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Is Your Partner Sales Enablement Collateral in Hiding?
May 18, 2016
Is Your Partner Sales Enablement Collateral in Hiding?


Can we please get real about vendor/partner content transfer for a minute? Last week I witnessed a conversation that I simply haven’t been able to get out of my mind. This happens to me every so often. I hear about a challenge someone is facing, and it plagues me because the solution is so simple … and I’m a fixer.

Here’s how this went down:

Vendor Marketing Leader: “What do you think of this new suite of product collateral we produced for you? Isn’t it great?”

Partner Sales Leader: “Which collateral?”

(Vendor pulls content up on his phone)

Partner Sales Leader: “What? That’s great. When did we get that?”

Vendor Marketing Leader: We produced it last month.

Partner Sales Leader: “How come I haven’t seen it?”

I’m not making this up. I LOVE opportunities to witness real-life interactions between vendors and partners, and I’ll take any chance I get to hear these conversations because they are more valuable than any article or report I read. These are unfiltered, human-to-human experiences.

Back to the partner/vendor conversation. As it turns out, the vendor had emailed the new collateral to the main point of contact at the partner organization, and there it stagnated. The content never got to the sales team.

Now, without placing blame on who dropped the ball or what broke down in this process, can we take a moment to really digest this fully? This vendor is working so hard to produce great sales enablement content for its partners, and this content doesn’t come free. They likely spent 1000s on its development and production. Now let’s consider the lost opportunity cost for both the partner and the vendor. How much more effective could the partner have been over the course of the last few weeks had the team had this resource at their fingertips? And, as I was sitting there witnessing this conversation I couldn’t help but think of the hundreds of other partners who weren’t there in that restaurant with us. Hundreds of other partner sales leaders (and their corresponding sales teams) who also had no idea that these new resources were available.

Man, if only that content had been stored in a portal and now just emailed to partners, right? Wrong. You see, I’ve been holding back another critical part of this story. Perhaps this new suite of awesome collateral WAS in the vendor’s partner portal. It actually doesn’t matter because the partner had previously confided, “I don’t even log into the portal anymore … I can’t find anything in there.”

We’re not talking about a partner who sells thousands of dollars for this vendor every year. We’re talking millions. Millions of dollars, and yet the vendor’s marketing team is struggling to get sales enablement content into the hands of its partners’ sales teams.

Something is broken.

It should not be this hard to connect great marketing and sales enablement collateral with the partner sales reps who need it. We’re so much more technologically advanced than this, aren’t we? It’s time for vendors to expect more from their partner sales and marketing software and business processes, and it’s time for partners to demand better connectivity, better collaboration and better transparency from their vendor suppliers.