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Where does “sales & channel enablement” fit? May 5, 2009

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing.
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When you develop your go-to-market strategy, are you also thinking about sales and channel enablement?  This incredibly important element of any integrated marketing campaign is easily overlooked.  It’s frequently thought of as someone else’s job, and slides unceremoniously between the cracks.

Recently, I’ve been working with a team who has been taking a fresh look at developing campaign assets.  Instead of just looking at campaign assets from a production standpoint (press releases, landing pages, etc), they divided the list of assets into three buckets:

1) Promotional Pieces: tactical marketing deliverables such as . .

  • Print / Web advertising
  • Feature articles
  • Webinars & events
  • Corporate presentation (with script)
  • Collateral/fulfillment
  • Direct mail pieces
  • etc

2) Enablement Tools: tools to educate sales/channel partners; and, tools the channel can use themselves

  • Promotions training & details
  • Sales playbooks
  • Tele-scripts (for use with sales development teams)
  • Channel-event/program “kits”
  • HTML customizable assets
  • Syndicated content for partner use (50 words, 100 words, 900 words)
  • etc

3) Channel Executables: customer-viewable deliverables that the channel owns

  • Local executive breakfast seminars
  • Lunch & learn series
  • Bundled promotions (to channel customers)
  • etc.

A complete integrated marketing plan needs to have all of these bases covered.  The channel will never be as intensely focused on your business as you are.  So, we need to feed them relevant information, messaging, and programs that dovetails with our own lead gen programs.  And as this team discovered, it is a lot easier to be proactive in addressing the sales & channel enablement implications when the campaign is first being developed, rather than chasing missed opportunities reactively.

What sales and channel enablement assets have worked best for your business?

Comments»

1. Mac McIntosh - May 6, 2009

Mike,

This is a thought-provoking post. Thanks.

Which bucket includes the materials you use as “offers” or “calls to action” used to get prospects to either take the next step in the buying process by responding and requesting these materials, or to help them move forward in their buying decision process, from awareness to inquiry to consideration and purchase of your products or services?

You may have these offer materials in the “promotional materials” bucket, classified as “collateral/fulfillment.” However, depending on how you define “enablement” they might belong there too (from the point of view of enabling the buyer).

Mac McIntosh
http://www.sales-lead-experts.com

mgospe - May 6, 2009

Hi Mike,

Good question. You’re absolutely correct. We’re really looking at flip sides of the same coin. In considering the direct sales force, our “offers” and “calls to action” are pretty straight-forward. Yet, for these to be used through a channel, there may be some finesse needed. While the same content of the offer (say, a booklet) may be marketed by a company with both a direct sales force and through the channel, differences in the look, use and execution of the promotional item may be called for. In that case, to “enable” the channel, we may need to customize the promotional item in terms of use, co-brand, or availability. And, the channel would likely need some additional training prior to marketing the promotional offer themselves. In this case, you might think of the channel enablement piece as a wrapper that fits around the promotional item.

It’s common for marketing teams to develop the offer first, then think about how it might be used with the channel sometime later. Instead, teams have experienced great success when considering how, when, and where the channel can use the offer while the offer is first being created.

So, in terms of creating our asset list, it’s best to consider a “channel enablement” component for any/every “promotional item” created. With that in mind, creating a list like this is a good, thought-provoking exercise.

2. Mac McIntosh - May 6, 2009

Mike, I couldn’t agree with you more.
Sometimes the salesperson or channel partner handles the entire buying/sales process (from awareness to inquiry to consideration to purchase).

Other times, marketing handles the earlier parts of the buying/sales cycle (from awareness to inquiry) and sales handles that latter two (consideration to purchase).

But in either case, marketers should think through how they can help “enable’ their sales teams or channel partners to handle all or part of the buying/selling process themselves, then allocate budget, resources and efforts accordingly.

Mac McIntosh
http://www.sales-lead-experts.com


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