An enabled sales partner will be more motivated to sell for you (and more likely to close deals).
It’s easy to fall into the mindset of “my partners are onboarded and also in the same vertical as my business, so they know what to do.” But sales partners aren’t going to be experts in your product or service. They need guidance.
Here are the four levels of partner sales enablement to help maximize results.
Four Levels of Enablement for Your Sales Partners
Level 1: Product and Features Information
At a minimum, your partners need to be equipped with product information found in your overview documents and feature specs. Enablement at this level has your partners conducting sales conversations around features. Of course, this isn’t ideal, which is why Level 1is the bare minimum of enablement. It’s a necessary staple, but not nearly enough – because sales conversations centered on features will inevitably result in price negotiations.
Level 2: Service, Support, and Product Enablement Information
The next level of enablement builds on the first. Partners still have everything they need in terms of product information – but with the added benefit of providing your partners service and support.
Offering support (think: customer success managers) along with your product adds value for the buyer. This allows your partners to supplement your features with a sense of security. Not only that, but partners can now begin to differentiate you from your competitors. Features are comparable, but support is priceless.
At Level 2, your sales partner might say something like this to the customer: “You will be successful with us because we’re going to help you through it. We have dedicated customer success managers who are there to help you with any questions you have, and teach you how to utilize this tool to the best of your ability.”
Level 3: Business Outcomes, Service, Support, and Product Enablement Information
Keep building and adding! Level 3 involves partners being able to represent the product features, benefits, and support, as well as being connected to tangible business outcomes.
This gives them an extra level up due to the fact that they can now talk about actual outcomes that were derived from your product. Imagine a channel sales team that can speak about business outcomes, return on investment (ROI), product benefits, and the proper way to position your brand in an end user’s mind. These are absolute wins. Reaching this level of enablement requires training that involves program specifics, product knowledge, product positioning, sales strategy playbooks, and top-notch support from your team. It’s no easy feat, but the results are worth it.
At Level 3 enablement, your sales partner might say something like this to customers: “I understand that you have this business pain. Our product helps take this big part of your job off your plate and automate your processes to reduce error. Actually, we worked with a company similar to yours, and the team saw ROI within a month of purchase. We can help you reach similar goals.”
Level 4: Strategic Advisorship, Business Outcomes, Service, Support, and Product Information
Going to market via partners who are trusted advisors of their clients is why partner sales is so valuable. Partner-led deals have shorter sales cycles and higher win rates, and usually result in higher retention. Combine these known truths with a partner who is also positioned as a strategic advisor, and there will be a healthy, growing book of business with each of those partner relationships.
Giving partners the enablement they need to reach this level is challenging, but rewarding. Commonly, this includes all the before-mentioned types of enablement but with the additions of co-branded assets, joint marketing campaigns, and event collaboration.
An Action Plan for Sales Partner Enablement
Write down all the things your company does to enable partners. Look at what you do and categorize your activities as Strategic Advisorship, Business Outcomes, Service and Support, and Product.
Which among the four is your strongest suit? Is there a category you haven’t grown into yet? See where you fall into the levels of sales enablement and brainstorm with your team on how to grow into the next level.
If you’re already at Level 4 engagement, congratulations! Keep growing, innovating, and enabling your sales partners.
Tori Barlow leads Allbound’s marketing strategy to cultivate awareness for the ultimate PRM solution. An experienced digital marketer with a passion for B2B, Tori thrives in a data-driven world.