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Improving Business Through Sales Teams, Partners, & Customers: Engaging Your Extended Enterprise


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extended enterprise learning, training software for channel training, customer training, distributor training, reseller training, partner training, remote learning, sales enablement

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Improving Business Through Sales Teams, Partners, & Customers: Engaging Your Extended Enterprise

  1. 1. Executive Guide Improving Business Performance through Sales Teams, Partners, and Customers Engaging Your Extended Enterprise A SumTotal Executive Guide Organizations today face multiple challenges to sustain and grow their bottom line, and they engage multiple audiences to achieve success including customers, 25% partners, suppliers, channel and distribution networks, independent agents, and others. These diverse groups of constituents who have an impact on your organization’s success are known as your Extended Enterprise. Likely, your organization is involved in activities to derive the greatest value from these groups including: Annual growth rate of companies • Strengthening sales skills and tool sets to increase sales effectiveness delivering knowledge, • Cross-selling and up-selling to customers to grow your existing share of wallet information & training to an audience • Focusing on customer satisfaction and retention to protect the revenue stream beyond employees. • Improving customer service by finding new ways to sell, generating greater knowledge of the customer and adding value to current offerings to reduce churn Source: Bersin & Associates • Finding new customers to capture new revenue • Generating additional revenue streams via precisely targeted marketing and heightened brand awareness • Evaluating supplier agreements and processes to minimize costs • Enabling Channel and Distribution networks with tool sets and knowledge to drive more sales Improving Business Performance But exactly how are these objectives to be attained in a cost effective manner? The answer lies in the concept of the Extended Enterprise. SumTotal’s Extended Enterprise platform is ideal for companies that are to some degree dependent on external audiences to promote and sell their products. Industries including insurance, real estate, financial services, durable goods manufacturing, 1
  2. 2. Improving Business Performance through Sales Teams,Partners, and Customers technology, communications, or any field relying on the channel or independent reps/dealerships can all benefit markedly from the Extended Enterprise. Firms operating in such sectors can harness Extended Enterprise to: 1. Boost agility to prepare for and react to rapidly changing market conditions 2. Improve business performance and productivity to impact the top and bottom line 3. Increase customer retention and acquisition to maximize revenue 4. Protect, reinforce, differentiate, and promote brand image to attract and acquire customers The concept of the Extended Enterprise encompasses the extension of a cor- poration outward beyond traditional bounds. It can stretch out into many differ- ent business or performance spheres. This might include customers, partners, suppliers, channel and distributor networks, franchisees, association members, independent agents, contractors or volunteers. Various combinations of these external audiences form part of any company’s Extended Enterprise. Obviously, some organizations are more dependent upon a healthy Extended The concept of the Enterprise than others. An insurance firm that is reliant on a large group of Extended Enterprise independent agents is a good example. Similarly, a member-based organization’s encompasses the livelihood is directly tied to groups existing external to the corporation. extension of a corporation outward The same goes for a durable goods manufacturer that distributes products to a beyond traditional variety of retail outlets. Its sales are carried out by salespeople who don’t directly bounds. work for the company, and who have the option of selecting competitive products if they choose. Those firms that best understand the concept of the Extended Enterprise are most likely to survive and expand in a chaotic economy. The purpose of SumTotal’s Extended Enterprise training platform, then, is to bring about the efficient delivery of knowledge for the strategic purpose of transforming business performance. This can perhaps best be explained by looking at what typically happens with educational programs aimed at suppliers, distributor networks and independent agents: Organizations send out material in the form of mailings, emails, PDFs or links to webcasts in order to brief external audiences on their products. This approach can be supplemented by visits to train these individuals in a classroom setting. However, they are also inundated by collateral about competitive offerings. In such an environment, even the most finely crafted training campaign is likely to struggle. What the Extended Enterprise is all about, therefore, is achieving success with such programs. It cuts through the noise to effectively capture the hearts and minds of external audiences. Result: training initiatives are turned into profit centers. Extended Enterprise solutions are embraced by some of the biggest names in technology, telecommunications, engineering and sales. In addition, a host of small and emerging businesses utilize the Extended Enterprise to stretch 2
