According to Spotio dot com blog, in 2019, Google searches for “sales enablement” increased by over 51%, a telltale of an ongoing discussion on the collaboration between humans and automation tools in making sales.
Sales enablement exists at the intersection of marketing and sales, fostering collaboration between humans and automation tools in the digital world. Sales enablement provides easy access to relevant content when needed.
These content and tools allow the sales team to expedite sales activities and close deals much more smoothly.
As for the content, which is the bedrock of marketing in the B2B industry — matching content to the buyer’s journey and personality is key.
If sales enablement sits right under your duties, this piece offers you a step-by-step guide in creating content to support your sales team.
What are the benefits of sales enablement?
Let’s not look at it from a proof of concept angle but a proof of value. The proof of value is exactly what sales enablement helps you achieve.
From my experience — the following of the reasons to use sales enablement.
Win more sales than your competitors
The CSO Insights 4th Annual Study found that companies with sales enablement content and technology in place won 15% more sales than the companies without a sales enablement process in place.
If yours is an organization with ambitious goals, then you already understand that a 15% sales win over your competition is a huge competitive advantage.
Use the following strategy to have a sales-enabled process for your sales team.
Sales ready team
In the B2B environment, sales don’t occur by a single click after an idle Google search for an item.
B2B buyers are ardent researchers who take their time studying the product, the offer, the alternatives, among other things, before making a purchase.
FocusVision found in a recent study that an average B2B buyer consumes at least 13 pieces of content. That’s alongside many interactions they will be having with your sales representatives.
With sales enablement at the core of your sales strategy, you arm your reps against any possibilities, questions, and actions.
Product details, messaging, onboarding: whatever your prospects’ demands are, a sales enablement strategy helps your sales conduct transactions at the speed of light.
As technology helps smoothen the relationship between your customers and sales reps, it also serves to acquire key insights into customers’ behavior.
Data capturing helps guide your next moves and prepares your sales team for quick customer onboarding all the more.
As you’ll learn when we move further, some tools are designed to help you keep tabs on how your customers behave.
Steps to create content to support your sales team
Some benefits of sales enablement have been listed, but we cannot glorify it enough since the benefit of this post is not to sell you on sales enablement but to show you that there are steps to creating the kind of content your sales reps need to thrive.
Read on for seven steps to create content to support your sales team.
Cross-pollination of ideas between content marketing and sales teams
No doubt, when it comes to buyers’ journeys, content marketers come with a lot of ideas on what to target towards each customer in different stages of their buyer’s journey.
However, most sales journeys aren’t as straightforward as we often think. If we are to follow the classical wisdom of content marketing: we’ll get TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content ready.
Alas, these are pieces of content created based on keyword data, the result of which doesn’t always match with what’s obtainable in the sales field.
But with insights from the sales team who have had experience talking to customers for some time, real-life pain points, preferences, and personas can be identified, and content addressing those can be created.
Even as some or most of your content will be useful, cross-pollination of ideas between your content marketing and sales team can unlock untold sales riches.
Collect customer’s interaction studies using Tech
From what questions a group of customers asks to which form of content they enjoy in each buying stage, the use of technologies can help you uncover many customers’ behavior.
Although it primarily exists to make interaction easier and faster, the adoption of technology can also be beneficial in building an accurate and robust database about customers.
Tools like Zendesk and HelpCrunch can be quite useful at gathering pieces of information like this as they have built-in functions to track and store customer interactions.
Aside from the proper profiling of customers that you can get when you interact with your sales reps, bringing out this data can be of assistance for you in creating made-to-order content that will shore up your sales enablement game.
Listen to sales calls.
It doesn’t all end with high-end technologies; there is still an enormous difference between when two people interact over the phone and when they engage over the Internet.
As you already know, communication is more than just words. When you listen to a verbal conversation between two humans, you can pinpoint in their voices hesitation, frustration, happiness, enthusiasm, among other things.
Knowing these things can be useful in building great positioning and adding a more humane angle to your content.
Empower your sales to be content creators
Understandably, people are talented in different areas, content creators may not do the work of sales reps, and sales reps may not do well in creating content.
