It's the way we think...

Break down the barriers between sales and marketing with tools
​that help you drive revenue up and cost of sales down

  • Every day, thousands of companies sell their products or services through independent channel partners such as franchisees, agents or financial advisors, dealers or distributors, and value-added resellers. Many kinds of companies – including insurance companies, financial services firms, technology companies, and manufacturers – derive a significant portion of their total revenues from indirect channel sales.

     

    The importance of indirect channel revenues has led channel vendors to implement a variety of tactics and programs designed to boost the revenues produced by their partners. For decades, channel vendors have used financial incentives such as sales performance incentive funds, market development funds, and co-op advertising funds to motivate their channel partners.

     

    More recently, channel vendors have turned to technology to improve channel partner performance. Over the past several years, a growing number of channel vendors have implemented software applications designed to facilitate the marketing activities of their partners. These applications can be called distributed marketing automation, local marketing automation, and through-partner marketing automation, but regardless of the name, they are all channel marketing enablement solutions.


  • Many companies derive a significant portion of their total revenues from sales made by independent channel partners such as franchisees, agents, financial advisors, dealers, and distributors. Because of the importance of indirect channel revenues, channel vendors have long been using a variety of tactics and programs to boost the revenues produced by their partners.

     

    In recent years, many channel vendors have implemented channel marketing enablement solutions to facilitate the marketing activities of their partners. As the name implies, these solutions primarily enhance the marketing capabilities of channel partners. They aren’t typically designed to be used by sales reps, and they don’t usually provide support for interactions between sales reps and potential buyers. Therefore, these solutions can leave a significant “enablement gap” in channel operations.

     

    Inadequate support for channel partner sales reps can be a significant issue because of the important role they play in the revenue generation process of many channel partners. Despite the explosive proliferation of easily-accessible online information, effective person-to-person selling remains critical to the success of many companies. Therefore, improving sales productivity has become a hot topic for business leaders. In a recent survey by Forbes Insights​, US business executives ranked sales productivity as their most important management focus.

     

    Most conversations about sales productivity have focused on its importance for B2B companies, but it’s equally important for many types of B2C companies. For example, many insurance and financial services enterprises are high-touch, relationship-based businesses in which frontline representatives, such as financial advisors, brokers, and independent agents, are the critical link in the revenue chain.


  • Driven by the continuing need to improve sales productivity, a growing number of companies are creating a dedicated sales enablement function and implementing a variety of sales enablement programs. The centerpiece of most sales enablement efforts is a sales content management solution that’s designed to enable sales reps to find and use sales content resources.

     

    A capable sales content management solution has the potential to deliver significant benefits to both companies and individual salespeople, but for those benefits to materialize, the solution must be consistently used by a company’s sales reps.

     

    To earn salesperson adoption and use, a sales content management solution must meet two basic requirements – it must be easy for sales reps to use, and it must provide real-world, tangible benefits to individual sales reps.

     

    So, what causes a sales content management solution to satisfy these two critical criteria? Based on our experiences with numerous companies, we’ve identified six attributes that are needed to entice sales reps to adopt and consistently use a sales content management solution.


  • According to a recent CMO Study​, nearly 8% of today’s marketing budgets are going towards marketing analytics and this number is expected to increase over the next three years. In the age of big data and the growing number of business intelligence tools out there, this statistic is not surprising.

     

    However, there still remains a gap in marketing analytics when it comes to field or channel marketing.  Most marketers who are responsible for serving their field sales representatives and/or channel partners, have very little insight into what content or marketing tactic is working or is not working. This lack of insight is likely the key reason SiriusDecisions reported up to 70% of marketing content goes unused by sales. ​ 

     

    Attributing to the problem are a few key factors. First, many field marketing departments rely on third-party technology suppliers and have a multitude of portals for the field to interact with. This poses a challenge because these vendors may not be tracking who is actually using these tactics, let alone how the tactics are used by sales and received by customers. The second challenge is pulling the data together from all of these vendors in a meaningful way.

     

    Another challenge for missing field or channel marketing data is the lack of adoption by the field to these technologies. Therefore, it is easy to conclude that if there is no activity, there is no data to report.

     

    There is good news, however, for field and channel marketers hoping to gain access to the data and analytics needed to improve the effectiveness of your marketing tactics. By consolidating your vendor portals into a single sales content management solution, you benefit from data coming from a single source of truth and can move towards real-time content engagement tracking.

     

    There are many ancillary benefits to a robust sales content management solution beyond actionable marketing data and analytics – which I have written about in previous blog posts – but the ability to understand what is working in the field to convert sales has to be high on the list of benefits.

    In order to make sure that a newly implemented sales content management solution is configured to generate the analytics needed to be successful to raise the bar on field and channel marketing efforts, there are five segments to consider.