As the pace of digitalization accelerates, so too must channel enablement. It must constantly reinvent itself so that vendors and partners can keep an edge over their competitors. Similarly, every time technology changes, the lingo and focus of sales channel enablement must also be adapted.
Back in the beginning, channel organizations only sought out trainers for a handful of topics and platforms. Today, the number of topics, skills, and platforms covered continues growing and multiplying. This is due to new and innovative solutions making their way onto the market. Aside from these changes, we have chosen 5 of the biggest trends that are currently taking place. We expect that these will continue shaping sales channel enablement in the coming years.
Comprehensive Channel 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. Comprehensive channel enablement providers manage training 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. To do so, messages and content must be customized to meet the needs of specific buyers at specific points in the procurement process. When doing so, the focus needs to be on four key points:
- Recognizing business requirements
- Finding approaches to meet their requirements
- Communicating with other stakeholders in the business
- Helping potential customers gain the piece of mind that the solution they are considering is their best option
Importantly, channel partners need to be given the right material to address customers at each of these parts in the process.
Virtual Training Sessions
One of the biggest and most sweeping trends transforming enablement today is in virtual training. While virtual training offers indisputable advantages, especially for teams scattered throughout many countries and around the globe. The result is that many people are eager to jump on the virtual training bandwagon. However, they often overlook many of virtual training's drawbacks.
Here at PDAgroup, we encourage organizers of enablement events to carefully consider the pros and cons of virtual training vs. on-site training (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 below with the main aspects you should consider when choosing between virtual or on-site enablement.
Blended learning, combining both virtual training with on-site training, is emerging as the preferred approach to many kinds of enablement events. This is 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 participants to get what they need from on-site training. This allows them to get what they might have lacked 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 training deprives 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. 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, follow us on LinkedIn or download our free sales enablement whitepaper which is packed full of the latest insights and best practice tips for your sales team: