Channel partner enablement is all about solving the question, “How do we get our partners to wake up in the morning, think about our products and brand, and then go out and sell for us?”
Sales reps often focus on whatever shiny object they have in front of them, so gaining and maintaining brand loyalty can be a challenge. Engaging them — and keeping them engaged — is paramount to making partner distribution work for you.
Today, engagement is more important than ever before because seller and buyer behaviors are changing. Buyers are used to having quick, easy access to information to help them make educated decisions, especially when it comes to their purchases.
Sellers have also come to expect instant gratification where information is concerned, so you have to serve them fresh product updates, sales collateral, and marketing content consistently and proactively if you want to stay top of mind and keep those partners selling your products.
Rather than relying on partners to find your content, your content has to find them and be easy to use.
This is what the evolution of channel partner enablement has come to provide: it proactively gives your channel partners everything they need to sell your product, in a way that works for you and for them, to keep channel marketing and sales on track.
In this article, we’ll explain:
- What channel partner enablement is
- Bigtincan’s channel partner enablement features, including:
- How Bigtincan makes channel partner enablement proactive — meaning you’re less dependent on partners to come to you, and more capable of pushing your best content and messaging to them.
Note: You can learn more about Bigtincan’s channel partner enablement tools and book a demo here.
What is channel partner enablement?
Channel partner enablement is the process of providing your channel partners with the tools, content, training, and processes they need to successfully sell your product.
This means utilizing the communication, collaboration, and management features of a software platform to help enable your distributors, resellers, integrators, or managed service providers.
You’re probably already familiar with partner relationship management (PRM), which is a more traditional model of working with resellers.
However, PRM is much more passive than channel partner enablement, because once you set up the tools your partner can access, it then relies on the partner to come to you (or your marketing database, or your ordering center, etc.) to interact with your brand or product.
A successful channel partner enablement program allows you to take a much more active role in promoting your brand and products to your partners, with on-brand, up-to-date collateral and customized training programs to keep sellers up to date, too.
This kind of active engagement is important for multiple reasons. For one, you may be one of many partners your resellers promote and sell, so your products may be only a few in a vast catalog of items available to your partner’s customers. How do you keep from getting lost in the fray?
For another, sales reps will likely sell the products they’re most comfortable with, taking the path of least resistance. If they aren’t sure what your product does or why it’s better than other options, are they going to voluntarily, proactively sell it to customers?
Rather than relying on a “you come get it from me when you need it” model, channel partner enablement shifts you from a passive partner in the channel ecosystem to an active one.
You can push assets and training to partners, reduce friction in finding or using assets and trainings, make it easy to position your brand and products to customers, provide the information sales reps need to progress the sales cycle, and measure partner engagement with your brand via a dashboard — all because you’re serving everything up on a silver platter via a channel partner enablement program.
And the Bigtincan enablement platform can do all of this for you and your partners.
Bigtincan’s channel partner enablement features
If you’ve already invested in an extensive tech stack, you may be thinking, “What else can I possibly need that I don’t already have? And will it be worth the additional spend?”
We think Bigtincan is better than other partner enablement options because of the following features we’ve built into our platform:
Mobile-first design and offline access
Enabling resellers and distributors means enabling a global, mobile, and diverse workforce. They need to have access to information in the field, on any device, and in areas of low to no internet connectivity so they have everything they need to show the customer whether they’re on a car lot, in a doctor’s office, in a warehouse, or on the road.
In "Three Essential Elements of Effective Partner Sales Enablement" Gartner writes, "Accessibility is key... sales reps need to be continuously logged in and able to access content within seconds. This is particularly important, for example, when the sales rep is in front of a prospect and a particular question is asked that the rep is not familiar with."
With Bigtincan, partners can easily access assets such as collateral, presentations, and training content on whatever device they choose to use, making it easy for them to engage with your content on their own terms and on a device they’re comfortable with. And because files are accessed live from the repository you maintain, branding and specs are always up to date as you want them to be. Files can also be rendered easily online or offline due to Bigtincan supporting 150+ file types.
Easy-to-Use content management collaboration tools
Want to know more about whether or not marketing assets are working out for partners? Give them a more direct line to give feedback or ask questions about assets directly, via Bigtincan Hub.
Streamline cross-departmental and cross-partner communication by enabling partners to leave direct messages for you. Then your team can reply with notes recommending content specific to whatever the reps are asking for.
This allows sales to commend marketing for assets that are particularly helpful, while clueing in marketing to assets that may need some fine tuning or which aren’t as helpful as they could be.