But it’s within the capability of almost everyone to create fairly clear content.
Part of what you can do to help your content team create great content that sales reps need is to train reps to be able to put down a basic content outline.
By doing this, your marketing team can take this basic content and develop it into what good content should be.
Be big on repurposing.
If you worked on the steps above, by now, you’d have a lot of helpful and relevant content for your diverse customers.
One thing about customers is, whether they are reaching out on social media or through a live chat on your website, they always crave the same thing: rapid, relevant response.
But as much as you now have reliably relevant content for sets of your customers, they can also be confined to a particular type of content given the type of platform they are interacting on.
A blog post can be repurposed to a LinkedIn post, a LinkedIn post can be turned into a Twitter thread, and whitepapers can be repurposed to a Youtube on Facebook video.
What’s indeed important is that repurposing will make your content useful across diverse platforms.
Focus on SEO
While your sales team is in charge of continuous discussion with your customers, do not forget that many of them tend to try and make an independent search on search engines.
This is where the opportunity to establish yourself as an absolute authority in your industry comes from.
Think of Content Marketing Institute and how they rank for anything relating to content marketing. Think of Hubspot and its ability to rank for keywords such as CRM, Sales, etc.
That your sales team is busy with customers doesn’t mean they can curb customer’s insatiable appetite for independent research. According to Google, 51% of shoppers say they use Google to research a purchase they plan to make.
If your company wasn’t blogging before now, then it’s time you started.
While this is not necessarily an easy thing to do, the entire SEO effort it takes to rank on Google these days can be summarized into three steps. Let me show you all those three.
Build a healthy website
Google gets 95% of their entire global search, and it’s hellbent on building a mature web culture.
If you want to succeed at ranking on Google, the first and the most important step you’ll take is to create a great website for your business.
Ideally, this would be a website that’s fast, mobile-friendly, and user-friendly.
Find long-tail keywords
This refers to keywords with lower search volumes and lower entry barriers.
For example, top bloggers who have been online for years dominate the search ranking for short-tail keywords like “how to start a blog.” Many timely updates have solidified that position to their content, lots of backlinks, and overall domain authority.
For newbies like myself, that’s a no-go area, but finding long-tail keywords like “start a sports blog” gives me a fighting chance. And that’s where you should start from.
In fact, a post I wrote on starting a sports blog made it to the first page of SERPs in less than a month. And that’s because of its lesser competition.
Find short-tail keywords that represent your content core and create outstanding content around them.
Backlinks are the most important off-site trust signal for Google. They are considered a vote of confidence from other sites, and the more links a page has, the more traffic it typically receives, all things being equal. This is not changing anytime soon.
Diversify your content forms
You already know that as audiences differ in their buying stage, so do they in their content preferences.
When one customer is looking for a how-to guide regarding a white paper or blog post, another one needs a short video that quickly explains or demonstrates how concepts work.
We can go on citing findings to establish the virtue of each form of content, like the preference of some for video content or some for white papers, which would not matter here.
Common sense shows that some consumers are never the same, so white papers, blog posts, video content, PDFs, Twitter threads, podcast sessions, any of these could have been salient to any customer.
The bottom line is that you should diversify as much as your budget allows.
With search for sales enablement surging on Google, some people must have learned the benefits and decided to go after it.
In the modern world, it isn’t just the best that wins, the quickest, too. The longer you have to keep your customers waiting to figure something out, the higher your chances of losing them to your competitor.
That’s the gap sales enablement has come to fill, but it isn’t the high-end tools that are more important but the content you serve through it.
Therefore, half of what’s unique about this is the ability to bring your sales and marketing team together for collaboration on what’s best served to customers.
Image Credit: julia volk; pexels; thank you!
7 Best Cryptos to Buy During Altcoin Season – ReadWrite
I’ve been on the sidelines with cryptocurrencies, but it’s an asset class that is fascinating for many reasons. For many crypto investors, the conversation about best cryptos begins and ends with Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD). However, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that Bitcoin does not need to be your digital currency of choice.
