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You’ll Never Do Channel Sales Enablement the Old Way Ever Again

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Top channel executives agree that sales enablement of your channel team is one of the most important things to improve revenue growth.  It is proven that sales teams of any type that a trained, capable, and motivated will yield consistently higher revenue growth rates.

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Top Two Outcomes of Business Training are Retention and Sales Growth:

  • Employee Retention & Revenue Growth are Top Two Training Outcomes: “Your Training Edge’s” Bryant Neilson (2018) completed an extensive study of business training and concluded that employee retention and measurable revenue growth are the top two outcomes from an investment in business training
  • $243 Billion for e-Learning Marketplace: Statista in 2018 cited that the eLearning market forecast for 2022 will exceed $242 Billion
  • IPED Consulting cites that channel investment in training must be a significant portion of any channel program:
    • Your overall channel program budget should be 20% of your overall channel revenues
    • Of your channel program budget, 11% should be spent partner education, training, and enablement

Channel Education

With 11% of your overall channel program allocated to education, executives are taking a much closer look at the return generated on this investment.   Companies are looking for proven methods to increase internal channel team and partner sales executive content retention rates from these education expenses.  www.elearningindustry.com provides some excellent findings for how channel executives need to configure their enablement & learning model to generate more knowledgeable and capable representatives for your brand.

Content from Elearning

Sales enablement in the channel today needs to align with how channel team members and partner executives work and want to learn.   Based on eLearning Industry findings, adult learners are actively seeking a new blended model with a heavy weighting on pragmatic tools to help do their actual work on a day-to-day basis.   They want to consume training content in a just-in-time fashion only when they need it and use it for doing their day-to-day tasks Vs. a traditional disconnected learning model.  They are also looking for training methods and tools that can be accessed to support 5-20 minute tasks to and access “chapters” of the training program on an as needed basis.   Finally, they are looking for learning methods and tools to help them complete tasks and include suggestions (e.g., recommended partner goals, suggested training resources by topic, suggest partner improvement metrics, etc.) for how to complete for each key decision they need to make.

Old and New Model

This new blended learning model is not built around a traditional topic-driven learning curriculum.  This traditional approach is too disconnected from how channel teams work on a day-to-day basis.  The new channel sales enablement model is designed around the specific tasks of a job function and provides tools, training and enablement support to do the work more effectively.   The focus on job function and the tasks necessary to be successful in each role serves to focus training and enablement on the things these professionals’ value the most.  Sales and technical professionals will value training as a way to become more satisfied and successful in their role versus a required task to meet a certification or compliance requirement.

This new blended approach to training and enablement starts with a review of the key success concepts for each role.   These are best practices that a vendor must define for their channel team.  Ideally, 10-20 minute modules for each of the training topics below should be made available in the channel learning management system or partner portal.   Additionally, reporting on the completion of these training programs in the form of gamification is known to drive higher adoption and completion rates.

Best Practice Training

Channel organizations that are motivated to get their team to the next level of capabilities and commitment to their brand, have adopted a range of enablement tools from Successful Channels to put these best practices into action.   The tools listed above take the best practices from the training program and put them into action for the channel account manager or the partner sales executive.  These tools are used on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to complete the tasks like partner business planning, scorecarding, opportunity management and performance measurement.   Channel Managers can access these tools and use them directly with their partners to complete these tasks together. Or partner sales executives can access these tasks on a self-service basis and complete them on their own.  Either way, this allows your channel training program to achieve very high levels of implementation of the practices not achieved by most programs.

Examples of These Tools in Action:

Partner Performance Scorecard:   Both Channel Account Managers and Partner Sales Executives are typically required to set sales & pipeline targets and measure their performance-to-plan on a 24/7 basis.  The metered charts below illustrate both sales and pipeline targets and automatically report on performance-to-plan for complete visibility to all.

CRM integrated Partner

Partner Capabilities Scorecard:  This allows channel managers and partner sales executives to assess a partner’s current capabilities and build a custom improvement action plan within minutes.  This new model of training and enablement combines the assessment, the best practices and the implementation / action planning process in one unified process / tool.

Summary Report

Partner & CAM Enablement Gamification:  One of the motivating characteristics for eLearning models defined by defined by Christopher Pappas is incorporating competitive gamification, tracking and reporting.  Incorporating a sense of activity completion tracking and reporting will naturally motivate both partners and CAMs to earnestly participate and complete the required enablement tasks.   This will foster a feeling of ownership and completion among all channel roles and dramatically improve participation rates.

Below are two examples of automated gamification dashboards that are designed to track and report on the completion of key enablement tasks.  This gamification strategy is enhanced by the integration of incentives and rewards to support the completion of the defined tasks.

Gamification Dashboard

There are a range of tools and options like above for all key tasks by role to take training from the virtual classroom into action.   These gain much higher adoption rate because they are designed to help simplify and streamline the implementation of channel / brand best practices

Business Case for the new Channel Enablement Model:  This is the financial argument for why this new approach will generate a greater return on investment than traditional training and enablement programs.   Based on the implementation of tools like the above we have found the following results:

  • Growth Vs. PY: Partner Sales and CAMs that implement these tools generate between 10-25%+ revenue Vs. PY Vs those that do not
  • Partner Sales & CAM Satisfaction Rates: CAMs and Partner Sales are 20-35% more confident and satisfied because of these professional guided tools
  • Partner Sales and CAM Participation Rates in Training: Partner and CAM participation rates in partner planning, scorecarding and QBRS is 100%+ greater with the use of these guided tools
  • Overall Training ROI: Channel teams that have invested in these types of tools have generated, on average 200-500%+ ROI

The use and implement of this new channel enablement model to put training and implementation together in a set of work-flow tools for each key role is dramatically accelerating.   It is doing so because of very strong financial results of this approach along with more satisfied, high retention rates of channel team members.   Can you afford to not take this approach to achieve your FY19 channel goals?

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