Sales training made easy
Partner sellers can’t sell your product if they don’t know what it is or what its value propositions are, so training and onboarding are key for making sure everyone knows why your product is going to solve customers’ problems.
With the Bigtincan Learning platform, you can provide partner sales reps with video sales coaching and microlearning. The training videos can be custom designed by your team and delivered to partner sellers at scale, with the ability to utilize gamification features (like achievements), leaderboards (because what sales organization doesn’t love competition?), and instant feedback to learners on their own personal dashboards.
Like the rest of Bigtincan, this experience can be accessed by learners from any device, so sales reps are free to participate on their phones or tablets if they so desire, without being tied to a desktop or dragged away from the sales floor, making it even easier for them to participate.
Automation of admin tasks for sales reps
When we talk about making partner enablement as frictionless as possible, it doesn’t get much easier than automating a system to record sales activities for sales reps.
Content-related activities can be automatically populated into CRM systems to ease administrative requirements for channel partner sales staff.
So if a sales rep accesses one of your assets, information about that use can be automatically pushed to your partner’s CRM to assist the sales rep in required logging of their selling activities.
For busy salespeople, knowing that they can use the content management feature of your channel partner enablement tool to access assets to show customers — while also automatically logging an activity in their own in-house CRM — is quite the improvement to their sales process.
CRM integration for pipeline visibility
Besides allowing partner salespeople to easily log content-related interactions into their CRM, you’ll also have greater visibility into the partner’s pipeline opportunities and overall sales performance.
Bigtincan features deep integration with CRM platforms such as Salesforce, HubSpot, and Marketo (to name a few), so both you and your partners will benefit greatly from the channel partner enablement Bigtincan provides.
Useful channel sales metrics
That deep CRM integration can feed back into your own Bigtincan dashboards to help you keep an eye on everything that’s happening with partner sales.
This means you can stay up to date one which pieces of content are being used more often by sales reps by accessing Bigtincan’s usage analytics.
You can also dive into which content channels are preferred and which may be underutilized. Then, your marketing team can adjust that content accordingly, or retire (and stop worrying about maintaining) those that don’t seem to be working.
This kind of asset management data can save your team time and allow them to focus on what’s working to move your product, while allowing partner sellers to always have access to the best collateral available.
Dynamic partner performance reporting
Additionally, Bigtincan provides dynamic reporting that allows you to measure your effort’s direct impact on revenue. Beautiful dashboards and intuitive data reporting tools allow your teams to easily pull in the data they want and then analyze it.
That includes marketers analyzing content usage; partner managers viewing engagement, opportunities, and other sales information; or your partner management team looking for a top-down view of how sales via channel partners are going.
This is all driven by Bigtincan’s SalesAI, which utilizes AI and machine learning technology such as pattern-matching algorithms, usage analytics, and predictive modeling to help drive sales, marketing strategies, and forecasting.
After you’ve enabled sales to access marketing assets, and they’ve used them to close deals, you can deep dive into how your content is affecting sales by partner sellers.
Putting it all together for a cohesive channel partner enablement practice
Each of the above features is helpful alone, but your channel partner enablement strategy really shines when you combine them with a proactive approach that keeps you in front of your channel partners.
Here’s how that works in Bigtincan:
With Bigtincan’s channel partner enablement platform, you now have an analytics dashboard that gives you insight into what is (or isn’t) happening with your product.
Maybe no one is engaging with your newly refreshed content, or you expected sales to go up, but they’re stagnant. Or maybe a few sales reps are great at selling your product, but there are a few who just aren’t actively trying.
Now, your channel partner manager has the ability to see what’s actually going on with each individual sales rep.
If specific sellers haven’t engaged with your brand recently, your manager can now send customized push and email notifications alerting partners to new content, training videos, or positioning to help them move your product. And if a sales rep keeps putting off a training module or is taking their time getting through onboarding lessons, you can alert them again.
Or, for example, notifications can also be released to let all partners know about a specific asset that has been hugely instrumental in moving a lot of your product.
This is on top of the fact that your asset library will always be up to date for partners, because they’re using your dynamic content management library, which you control on your end.
No more downloading assets to let them become stale and inaccurate over time. All of this can give partner sellers more motivation and ability to sell more of your product — and therefore, make more commissions.
Take an active role in channel partner sales
A lot has changed about what your partners expect from you — but with Bigtincan’s channel partner enablement tools, we can change what you can expect of your partners, too. Take a more active role in your partner relationships by upgrading the sales enablement tools they use every day to sell your products.
Note: You can learn more about Bigtincan’s channel partner enablement tools and book a demo here.