That’s because there’s been a massive wave of altcoins that have entered the cryptocurrency market. Altcoins (or alternative coins) are loosely defined as any coin that is not Bitcoin. Based on that definition, Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD) is the most well-known altcoin. But there are now dozens of other altcoins competing for attention. And some of these may be considered the best cryptos for speculative investors.
For a long time, the price of altcoins had a strong correlation to the price of Bitcoin. But that has started to change. This may be a sign of a maturing market. Altcoins are typically created to solve specific issues that Bitcoin leaves unresolved. However, in a free market, investors are free to vote with their dollars (in this case their digital dollars). And in that regard some altcoins are looking more useful over time.
With that in mind, here are seven of the best cryptos that you may want to consider.
7 Best Cryptos for a New Season
I didn’t include Ethereum on this list of best cryptos, but that’s not because it doesn’t belong. However with only room for seven of these, I didn’t want to take up a spot with the altcoin that many investors have already formed a strong opinion about.
And that brings me to Cardano, which many crypto analysts view as a hedge against Ethereum. One thing I liked about Cardano when it first launched was that it’s a proof-of-stake (PoS) coin. This set it apart from almost all other altcoins at this time. While this will not always be an advantage, it did give Cardano a first mover advantage as it tried to separate itself from Ethereum.
Cardano is launching its network in five phases. The network will not officially launch until all five phases are complete. It’s a methodical approach that may frustrate some investors. However, ensuring it can be right and maybe not first, would appear to be a solid approach.
Cardano is a proof of stake (PoS) coin that uses the Ouroboros algorithm.
Speaking of PoS coins that serve as a hedge against Ethereum, we have Neo.
Neo is the native currency of the NEO blockchain. It is frequently referred to as the “Chinese Ethereum.” That’s because the NEO blockchain enables smart contracts. And the sheer size of the Chinese market offers investors a reasonable assurance that Neo will find a space among the best cryptos. However, investors should be looking at Neo as a hedge against Ethereum.
Neo is slightly less decentralized than Ethereum. That’s because the network relies on fewer than 10 nodes to make up its decision making.
The total supply of Neo is limited to 200 million. Approximately 165 million have already been distributed. This means that the value of NEO should rise as demand increases.
A recent catalyst for the cryptocurrency is the blockchain’s launch of the N3 mainnet. Neo’s price shot up over 150% after the launch. And even though there’s been some correction since that time, Neo looks like a solid option for crypto investors.
Litecoin has surged in 2021 because it looks like a strong candidate to address one of the strongest obstacles to cryptocurrency adoption. The cryptocurrency offers faster block hashing times and lower transaction fees than Bitcoin. This has many analysts believing Litecoin could be an altcoin that achieves retail adoption.
So you can imagine how excited investors got to hear that Walmart (NYSE:WMT) would begin to accept Litecoin as a method of payment. There was only one problem. The story was falsified. There’s no indication that Litecoin had anything to do with the deception. So I imagine that any selloff in the altcoin will be short lived.
That means investors are likely to focus on the reasons they like Litecoin to begin with. And the company is also giving investors another catalyst with its participation in the growing non-fungible token (NFT) market.
Binance Coin (BNB)
Binance Coin is another Ethereum rival. The company recently launched the Binance Smart Chain (BSC), which is clearly breaking up the monopoly Ethereum enjoyed with the DApp and DeFi communities.
Like Cardano and Neo, Binance is a utility token. So the value of the coin is tied to its utility and how much demand there is for that utility. In fact, part of the bullish case for Binance is that, unlike some utility tokens, there are many use cases for the BNB token with more being developed on a regular basis. In theory this means that there will be increased demand for the altcoin, which will increase its price.
Binance Coin is the fifth largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of $73 million. It’s also showing an impressive amount of liquidity, which is being combined with high trade volume.
Stellar Lumens (XLM)
Stellar Lumens strikes me as one of the more compelling altcoins because of its use case in facilitating cross-border transactions. As I wrote in January, “Stellar’s decentralized network allows users to create a digital representation of virtually any currency and then send or trade it across a single network. In theory this will allow coders and web developers to build functions like currency exchanging and trading systems directly into the sites and apps they develop.”
