By Mediafly EVP of Sales, Matt Suggs

As indirect and direct sellers become more common for manufacturers, many are not providing their indirect sellers with the same tools and solutions as they do for their direct sellers. In a recent survey of sales and marketing leaders, commissioned by Mediafly, Forrester found that B2B enterprises overwhelmingly prioritize providing tools and training for their direct sellers over indirect or partner sellers. Forrester also found that by neglecting indirect sellers, these companies inadvertently hinder their own sales performance, and as a result, business success.

Based on Forrester’s paper, It’s Time to Enable Your Channel Sellers for Evolved Selling, we put together five reasons why you should stop treating your indirect sellers like second-class citizens. By not enabling your indirect sellers with the same tools as your direct sellers, you:

Create a disjointed brand experience that hurts sales outcomes.

Forrester’s results revealed that less than half (45%) of all sales and marketing leaders surveyed are confident in the level of brand consistency buyers experience throughout the sales process, with 42% feeling buyer experiences are less than consistent. Buyers are changing. With information right at their fingertips, buyers are researching products and offerings on their own before ever connecting with the sales reps.

By implementing tools such as a sales enablement platform, you can guarantee both your direct and indirect sellers always have access to new and up-to-date content on any device. Forrester found companies that enable partners with sales enablement technologies are 1.5x more likely to report an increase in customer lifetime value and 2.1x more likely to report an increase in customer references.

Lose visibility into the sales process.

Companies who neglect to enable their indirect sellers with sales enablement technologies lack visibility into the sales process. Technology that gives management and marketers full insight into what content is being used at various stages of the buying cycle, what reps are utilizing the assets provided (and whether or not this has an impact on sales performance), and what content drives revenue is extremely important in running a successful sales team. This helps management forecast more accurately, and marketers can focus on producing content that propels deals forward.

Make it difficult for partners to do business with you.

Did you know channel partners have 1.3x to 1.6x greater difficulty than direct sales employees getting buyers to take the next meeting? This figure isn’t surprising when you consider 68% of survey respondents provide direct sellers with sales presentation templates and only 48% supply these same templates to partners. Enterprises also offer direct sales reps access to sales enablement tools and technologies at rates 1.4x to 1.7x higher than they do indirect sales reps. By providing direct sales reps access to tools and technologies that help close sales, you’re only setting up your direct sales reps for success and not your indirect sales reps.

To close the gap between indirect and direct sales reps, many companies are investing in sales enablement technologies for their partner channels – and for good reason. Early adopters empowering their indirect sales channels with sales enablement technologies report 1.4x higher average revenue growth and are 2.1x more likely to achieve double-digit revenue growth.

Lose your competitive advantage.

Among the survey responses, Forrester found a direct correlation between sales enablement technology adoption and business success. B2B enterprises that enable their indirect sellers with sales enablement technologies find it 2.3x easier to accelerate deal closure because they’re better able to secure subsequent meetings and engage higher-level stakeholders in sales conversations.

Impede your own success.

The companies surveyed have an average of 176 partner companies selling their products and services. And although partner sales contribute to roughly half (49%) of annual revenue for B2B firms, 55% of survey respondents are not confident in – or not aware of – their partners’ abilities to deliver compelling sales interactions.
Your partners are responsible for half of your success. You wouldn’t want to send your direct sellers out to the field without the necessary tools for success, so wouldn’t you want the same for your indirect sellers? Moving forward, manufacturers must take a look at what tools they’re providing all sellers, both indirect and direct, and find ways for improvement through automation and other customizations.

About the Author
Matt Suggs leads the sales and business development teams at Mediafly, driving overall revenue growth and guiding the company to better understand the enterprise sales cycle. Since joining the company in 2010, Matt has been integral in adding and growing the company’s customers across different verticals. As a member of the executive committee, he also guides the overall strategy for Mediafly. Contact: info@mediafly.com