An increasing number of B2B companies leverage channel partners to diversify their sales tactics, broaden their brand reach, and, ultimately, generate more revenue. When properly executed, this strategy can lead to customer-counts spiking despite minimal upfront spending (and isn’t that the dream?).
Yet channel programs involve far more than finding willing participants. Once you have a pool of eager partners, you must tailor your sales enablement materials to help them achieve success.
The Essential Building Blocks for Partner Sales Enablement
1. Content geared towards helping partners’ lead generation
The buyer’s journey doesn’t start when a partner first registers a prospect, so neither should your sales enablement. Ideally, marketing materials plant early seeds that partners can water, so lead-generating materials must share messaging consistent with your sales content. What’s more, use analytics to reflect on the relationship between lower-funnel performance and upper-funnel content to assess lead quality.
2. Mid-funnel content
This encompasses a broad range of materials, such as customer testimonials, product demonstrations, software comparisons, one-sheeters, and case studies. For additional ideas, read Simple Ways to Create Outstanding Sales Enablement Content. Ideally, your partners should be able to put their thumbprints on the materials by adding their brand. To take this concept one step further, consider co-creating sales enablement content showing how the two products work well with one another.
3. A Partner Portal
A designated partner platform helps automate key sales enablement functions. For example, once a partner registers a new opportunity, multi-tier playbooks can suggest relevant materials targeted to the prospect and their current stage of the funnel. To learn more about why a CRM isn’t suitable for partner management, click here.
Why Direct Sales Content May Not Be As Effective For Partners
Content used by Direct Sales teams can act as the foundation for partner sales enablement, but it will likely need modifications. This is because your partners communicate with different audiences than your Direct Sales team, especially if they operate out of another region or business vertical. Additionally, they’re likely exhibiting how your partners work in conjunction with their own, adding unique dimensions to sales conversations.
Regularly audit your sales enablement content to determine which strategies sway partners’ prospects and which need updates or outright deletion.
How to Identify Partner Content Issues and Opportunities
- Capture partner content analytics. First and foremost, ensure you have the proper software in place to capture content-focused metrics at all stages of partner marketing and sales enablement. Preferably, your content analytics dashboards would integrate with your partner portal so you can directly relate upper-funnel interactions—like newsletter engagement and video views—with subsequent revenue.
- Measure conversion rates associated with partners’ utilization of sales enablement partner content. When partners use the designated portal to manage prospect interactions, you can track which actions led to successful sales. For example, are partners who use a specific case study more likely to convert than those that don’t? Moreover, at what stage of the funnel should the case study be shared?
- Don’t forget about average deal sizes. Don’t make the mistake of measuring content’s impact on revenue as a simple “yes” or “no.” Dive deeper to figure out which sales enablement messaging helps partners effectively upsell to land bigger deals.
- Track how different pieces connect with different audiences. Your channel partner ecosystem presumably branches into diverse countries and industries. In this case, you’ll need targeted messaging for each targeted audience. Figure out your partner program’s most pressing content needs by clearly defining (and tracking) segments and comparing how they respond to particular materials. For example, let’s say a spec document is overall popular but has disproportionately low interactions from German partners’ prospects; while this could be a symptom of multiple issues, it’s clear that you will need to develop an alternative solution for German audiences.
Ways to Improve Sales Enablement Content for Partners
- Collect qualitative data directly from partners. Data without meaning or subsequent action is useless. Therefore, use the content analytics findings to steer discussions with partners. If a newly minted battle card has no impact on conversions, ask for theories and possible improvements. Perhaps the language is too confusing, the selling points not compelling, or its bombastic boasting raises suspicions rather than confidence—you would have no way of knowing unless you paired quantitative analytics with qualitative input.By directly involving select partners in content assessment and brainstorming, you nurture their enthusiasm for the materials. In turn, they will be more willing to share the materials, further maximizing your messaging’s reach.
- Hire local freelance writers. Just because a writer can write a splashy headline that draws American eyes doesn’t mean they’re well-suited to give European audiences the in-depth research they crave. Consider collaborating with content creators based in the targeted region to ensure pieces reflect local dialects and cultural preferences.
- Directly collaborate with partners. Co-authoring content with select partners has the same upsides as hiring a local freelancer. Additionally, the partner’s co-branding and heavy promotion may further the piece’s visibility. However, working alongside other companies’ creatives can become a tangled, time-consuming process. Make sure the different teams are clear about expectations and minimize miscommunication by employing a designated hub for content collaboration.
- Identify patterns to discern what works. When assessing analytics, don’t only focus on the negative. Compare individual pieces and/or different content themes to pinpoint what partners reach for time and time again. Perhaps product demonstration videos lead to customers purchasing larger packages. Perhaps partners that share case studies have an overall better conversion rate. Such observations can dictate how you focus your budget and what content strategies to share with all partners.
- Test hypotheses about your sales enablement content. Let’s say an industry survey generates phenomenal interactions; rather than blindly believe that all surveys will yield similar results, why not create another survey and a long-form article that dives deeper into the same subject matter explored by the first. This can help you figure out whether the format or the topic resonated with audiences.
- Monitor content analytics to identify the point of diminishing returns. Some content strategies can be duplicated more frequently than others. Tracking engagement for such tactics will let you know when, arguably, you’ve revisited it one-too-many times. After all, if you keep producing battle cards, you’ll soon run out of competitors your audiences care about. Similarly, if you send newsletters with excessive frequency, expect your open-rate to decline. Keeping a close eye on content engagement will enable you to pivot tactics sooner rather than later.
- Refresh older content. The ways audiences absorb information change over time, as do your competitors’ tactics. Keep messaging and mediums fresh, all the while testing the impact of updates.
The Bottom Line
Time and resources spent on sales enablement content geared specifically for partners will pay ten-fold. The catered materials can aid in their overall satisfaction (and program retention), and their boosted confidence in selling will make everyone profitable. You can’t go wrong if you leverage data to form sound hypotheses and collaborate with partners to round out your sales enablement strategies.
For more great tips, tricks, and how-tos, subscribe to the DivvyHQ blog today!