As buyers continue to evolve, it’s imperative that sellers in all industries understand their buyer’s need and wants. This is especially true as buyers can scan hundreds of reviews and articles about a product online, forming opinions before they even interact with a sales representative for the first time. However, in industries, such as the CPG and manufacturing space, companies have to provide sales tools not only for their direct sellers but also their indirect sellers. Below I’ve put together 5 tips based on findings from a recent Forrester Consulting study — commissioned by Mediafly — that will help indirect sales channels and improve distribution revenue.
Your Distributors Aren’t Second-Class Citizens
While nearly 50 percent of annual B2B revenue is brought in by partner sellers, 55 percent of B2B sales and marketing leaders aren’t confident in, or aware of, their partners’ abilities to deliver consistent and compelling sales experiences. It seems like a no-brainer! You wouldn’t send your own sales rep into the field without proper training and adequate tools. The same should go for your partner sellers. Each line of selling needs proper onboarding and training, plus the right tools and technology, to result in elevated sales conversations that differentiate your product from those of competitors. If you disregard your partner sales reps, your business could be at risk of:
- Discordant brand and or customer experiences that hurt sales outcomes
- Decreased view of the sales process, hurting your ability to forecast sales accurately and how your product is marketed and sold
- The impression that your organization doesn’t support partners
- Faltering business growth and a competitive disadvantage due to reduced mindshare
Treat Direct and Indirect Sellers Alike
Part of any modern sales strategy is a piece of Sales Enablement tech. What will set your organization apart is access to such a tool for both your direct and indirect sellers. This sets an organization apart from others as most B2B companies provide access to devices and software to their own sellers 1.4 to 1.7 times more than they do to partners. Moreover, nearly 70 percent of enterprises provide direct sellers with access to basic sales content resources like presentation templates where just about 50 percent of those companies do the same for their indirect sales force. In order to ensure anyone who represents your brand is prepared to elevate a sales conversation to be more interactive, engaging, consistent and one that drives revenue, tech across all sellers is vital.
As discussed, there’s a clear disparity in tech and resources available to direct sellers vs. indirect sellers. However, when B2B organizations elect to implement an interactive Sales Enablement technology for all sellers, they find themselves ready to:
- Streamline brand and buying experiences: By equipping reps with an intuitive sales application at their fingertips, you can minimize the risk of sellers saving outdated content to their local machines or creating their own off-brand content when a quick search through past emails doesn’t surface what they need.
- Increase visibility into sales operations: Implementing a Sales Enablement technology and making the platform accessible to both direct and indirect sellers gives management and marketers insight into what content is being used at various stages of the buying cycle, which reps are utilizing the assets provided, and what content drives revenue.
- Bring on the competition: Enable your direct and indirect sellers to ditch their static sales pitch decks and lead personalized sales discussions that address how your solution will solve for business challenges and help the buyer reach their financial goals.
Examine Sales Enablement Solutions
Picking the right Sales Enablement platform is one of the most critical parts of the process, and also one of the most overwhelming. Technology constantly changes, providing new features and options for your company to contemplate. Take a moment to define the needs of your organization and consider the following before selecting your new solution:
- Thorough Reporting: Make sure your platform provides data that can correlate content with revenue. Find an application that can push and pull data from other sales systems to give a complete view of sales performance.
- Usability: Pick a solution that includes a quick and painless on-boarding process that everyone in the company can master.
- Accessibility: More than ever, employees are taking their work on-the-go. Consider an application that can be used anywhere, both online and offline. Direct and indirect sales representatives should have equal access to it.
- Easy deployment: Ensure that the solution can be deployed quickly. If you can, find a vendor that uses a partnership approach so everything runs smoothly.
- Security: The vendor you choose should follow industry standard best practices to protect your data.
- Flexibility: Bonus points go to a system that can easily integrate with other sales tech solutions, such as CRM, LMS, and CMS. This allows easier access to information and the ability to scale as needed.
- Customization: Today, everything from our phones to our laptops is programmed to fit our specific needs. A Sales Enablement platform should also provide different ways to meet your business’ unique requirements.
Guarantee High Adoption Rates
The process doesn’t stop after picking the right Sales Enablement platform. Next, you need to empower your sellers through a comprehensive onboarding process. The more people understand the platform’s value and potential, the higher the chances are for adoption. To increase the likelihood of success, incorporate the following steps when deploying your new technology:
- Training: Training must be provided to all employees to show how the technology operates. This includes indirect sellers, who have reported lower access to sales training in the past. Through training, you can allow sellers to experiment with the platform and test out different features. Then, more experienced employees can mentor those who require additional assistance in understanding. Be available to answer questions and have patience throughout the process. From there, adoption rates will increase and your representatives will be better equipped to close the next sale.
- Pilot or Phased Rollout: Pilot programs allow your organization the ability to test out new technology with specific teams or units before rolling it out to the rest of the organization. This reduces risk, increases control, and improves product usability for higher adoption. If you choose this route, identify a testing group that will most benefit from the platform and also has an open mind. Then, follow up with the group to gather feedback that can be used for the company-wide rollout. A phased process allows the organization to gradually adjust to the new system and handle any implementation issues in a manageable way.
- Integration with Existing Sales Tech Stack: Create a more engaged customer and employee experience by fully integrating your Sales Enablement technology with existing sales applications. This ensures other sales behaviors aren’t disrupted and provides a streamlined process for retrieving content. Data can then be pushed and pulled through automation systems that create efficiency for sales representatives.
Enjoy the Benefits of Improved Sales Results
Still not sure how investing in digital sales tools will increase your sales outcomes? Take a look at some of the results for partners whose companies implemented Sales Enablement technology:
- 4 times higher revenue growth
- 1 times more likely to report an increase in customer references
- 1 times more likely to report double-digit revenue growth
- Up to 2.3 times more effective at achieving sales goals
Empower sales representatives in your company through new technology that allows them to use data-driven insights. Both direct and indirect sellers will benefit from the convenience and accessibility available through a Sales Enablement platform. With this technology, you can set your company apart and see the bottom line results.