March 27, 2023
5 min read
Last week I outlined some concrete suggestions on when and how a sales leader can engage their teams in order so solidify partner enablement.
There are specific actions, before, during and after a sales team engages with partner enablement that need to be reinforced by sales leadership in order for behaviors to really change toward partner led go to market change.
But after the after?
After the behavior has been encouraged, and adopted. After the team has engaged. That is when the sales leader becomes a bridge between the sales team and the partner team by asking for and then sharing feedback.
The post mortem is the sales leader’s opportunity to get direct feedback from the team about what works and what doesn’t from the partner enablement. Use the time to discuss what's working and what are the struggles with the new behavior.
Have the sellers share their experiences - document ideas as they come up. this can be the source of best practices, or places to pivot.
Some of these best practices are likely better than what sales leaders, or partner teams will typically come up with. And because it comes from them, there is a higher likelihood that others will attempt to implement them.
As an example, someone may say, "The whole positioning statement just doesn't seem to fit into my pitch. It derails what I am trying to accomplish with my customers."
You may have some notes from your previous observations that has an example of a rep that was able to make the positioning statement fit. It may be a great time to ask that rep to share their interaction.
This shows that the positioning is possible, gives recognition for the attempt, and shows the solve comes from a colleague - not the learning content, sales leader or partner manager.
Post mortems are a great place to have sellers reflect on their attempts - whether successful or not and collect the anecdotes.
This is the perfect time to remind the sellers of partner KPIs and set the expectation that their focus should now be on continued refining of the behavior.
Collecting anecdotal data from a post-mortem allows sales leaders to look at the expressed success from the team and compare it to reporting metrics. This will help sales leaders start to determine whether the enablement actually has business impact.
If the data is indicating that there isn’t an explicit impact - remember it may not be the sellers. The behavior may not be the right action to position the new partner sale, which could indicate the need for a pivot.
This is where the sales leader and the partner manager can do great work together. The sales leader can take both the anecdotal data and the reporting back to the partner team and together they can listen and learn from the seller conversations and look for insights in the reporting.
The magic here is that the sales leader is pushing on the internal partnerships flywheel. The partner team created enablement to help the sales team sell more, faster, better through a meaningful partnership. The sales leader took this seriously, engaged with their team, followed through on the enablement requirements, gathered feedback, and correlated data.
Data driven conversations help the partner team to build better and more efficient enablement in the future. It also goes a long way to building trust, collaboration, and cross functional alignment. Which is, after all, what partnerships is all about.