Over the last few weeks we’ve covered the steps channel marketers need to follow in order to enable their channel partners.
In order, these steps are:
And today I’m going to focus on that last point: Deliver.
Solution Delivery is one of the most important elements in successful channel marketing because it’s also one of the easiest to overlook.
Why? Because the sales process is nearly over, and even dedicated professionals can feel the pressure lifting. But this is not the time to relax. In fact, the experience your channel partners give their customers in this stage of the buyer’s journey can have a massive impact on their future relationship—not to mention your reputation as a supplier in the wider marketplace.
But according to the “Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages” report produced by statistics and research group Nielsen in 2012, trust in traditional forms of promotion (such as television, print and radio) are declining year on year, while personal recommendations and even consumer opinions found online are actually growing in perceived validity.
While every business and market is different, this information points to the fact that the personal connection forged between your channel marketing partners and their prospects is a valuable asset—one you would do well to develop.
However, as highlighted in “The Four Stages of Partner Enablement”, post-sales is one of the best times for your channel partners to demonstrate their expertise. Demonstrating commitment in this way could really help to drive home their sense of accountability for the solutions they sell—while a lack of communication could make it seem like they are not dedicated to the relationship, which can have dramatic ramifications later on.
Obviously you need to make sure your channel partners are able and willing to go the distance in this last leg of the sales marathon. So you need to give them everything they need to deliver customer satisfaction.
Unlike the other steps highlighted in this series, partners will not need promotional material. Instead, you should provide them with marketing materials designed to help new and repeat customers get the best possible use from your solution.
These assets need to go beyond product licenses and instructions—you need to deliver instructional videos, best practice guides and technical presentations that make it easy for customers to understand how to get better results sooner.
This way, your channel marketing partners can:
- Demonstrate how to set up your solutions based on a prospect’s needs
- Educate all tiers of a customer’s organization, so they can get up and running faster
- Strengthen their main point of difference as a provider of quality services
As you can see, these benefits will in turn help your channel marketing partners close larger deals more often, as repeat buyers and word-of-mouth promotions start driving prospective business in their direction.
Elastic Digital understands how important this part of the sales process is to channel marketing, and incorporates this understanding into all of our Solution Enablement Toolkits.
Known as SETs for short, these valuable investments give your channel partners ready access to all the assets and training they need to deliver customers real satisfaction in this final stage of the sales process.
Thanks for reading this series of partner marketing enablement posts! I hope we’ve given you some food for thought on your own partner enablement strategies, and that you’ve been able to generate positive results by following our advice. If there’s anything you’d like to discuss on this subject, or if you’d like to know more about Elastic Digital’s Solution Enablement Toolkits, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.