It’s a cousin of sorts to Ripple (CCC:XRP-USD). However, whereas Ripple targets banks, XLM is used primarily (although not exclusively) by individuals and small businesses.
Stellar Lumens illustrates the bullish and bearish case for altcoins. In this case, the coin has a specific use case. But that use case generated 4.3 million accounts the last time I looked. Since the Lumens (which is the altcoin for the Stellar network) has no value in and of itself, the value of the altcoin will come from the value of the Stellar network. The scarcity of the coin will also help add to its value.
Earlier this year, I don’t think I would have put Polkadot on this list. But the DOT token has become the ninth largest cryptocurrency by market cap. A key reason for this was the successful launch of the company’s first parachain earlier this year. The polkadot parachain can handle as many as one million transactions per second.
Polkadot is an ecosystem of connected blockchains. The central chain provides security for the entire network, while the side chains (which are called parachains) make the Polkadot network more scalable. Some would even say the network is more scalable than Ethereum.
Parachains will also allow developers to build “bridges” that allow parachains to connect to external networks (think Ethereum or Bitcoin blockchains). A key benefit of parachains will be the ability to create a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. But the contract could simultaneously interact with a blockchain that is designed for different information. Both transactions could be managed in parallel.
Last on this list of best cryptos is Chainlink, which may seem like a grizzled veteran, having been launched in 2017. Like many altcoins on this list, Chainlink is primarily used for smart contract applications. Chainlink is known as a crypto “oracle” that uses data from the outside world to confirm aspects of a smart contract.
For example, if a contract is supposed to make a payment when certain conditions are met, Chainlink is used to confirm the conditions were met. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is.
This is one aspect of the blockchain that is making it popular in the DeFi sector. As Alex Sirois wrote, blockchains “don’t allow data to be gathered from outside their chain or for data to be sent off their chain.”
Chainlink provides a potential solution for both of those issues, and that will likely by enough to keep interest in LINK strong.
On the date of publication, Chris Markoch did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com
Chris Markoch is a freelance financial copywriter who has been covering the market for seven years. He has been writing for InvestorPlace since 2019.
20 Team Building Activities Your Team Will Actually Love – ReadWrite
The human race has evolved over millions of years by sticking together, working in groups and teams. Living in groups has helped humankind survive on this planet and thrive better than any other species. Considerable credit goes to this particular nature of humans, i.e., living in teams. Therefore, team-building activities are a must for relieving the stress of employees.
Most jobs today — especially in tech, involve interacting with others, and often, these team members are not even in the same line of profession. So there has always been the need for dedicated, effective teamwork in any field — whether that means jobs in the business sector, science, or finance.
Steve Jobs revolutionized the entire pattern of living with his innovative and creative mind — but without his team of hard-working professionals and their abilities, his innovations would not have reached the hands of so many people worldwide.
All of the new world facts swirling around us makes it important to have effective ways to develop teams to obtain our best results. Here are 20 Team Building activities that can assure the development of professional bonds and coordination between team members:
20 Team Building Activities for Your Team
This activity aims to develop good quality communication and understanding between team members and understand how they think.
First, divide everyone into pairs. Then with each pair/team, do the following:
Give a pen and paper to one of them and give a picture to the other. Now the one with the picture has to explain to the other what it is without actually telling what it is. With this explanation, the other person has to draw the picture within a given time limit.
This game helps to know your team members on a personal level.
This is a virtual game and is great to play during times like the unfortunate pandemic — or anytime you have a large portion of the team working from home (like work-from-home-Friday). Each member has to make a short video of their homes and their favorite things about it and show it to everyone.
This fun activity works great to help team members bond with each other and design effective strategies for problem-solving.
Firstly gather some eggs and make several teams of 3-5 people. Give each team some office supplies like tape, pencils, straws, plastic utensils, etc. The teams will have 20-30 mins to create a platform that’ll prevent their eggs from breaking when dropped from the 2nd floor.
