Spotlight on sales enablement: tiger teams, channel partner incentives and ROI 

In June’s First Friday discussion, hosted by Jo, we invited three ecosystem professionals from across sales, marketing and product to discuss sales enablement.  

We were joined by:  

Jason Hatch

Senior Director at Palo Alto Networks

Maria Ferrara

Service Provider Marketing Manager EMEA and LATAM

Mark Hollman

Experienced former Vice President of Partnerships

One of the most exciting things about this discussion was the varying perspectives. Offering a sales perspective Jason was able to be the voice of the salesperson, Maria gave us her thoughts on sales enablement through the marketing lens, and having worked across the board, Mark could share insights from sales, marketing and product.

The full write up of the conversation is available to members soon. However, if you’re not (yet) a member or you’re in need of a 2-minute summary, here are some of the key takeaways.

“Sales enablement is accelerating and enhancing sales’ ability to sell” ~ Mark Hollman. 

The art of the elevator pitch

One of the key questions that came up in our planning discussions for this First Friday session was ‘how much product information is enough?’ The short answer is enough to do an elevator pitch. Teams should understand what they’re selling, what their customers want and what their needs are. If you can communicate business outcomes to both the technical and business buyers in an elevator pitch, you’re on the right track. If not – it may be time to re-open those lift doors.

Channel partner incentives are on the rise

Enabling channel partners is notoriously challenging, and our panel shared some excellent insights. According to Jason, there’s an increased appetite for incentives – however they must be aligned with ROI. As Maria pointed out – you also need to be ready to play the long game. It isn’t enough to simply launch an incentive – you must support this with regular engagements and educational activity to drive the behaviors you want to see.

Return on enablement

How do you measure return on investment from your enablement activity? Everyone on the call, including our attendees, acknowledged that this is a challenge for all organisations. However, through discussions we found that many were taking the similar approach of ‘scoring’ or ‘tagging’ leads, based on how they were acquired. ‘Direct or indirect’, ‘partner-led, co-sell, leveraged’ and many more.  

Jason also shared an interesting analogy; if you’re paying for 100% of a wedding, you get to decide who’s invited – and this applies to marketing. When you’re a vendor funding 100% of the marketing, that puts you in the driving seat, allowing you to build in how you report on ROI into any activity from the outset.   

Apply personas to your sales enablement

Sales teams are made up of many demographics. Looking at this simplistically, you only need to consider the different ways in which Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z consume content to know that a broad-brush approach won’t work. Our panelists suggest creating personas for your sales enablement activity, and developing a suitable enablement plan using lots of content formats to cater for the different ways people learn.   

Assemble your tiger team

One of the biggest outcomes of our discussion was the importance of collaboration across different teams. And whilst the agendas of each may be different to begin with, they all have valuable insights and perspectives to bring to the table.

The solution? Assemble your tiger team! All our panelists agreed that marketing can work as the facilitator, bringing everyone together under one tiger-sized umbrella. By creating a diverse team of people from different departments, you can align your focus and look at key projects, such as joint value propositions, from all angles.

A word of caution, however; too many cooks (or tigers in this case), spoil the broth. You want to keep your tiger team small and limited to key stakeholders.

 

Thank you to Jason, Maria and Mark for bringing their unique perspective to June’s First Friday and for driving an engaging discussion.

Our First Friday webinars take place on the first Friday of every month are are available to Coterie Connect members. Not yet a member? Joining is free for ecosystem professionals, simply click here to request your free membership.

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In June’s First Friday discussion, hosted by Jo, we invited three ecosystem professionals from across sales, marketing and product to discuss sales enablement.