the top 20% of partners while the other 80% are ignored.
Under-performing partners are usually the ones with the best chance for major growth and often the ones with innovative technologies.
The under-performing partners are usually the ones with the best chance for major growth and often the ones with innovative technologies. They hold great potential to drive incremental revenue. If you’re not paying attention to these partners, then you are leaving money on the table.
Use your resources efficiently by engaging these existing partners instead of recruiting and training new partners. This reduces your dependence on just 20% of the partner network and diversifies your revenue streams.
2. Provide tailored communication
Are you painting all your partners with the same brush? In a complex market where technology solutions evolve rapidly, partners are increasingly targeting niche markets to maintain their competitive edge.
You should do the same. Your communication strategy needs to cater to a digital landscape awash with search engine results. Additionally, some challenges are common to all partners across the network while others are specific to only a few. Creating content calendars and custom communication plans are steps in the right direction. Identify differences and segment communications based on specific partner needs.
3. Ignore White Space at your own risk
Another area to be pay attention to is the “Channel White Space.” TSL Marketing defines white space as ‘partners with little or no track record within a five-year period’.
Partners in the white space need attention! They lack information on channel incentives and products. Reactivating these forgotten partners by opening communication channels requires much less time and effort than recruiting and training new partners. Get those bench players back in the game!
4. Use partners to generate demand
Just as you customize a communication strategy tailored to your partner’s needs, individualize your demand-generation resources as well. This may include training, content creation and assistance with social selling. Give your partners what they need to succeed. Remember that your partners are the first line of contact with the customer and can uncover hidden ways to drive revenue.
5. Maximize Social selling
Your partners are the first line of contact with the customer and can uncover hidden ways to drive revenue.
Long gone are the days of cold calls and blind emails. Social media is the modern way to connect with and assist your partners. Use social media outlets such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for a wider, cost-effective reach to stay in touch with your partners and keep them updated about your products and your vision.
Following your partner’s social networks also gives you a better understanding of customer expectations. You can utilize social media platforms to run marketing programs with partners, and gain exposure to a large, untapped customer base.
6. Leaner content is better content
Suffering from info-glut? Excessive information and content that is no longer relevant creates confusion and impacts efficiency. Make it easy for partners to find information and use enablement tools.
Minimalism should be a part of your partner enablement strategy. Sort through the content that your partners use, weed out the parts that are no longer relevant, update the outdated resources, and add new content wherever required. Also, reassess your platforms and enablement tools to ensure they are useful and specifically-tailored to partner needs.
Align yourself with your partner’s business types and goals to completely understand their needs. Using these 6 principles will allow you and your partners to achieve great things in 2018 and beyond.