The activity is highly based on trust, communication, and effective listening, which are integral for any team.
Find an open space and place obstacles on the floor like cones, bags, drink cups, water bottles, etc. Then, divide everyone into pairs and put a blindfold on one team member. The other team member must help the blindfolded member cross the obstacle course (without touching anything) by voice instructions.
This activity promotes self and mutual awareness. It also helps team members understand each other on a personal level.
Ask everyone to take coins out of their purses and wallets. The entire group is supposed to create a logo using these coins and other materials like notebooks, pens, etc. The logo should, in some way, represent their team/organization. At the end of 15 mins, ask everyone how that logo represents their department/organization or team.
The classification game is a great activity for an icebreaker session for team building or a company party.
Create groups of 3-5. In front of their teams, each person in the group says three sentences about themselves with a like, dislike, and one dream. At the end of a quick discussion, each team has to develop a category to describe their entire team as one single group like sporty, night-owls, rain-lovers, etc..
This activity aims to state the importance of minor decisions that affect the entire team.
The leader has to choose a picture of some cartoon character and cut it into several small pieces. Then, each person gets one of the pieces, and they have to draw the same piece five times bigger. In the end, all the larger drawings are joined to see who dis-coordinated with the team. This is fun to do with paint — (as you see above) with acrylic on poster board. You can use cheap brushes from a local craft store.
This activity aims to create good communication and team building.
Make everyone stand in a circle facing each other. Then ask everyone to grab the hand of a random person on their right and left sides. After everyone is holding hands, ask them to untangle and form a circle without leaving any hand until they are in a tight knot — have a rule that they have to have someone step through (over hands) twice. Then have them untangle. (Yes, it is difficult to step backward over hands to untangle.)
Scavenger hunts test team-thinking and decision-making.
Divide everyone into groups of 3-4. Leave clues at multiple points that lead to the final Prize. The team that reaches there first wins.
This game improves meeting productivity and motivates everyone to work instead of trying to leave the meeting.
Before starting a meeting, make everyone stand and share what they aim to contribute to the meeting. The team will ultimately decide who actually contributed to the meeting, the point they shared earlier. The winner gets a prize.
Group juggle is a great icebreaker session for new teams.
Make everyone stand in a circle facing each other and throw a ball at someone. The one who catches it has to say their name and throw it to someone else. The one who catches it has to do the same. After some time, throw another ball into the circle and continue the activity with more balls.
Improves meeting productivity and attentiveness.
During routine meetings, say random things in the middle of the discussion topics and ask everyone about them at the end of the meeting to know who was listening. It can also be played as a team 1 vs. team 2 activity. You can also whisper an important point of a meeting in a person’s ear to the left and a different point to a person on the right. Then have them pass around the information around the circle. Finally, have the last two people who get the information tell what the information is.
This team-building exercise inspires creativity and individual innovation.
Divide everyone into groups and then share an object name with one member of each team in secrecy. They then have to explain what the object is, without saying anything but just with actions.
It is a great way to break the ice for new hires.
Write several pairs on pieces of paper, like Mario on one and Luigi on others. Ernie and Bert. Paste these papers on the back of everyone and make them find their partners.
The objective helps people work in groups and acquire problem-solving, creativity, and robust communication skills.
Take a 2-meter long table cloth and make 4-5 people stand on it. The aim is to flip the cloth upside down, but the condition is that they can only use their feet to turn the cloth. Another way to do this is to have the team stand around the cloth and turn it over, never touching the ground.
This activity is based on leadership skills and problem-solving. In addition, it aims to improve the overall teamwork and coordination of team members.
Make some teams of any but equal sizes and give each team a jigsaw puzzle of equal difficulty. The twist is that some of the pieces will be mixed in different teams. The missing pieces can hence be negotiated among the teams, but whatever happens, will happen as one decision of the entire team.
Truth and dare aim to develop honesty and interaction between team members.
As simple as it is, truth and dare can be a very effective game to help your team know each other better and create stronger bonds based on honesty and interaction.
This game improves problem-solving, knowledge about your office culture and is just also very fun to play.
