Trust Enablement

The key to unlocking ecosystem led growth (ELG) lies in the strategic coordination and orchestration of partners.

This approach is vital for delivering the solutions that business customers expect. In an ELG model, partners within the ecosystem must trust each other and recognize the unique value they collectively bring. Working in harmony to deliver shared value to their common customers is essential.

So, how do we foster this trust? What role does partner enablement play in nurturing the trust necessary to achieve shared objectives and deliver on the value promised?

Partner enablement, fundamentally a facet of Sales Enablement, initiates with understanding the audience. A well-designed and executed partner enablement strategy is crucial; without it, sellers might find themselves stuck, akin to being in quicksand.

Poorly designed and executed partner enablement is like quicksand to sellers.

Sellers operate in the trust business.

Their recommendations are built on the foundation of trust, a principle that any consultative sales methodology emphasizes. The challenge, however, lies in overcoming the inherent distrust sellers might have towards anything that could potentially add friction to their sales process.

This distrust intensifies with the stakes, making co-selling at the sales rep level particularly challenging.

Instances where co-selling with a partner was discouraged due to misaligned branding or outdated presentation materials are all too common.

If the level of trust is not high enough, something like some bad Powerpoint slides can swing open the door of mistrust and sellers then start to think -

“If their slides suck, then imagine their services, or support, or whatever their value promise is supposed to be. This could hurt my deal, my livelihood. I’m never bringing the partner in again”.

That mistrust mind-creep can be like invisible barbed wire woven around each partner in the ecosystem. The more experienced the seller is in individual selling environments, the more gnarly their personal barbed wire will be.

How can partner enablement help with the barbed-wire dilemma?

Partner enablement can address this dilemma by starting with its core purpose: to foster trust.

This encompasses trust in products, services, processes, partners, support, best practices, resources, and systems.

It seems logical for partners to co-sell for mutual benefit, but without a trust-fostering partner enablement program, expecting inherent trust from sales teams is optimistic.

Trust in partner enablement has to be built in two ways.

Building trust in partner enablement requires a dual approach. First, teams must trust that the enablement efforts are guiding them towards success. This means providing consistent, relevant, up-to-date, and easily accessible content. However, it's crucial to remember that while an enablement content program supports the strategy, it is not the strategy itself. Without a solid or strategic foundation, enablement alone cannot resolve underlying issues.

Secondly, it involves educating sellers about the ecosystem. While partner professionals understand the benefits of ecosystems, sellers might not. A clear ecosystem mission statement can help sellers grasp the direction and benefits of the partner program, establishing their buy-in and trust in the ecosystem.

A partner enablement program grounded in these principles can help unravel the "barbed wire" limiting sellers from engaging fully with partner engagement. Such an approach not only enhances the ecosystem led growth (ELG) strategy but also strengthens the partnerships within the ecosystem, ensuring shared success.

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