A recent Forrester report, commissioned by Mediafly, revealed B2B enterprises overwhelmingly provide tools and training to their direct sellers over their indirect or partner channels. The problem? By neglecting these sellers, companies are unintentionally impeding their own sales performance and overall business success.

To overcome this challenge, I’m sharing five ways treating distribution channels like second-class citizens can hurt B2B companies -- and what you can do about it.

5 Reasons to Stop Ignoring Distribution Channels

1. It creates a disconnected brand experience

Today’s buyers are different. They conduct more research before connecting with a sales rep, and when they do agree to a meeting, they expect salespeople to provide a customized and consistent experience through every interaction.

However, Forrester’s research showed only 45% of sales and marketing leaders are confident in the current level of brand consistency buyers experience during the sales process.

When sales reps have access to an intuitive sales application, they minimize the risks of saving outdated and inaccurate content to their personal devices. By implementing sales enablement technologies, companies can ensure both direct and indirect sellers are equipped with the most up-to-date content at any time, on any device.

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Having an easy-to-use, mobile-ready sales enablement platform encourages maximum usage across all sales channels and leads to increased business results. According to Forrester, organizations that empower their partners with sales enablement technologies are 2.1x more likely to see an increase in customer references and 1.5x more likely to see an increase in customer lifetime value.

2. It allows for visibility loss into the sales process

Organizations that neglect the needs of their indirect sellers lack visibility into the sales process.

By making sales enablement tools and technologies available to direct and indirect sellers, management and marketers gain insight into which reps are using the assets provided, what content is being used during each interaction, and what content is driving revenue.

Forrester revealed when an organization deploys sales enablement technologies for their partners, they’re 2.3x more likely to achieve sales goals and see 1.4x higher revenue growth.

With built-in machine learning capabilities, a sales enablement platform can automate the process of recording meeting notes, customer data, and content presented in the sales application and CRM.

Through the use of machine learning, management can forecast more accurately and marketers can focus on producing content that helps close deals and drive sales.

3. It poses a challenge for partners to do business

When 68% of organizations provide direct sellers with sales presentation templates but only 48% supply the same assets to partners, it isn’t surprising channel partners have a significantly harder time getting buyers to take a follow-up meeting than their direct selling counterparts.

Direct sellers have access to sales enablement tools at rates 1.4x to 1.7x higher than indirect sellers, and when the gap in resources is so significant, it’s impossible to expect these indirect sellers to perform at the same level as direct sellers.

To close this gap and increase selling success, many organizations are investing in sales enablement technologies for their partner channels.

Forrester’s report shows indirect selling channels equipped with sales enablement tools experience 1.4x higher average revenue growth and are 2.1x more likely to achieve double-digit revenue growth. Capitalizing on these technologies is a huge advantage.

4. It affects the business’s competitive advantage

Investing in a robust sales enablement technology for all selling channels pays off. In their research, Forrester uncovered a direct correlation between sales enablement technology adoption and business success.

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When businesses enable indirect sellers with sales enablement technology, they’re 2.3x more likely to accelerate deal closure, meaning these sellers are now better able to differentiate themselves from competitors, secure more future meetings, and find it twice as easy to accelerate deal closure.

Sales enablement platforms help sellers cultivate a more customized and insights-based buyer experience. Sellers can ditch their static deck and create a personalized sales interaction that addresses how to solve each buyer’s unique business challenges.

5. It hinders business success

Although partner sales contribute to roughly half of annual revenue for B2B enterprises, more than half of firms say they’re not confident in their partners’ ability to deliver compelling sales interactions. Maximizing indirect selling channels will result in stronger sales outcomes, but channel sellers can’t sell what they don’t know.

When partners are responsible for half an organization’s success, they need to be equipped with the same training and knowledge to sell like direct sellers. A new sales rep wouldn’t enter the field without proper onboarding, and a partner seller should be no different.

An alarming number of B2B firms are at a huge disadvantage when they opt not to provide their entire sales force with the right assets to sell successfully.

A sales enablement platform for sellers is a critical part of any modern sales strategy -- and is the best way to guarantee both direct and indirect sellers generate a more engaging and consistent buying experience.

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Originally published Oct 2, 2018 10:23:00 PM, updated October 03 2018

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