Create a list of trivia questions regarding your workplace and see which team gets the most correct answers. You can type a document of the questions leaving an area blank for the answers, or do a live quiz.
Apparently, singing is a great building exercise and allows everyone to bond with each other.
Your team can all go out to a karaoke bar or sing karaoke in the office with the help of karaoke games like SingStar. Our team has had great fun dividing into teams and picking songs at a karaoke bar, then trying to outdo each other and vote who picked the best song, had the best singers, did the best harmony, etc.
It aims to develop coordination
Make everyone stand in a circle with their heads down and eyes closed. Then they have to start counting to 20, but only one person can speak a single number at a time. If more than 1 person is speaking at the same time, they start at one again.
There are numerous ways to build the team spirit of your company. We also play ping-pong, bocce ball, spike ball, various versions of volleyball (even without a net), and baseball (softball) when we can get to the field. By performing team-building activities, one can ensure a stronger bond together. The spirit of becoming the best team and achieving a collective goal helps boost confidence and further build trusting bonds.
If you have employees who have a great connection and trust; you are already halfway through the success door.
In the end, what matters is how happy your employee are. If they have a good time working at your organization, you will find a great coworking space. Let them mingle and choose your business as the best learning platform to which they have come up.
At the same time, engage them with skills and development programs to improve their skills, or they can take them as their hobbies like photography, public speaking, or some basic technical skills like dedicated WordPress hosting based web development which is quick and easy to learn.
What We Have Found
We feel that if you are using team-building activities — your team is much more likely to ask questions of each other when they don’t know a piece of technology — and they are happier to help each other with project issues.
The teams are more likely to work together to solve personal (work) problems rather than “tell” the boss/leadership that someone isn’t doing their job. They remind each other and are kinder and less harsh or judgemental to each other.
It is easier to engage your employees to do extra projects. The employees are more likely to keep themselves motivated to work towards your goal — This allows them to carry on with their side hobbies and learning. We have also found that our team building work has brought good results to our company in the end.
Nobody wants to keep changing jobs or avoid work until they are enjoying work with disciplined freedom. But, unfortunately, it seems that nowadays, everyone thinks it’s the responsibility of the HR Team to create better workplaces and cultures — but as a manager and leadership — you don’t always need HR to take care of everything — you can do it yourself.
I hope you build stronger teams with these team-building activities.
Incidentally: these games are great with kids, families, and family reunions, and large parties.
How to Build Ideal Partner Personas for Channel Marketing – ReadWrite
The world of marketing has become increasingly more complex in recent years. With omnichannel approaches, platforms, and various approaches to content. it can sometimes seem that a marketer’s work is never done. But, thankfully, new ways of dealing with our marketing issues have also arisen, including process improvement strategies, and new ideas.
How to Build Ideal Partner Personas for Channel Marketing
You will often hear the term channel marketing used, and it will often be used in conjunction with the term partner personas, but what do these terms mean? How can they benefit you and just how do you go about building this so-called ideal partner persona?
What is Channel Marketing?
At its simplest, channel marketing is about being involved in the total lifecycle of a product; from the point of initial production to its final usage by the consumer. That lifecycle can consist of several levels of people, organizations, and activities. Not to forget who is involved in the process as a whole.
Partners in your channel marketing help you promote the benefits of the product, either to end consumers or to other links in the chain. This can also include distributors, affiliate partners, agents, resellers, and other third parties.
Channel marketing is based on the idea that the relationship is both symbiotic and mutually beneficial. Unlike your normal way of promoting and advertising your products, your channel partners may be independent businesses who are promoting the same product as you, which means that your product can reach a different audience than if you were operating alone.
Third parties benefit as well as your business, as they may receive a percentage of overall sales or, in the case of resellers, they can access discounts if they buy your product in bulk. Channel marketing can also be of advantage if you do not have the (human or financial) resources to facilitate the required levels of marketing alone.
The Partner Persona
Image Credit: pixabay; thank you!
