4 min read

Channel Enablement

Posted By
Emily Buchan

What is Channel Enablement?

Channel enablement is the process of providing channel partners with the information, content, and tools to help them sell your products more effectively. Much like sales enablement, channel enablement provides your distribution partners with everything they need to successfully engage their prospects and customers throughout the buying process.
Channel enablement is any combination of resources to support your sales partners. Some examples of enablement resources are:
  • Documented Buyer Personas
  • Sales Playbooks
  • Buyer’s Journey Mapping
  • Content for co-branding, like blog posts, ebooks, and social media posts
  • Best Practices documents
  • Partner Portals
  • Partner Training Courses/Videos

Why You Need Channel Enablement

Sales partners are usually working with multiple companies and selling a variety of products from different brands. This means their time for each brand or product is scarce. Channel enablement gives your partners the ability to sell effectively for you, and investing in channel enablement strategies and materials shows partners you’re investing in their success and value their time.

A lot of channel enablement materials are marketing or sales content that can be co-branded with your partners’ logos and information. These assets can help your partners with marketing when they may not have a dedicated marketing team, and they also help control your own brand’s consistency. If partners only need to add their information to a completed ebook, for example, they’re less likely to accidentally misrepresent your brand with the wrong logo, colors, information, or messaging.

A vital piece of channel enablement is your partner portal. This is where they find all the enablement resources you have for them, but your side of the portal will give you valuable metrics. What partners are using what resources, for example, and who is utilizing what you have for them and who could use some more guidance? Understanding how your partners are using your resources can also help you develop new ones and revisit or remove ones that partners aren’t gravitating towards.

How To Get Started With Channel Enablement

Channel enablement is about improving communication between you and your partners and maintaining an understanding of what to expect from each other. This means you should start by working with your partners to develop a Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA helps set expectations for what you can expect from your partners and what they’ll expect from you, such as: number of leads, deal quotas, and number of leads worked. An SLA clearly outlines expectations and gives you and your sales partners concrete goals.

Set Up Your Partner Portal

Your partner portal is where all the information and tools your partners need to market and sell on your behalf is stored. There are many different partner portals out there, and it’s important to pick one that will meet your needs and integrate with your existing systems.

Develop Content for Your Partners

Content like blog posts, social posts, sales playbooks, and premium content offers are important for your partners—especially those who don’t have a dedicated marketing team. Develop content pieces for your partners to make available in your partner portal.

Train Partners With New Tools

Whether through virtual meetings, video, or written guides, give your partners a way to learn how to utilize what you’ve given them. They need to know how to use the portal and provide content to use it effectively; otherwise, they may become overwhelmed and not use any of it.

Measure Results

Make sure your channel enablement program is helping your partners close more deals. Pick metrics to track, such as deal-to-close rates, leads generated, and leads worked, and take baseline measurements at the start of the program as well as throughout to track improvement.