Creating, updating, managing and delivering sales content is hard enough with singular sales and marketing teams working in a linear relationship. In most cases, you’ll have sales reps saving materials locally and editing them manually, marketing will always bottleneck when manual mass updates are needed, and messaging will inevitably become off-brand and off-message when reps take personalization into their own hands.
Now imagine how much channel management complicates these processes—where multiple intermediaries are involved that require different branding and content from the supplier organization. Marketing teams run into a number of challenges when it comes to message consistency, marketing efficiency and sales effectiveness.
The goal of channel sales enablement is to help channel partners operate autonomously while still maintaining message control, and ultimately allow them to improve sales performance in each channel. Below are some major challenges of channel sales enablement and how companies can overcome them.
- Message consistency: Having multiple channel partners and intermediaries can lead to increased risk of message and brand distortion. Partners may want the power to personalize collateral with their own branding and messaging, but this can jeopardize the consistency and credibility of the supplier organization. Additionally, it can be difficult for the organization to keep track of all content and messaging in every intermediary.
- Efficient content personalization: Manually co-branding sales materials for each channel partner is a tedious task that slows down channel partners and inhibits efficient sales. Customers expect relevant, one-to-one personalization when it comes to sales presentations and materials. But this gets confusing when it comes to channel sales because of co-branding (or the lack thereof). Yet updating and customizing all materials in every channel is so inefficient that many companies simply leave it up to sales reps to personalize on their own.
- Content accessibility: Contextually-relevant content, product offerings, and presentations can be hard for channel members to locate and use. Searching for the right materials for each selling situation is time-consuming in any organization, but this is exacerbated in channel sales. Oftentimes end users will start to create their own materials or distribute the wrong content externally when they can’t find exactly what they need. Channel partners need a way to view only what is relevant to them in a specific selling situation, so they can ensure what they are sharing or sending is helpful, pertinent and appropriate.
Channel enablement is no easy task. But addressing the challenges above is necessary in order to effectively scale marketing efforts and improve channel sales and distribution processes. Further, tackling these challenges can help your company make your channel partners more nimble and gain a competitive advantage with external clients and prospects.
Content automation systems, which allow organizations to improve marketing efficiency and distribution effectiveness through automatic personalization and update capabilities, help to address these challenges. They allow companies to easily create co-branded portals for each channel partner and let individuals personalize and send materials from within their CRM solutions, which helps to increase content usage and accessibility. Organizations are able to create and update all materials quickly, while any channel partner can access the most relevant, up-to-date and co-branded materials easily, while also being able to personalize them for their own use. This leads to more effective, loyal channel partners that will ultimately create more sales opportunities.