The first thing to emphasize is that a partner persona is not a real person. Instead, it is a representation of who your ideal channel marketing partner may be. It is most often based on market research and data analysis of who your target demographic consumers are. There are several benefits in defining that partner persona:
- Identify – helping you find partners who are relevant to you (your business type, your market, and your target customers).
- Understand – aiding you in understanding what drives your partners, what their perspectives are, and what motivates them.
- Communication – A good definition of partner personas means it can be easier to communicate with them, especially if you share a common UCaaS platform.
- Engagement – It is easier to engage with any partners if you have a clear understanding of who they are and what they want.
- Customization – clearly define your partner personas – it makes it easier for you to customize any partner programs to be mutually beneficial.
How to Build Ideal Partner Personas
Image Credit: pixabay; thank you!
Creating your perfect partner persona is not just a case of jotting down a ‘wish list’. If you approach this exercise without due care, and careful research, then you could do your business more harm than good. There are a number of factors that contribute to the partner persona:
- Demographics – ideally, they should already be working with the demographic groups you want to target (or be positioned to do so). For example, if you want to offer content writing services, it would make sense to partner with an organization offering SEO optimization services and keyword research.
- Size and Reach – the whole idea of bringing partners on board is to extend your reach and to increase sales. There is little point in partnering with a sole unit that has a limited customer base.
- Credibility and Expertise – you want new partners to have some experience in your particular sector. Experience and knowledge of the product – or at least the product type – means they have credibility with potential customers.
- Cohesiveness – when an organization offers products or services that complement your own, then they can make an ideal partner. For example, if you are offering a complex SaaS package, then a business that can offer localization testing could be a good partner to have.
- Values – sometimes you have to look beyond basic financial factors and consider whether a potential partner meets your company’s values. For example, if you are producing reusable silicone cups and mugs, you will probably not want to partner with a company that produces a high volume of single-use plastic items.
- Benefits – there should be some equality as far as benefits are concerned. That is not to say that any profits are equally split but more that you both benefit from forming any sort of partnership. That benefit does not have to be financial; it could mean increases (for you both) in brand awareness, visibility, reach, and reputation. For partners, it could also include a widening of their knowledge base if you offer product training.
- Customer service -how does your potential partner provide customer support? Do they have a dedicated call center or use a high degree of automation such as IVR?
- Goals – Ideally, a good partner should share some of your goals and motivations. If you both want to work towards the same – or similar – goals, then it is more likely that a successful partnership can be established.
How Do You Establish a Successful Channel Partner Program?
Image Credit: pixabay; thank you!
So, you’ve spent some time creating what you see as your ideal partner persona. And further research has identified potential partners that you feel fit that persona. How do you begin to create the channel partner program you have imagined. Some factors include the following:
- Profile – build a profile of your potential partner. Where do they do marketing/selling? What challenges will they face in marketing your product? What help – if any – do they need in order to be a successful partner?
- Program – put together what you see as a good reseller program. List the benefits they will receive and what support or assistance you can offer.
- Introduction – finding the right way to introduce yourself can be crucial. Will you send an introductory letter with detailed information? Or will you arrange for a meeting (in person or virtual) to discuss this in more detail?
- Timeframe – suggest a timeframe for the partnership to be authorized and established. This should include aspects such as product training (if needed) and an agreed start date for them offering your products to customers. This could also include a checklist for various goals or progress points.
- Application and/or Contract – if needed, ask the reseller to make a formal application listing their qualifications to sell on your behalf and experience. If details are already agreed upon through meetings or calls, then draw up a contract that defines the relationship between you and what you both expect from the agreement.
- Policies – this can be included in any contract and will cover all policies and procedures to do with your partnership. For them, that could include how to deal with leads and for you, it could also cover other factors such as training programs.
Successfully marketing (and selling) your product has many different approaches. For example, you may want to combine content marketing for SaaS with a solid channel marketing strategy that includes partners who complement your product well. How you identify partners and build a program will also depend on the industry you operate in.
Software developers seeking partners may often ask what is QA and its place in your current business model. A business offering organic fruit and veg is going to look for a partner who values sustainability. Customizing your partner personas to suit you is crucial when approaching the issue.
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