As the pace of digitalization accelerates, so too must channel enablement while constantly reinventing itself so that vendors and partners can keep an edge over their competitors. Every time technology has changed, the lingo and topics that enablement has focused on needed to change along with it.
Back in the beginning, channel organizations only sought out trainers for a handful of topics and platforms. Whereas today the number of topics, skills, and platforms covered continue growing and multiplying as new and innovative solutions make their way into the market. Aside from these changes, we have chosen 5 of the biggest trends that are currently taking place and will continue shaping channel enablement in the coming years.
Comprehensive Enablement Providers
Nowadays, some organizations that specialize in providing channel enablement events, like PDAgroup, also provide comprehensive enablement services covering everything from A to Z to channel organizations and their partners. Whether it is finding a venue, organizing the catering, managing sign-ups prior to the event and sign-ins on event day, or ensuring that the proper equipment, comfortable facilities, and technology are available for trainers and participants, companies that specialize in enablement are experts at planning channel enablement events in a way that maximizes the learning experience for sales, presales, and other employees at partner organizations. Thus, both partners and channel organizations profit from the process in the long-run.
Enhanced Lead Nurturing
In the last few years, the focus has turned more toward lead nurturing in the form of messages and content customized to meet the needs of specific buyers at a point in the procurement process. Recognizing business requirements, finding approaches to meet them, communicating with other stakeholders in the business, and helping potential customers gain the piece of mind that the solution they are considering is the best option: channel partners need the right material to address customers at each of these parts in the process.
One of the biggest and most sweeping trends transforming enablement today is in virtual trainings. While virtual trainings offer indisputable advantages, such as for teams scattered throughout many countries and around the globe, there are also many drawbacks which are often overlooked as many people are eager to jump on the bandwagon. But here at PDAgroup, we encourage organizers of enablement events to carefully consider the pros and cons of virtual trainings vs. on-site trainings (from both the trainer’s perspective as well as the participants’ perspective) before moving on to plan the details of an enablement event. We have included a table here with the main aspects you should consider when choosing between virtual or on-site enablement.
Blended learning, combining both virtual trainings with on-site trainings, is emerging as the preferred approach to many kinds of enablement events because it helps to leverage the advantages of both kinds of learning while minimizing the disadvantages. Because each learner is different and has different needs, this allows for participants to get what they need from on-site trainings which might have been lacking in the virtual training session(s) and vice versa.
For example, a junior sales representative might have lacked the confidence to ask certain questions in person for fear of looking too inexperienced or uninformed; however, in a virtual session the same sales rep might feel freer to ask their question. Conversely, virtual trainings deprive the participants of a comfortable in-person setting in which they can become friends and network with each other during breaks while sharing best practices and supporting each other in the learning process and beyond. For more on blended learning, check out our blog post 7 Ways Blended Learning Will Inspire You.
Customers increasingly expect vendors to have in-depth knowledge of the specific needs and challenges in their sector and industry. Not only is it reassuring if you speak your customers’ language and understand their concerns, but there are deeper issues at stake. On issues such as average migration times, vendors need to go beyond providing general figures and averages and carefully consider sector breakdowns. Exact guidelines and requirements are often given by sector-specific trade associations and regulatory bodies; these can be used to demonstrate that your product ticks all the right boxes.
These 5 trends in channel enablement are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are countless other trends that channel enablement has experienced recently.
PDAgroup will try its best to stay ahead of these trends and share our knowledge with you here on our blog. For related insights, check out our post entitled 3 Essential Steps to Long-Term Behavior Change and subscribe to our Sales & Channel Management newsletter or follow us on LinkedIn.