Channel Enablement & Promotion
Once the Product Management has chosen a sales channel to service the customer (Placement) it must work closely with Product Marketing and Sales Channel Management to engage the channel to achieve the desired joint sales and marketing objectives. This post deals mostly with marketing’s responsibilities. Typically marketing has committed a revenue stream to the company’s strategic business management during the life cycle of the product/service. To achieve the committed revenue stream requires that each channel contribute its share towards this objective. Therefore, marketing is a stakeholder in seeing that each channel performs as expected.
You must start out with a clear understanding as to the sales channels business model customer base serviced and their company’s value add. Secondly, the sales channel’s sales model must be understood to know the call patterns and enablement requirements. This will allow Marketing and Sales Channel Management to have an intelligent discussion as to the price the channel buys product from you (margin against street price) in order to get their attention and motivate them to actively pursue business. Also, attention must be made to ensure that the product/service is easy to use and does not need after sale baby-sitting. Lastly, sales management must provide methods to register deals and channel conflict problem resolution.
Marketing has two primary responsibilities to make the sales channel successful:
- Enable the sales channel’s sales and support staff to be able to identify an ideal customer, qualify the opportunity and close the business
- Provide promotional services to drive business to the sales channel and reduce the missionary work needed to have customers recognize you, your product/services and your channel as a player that must be considered prior to making any decision
Enabling the sales channel means to provide their sales teams with the necessary “Knowledge” to be able to know:
- “What” are your product product/service features?
- “What” are your product/service functions?
- “Who” needs these capabilities? “Where” are the ideal customers? “What” are ideal customer industries?
- “Why” do these customers need these capabilities? “What” are the business/operational advantages you provide the customer? What are these advantages worth? What is my “value proposition”?
- “What” is the competitive landscape? “What are the alternatives and what are my advantages and disadvantages, what are the alternative’s advantages and disadvantages?
- “How” do I evaluate customer’s feasibility? “How” do I process an order? “How” do I implement the product/service?
- “What” promotional support will the sales team get
In addition, marketing must make it easier for the sales professional to get the attention of the customer. Marketing can overcome a great deal of sales “missionary work” when the prospective customers has been educated somewhat to know that you as a vendor and the channel as seller are “significant players” and have been successful in providing advantages to other customers in their industry… Marketing does this through effective promotion campaigns. Promotion campaigns are designed to build customer “Awareness”, “Consideration” and “Hit” (ACH where Hit means predisposition to purchase your products/services). These campaigns must address ACH market positioning for your company, your products/service and your channel.
Promotion the sales channel means planning and executing marketing communications campaigns that may include:
- Trade articles
- Trade show presence
- Web sites, Blogs
- Inbound Telemarketing
- White papers
- Listing in Buyers’ Guides
- Direct mail
- Outbound telemarketing
- Customer Success Seminars
- Trade ads
Once all this good work is done, sales channel management must establish (with Marketing):
- Lead handoff and opportunity tracking processes and support systems (i.e. Partner Resource Management… Customer Resource Management etc.)
- Channel conflict resolution processes and support systems (i.e. deal registration).
- Performance monitoring and management reporting processes and systems
- Sales enablement updates including competitive tactical threats and marketing responses
- Marketing programs to deal with realities: market environmental, market acceptance, life-cycle management and other emerging trends etc.
Let us show how we have helped others achieve these objectives in the shortest possible time! Contact us at (720) 352-3407 or email us at ChannelEnablement&Promotion@PrismBusDev.com