  3. 3. Improving Business Performance through Sales Teams,Partners, and Customers sphere of influence beyond traditional corporate boundaries. Let’s look at some of the ways that the efficient delivery of knowledge can transform business performance. Boost Agility in Rapidly Changing Market Conditions In many industries, speed to market is a major success component. Particularly in industries such as computer hardware, software, durable goods and telecommunications, rapid development of products is rarely enough. It takes velocity and agility on the marketing side to ensure results. Take the example of a software release. In many cases, multiple vendors come to market at the same time with their latest offerings. Extended Enterprise training can help differentiate products by educating channel partners and resellers about a new release more effectively than those of competitors. The speed with which that knowledge gets out can make or break a new product release effort. This doesn’t mean that formal training has to be absent from the process. Distribution Extended Enterprise of a webcast, PDF or PowerPoint in conjunction with accurate tracking of training can participants can move your product to top of mind in the target audience. help differentiate Another way to become more nimble in a rapidly changing marketplace is in the products by area of centralized training. Many companies require external sales personnel to educating channel be out of the office for one week every year for an update on products, pricing partners and resellers about a new release and policy. This represents a hefty annual expense for all concerned when you more effectively than take airfares, hotels, food and lost productivity into account. What if that week those of competitors. could be either eliminated entirely or reduced to only two days, with the rest of the training done online? An Extended Enterprise solution can facilitate these needs. Improve Business Performance and Productivity There are many ways the Extended Enterprise concept can boost business performance. In addition to helping organizations increase top-line revenue from more productive channels, it can also reduce the cost to sell to and service customers and channels. Incentives can be offered to sales reps to complete certain educational requirements concerning your products. End users can rapidly get up to speed about technical products so they feel comfortable they are making the right decision. By training retail store personnel about how to use your goods properly, the level of product returns can be markedly reduced. Further, such training programs can become a valuable revenue stream. Companies with large affiliate programs, membership bases or external sales teams can charge fees for training and certification. At the very least, this can defray the cost of delivery. Such initiatives must be rapid and effective, which is where the Extended Enterprise solution comes into its own. Courses are fast, dynamic and to the point. Additionally, the SumTotal Extended Enterprise system automatically tracks usage, making it easy to see how many users have completed training, how many are incomplete and who has yet to begin. This data can then be correlated with sales figures to determine the effectiveness of training. For a small investment in training, sales can be increased 3
  4. 4. Improving Business Performance through Sales Teams,Partners, and Customers Increase Customer Retention & Acquisition Sales managers don’t typically think of training as a key element to address when leads are not being followed up. Yet Extended Enterprise training programs can markedly increase responsiveness to the valuable leads generated through corporate channels. How? Vice presidents and managers often know what needs to change behaviorally to improve sales performance. Short targeted offerings can be developed to encourage the right attitudes and habits about sales leads. Another benefit is a reduction in the amount of time spent in training by focusing Extended Enterprise only on those areas that will have a positive impact on sales, as directed by the training programs can line of business managers. The key to success with a sales force is to minimize markedly increase the training by specifically tailoring their education towards driving behaviors with responsiveness to known positive outcomes. the valuable leads generated through In a financial services organization, for example, Extended Enterprise training corporate channels. puts the company’s message and value proposition front and center. While brokers may have dozens of packages to choose from, the addition of the right training element as a value add for the broker or potential customers can be a driving factor in decision making. By aligning a simple training item to a sales or business goal, customer retention and acquisition can be boosted. Protect, Reinforce, Differentiate and Promote Brand Image The Extended Enterprise solution can exert a major impact with regard to brand awareness and loyalty by helping organizations to enhance information sharing with external audiences. By making it easy for distributors to become better educated, they sell more of your products and fewer of your competitors. By targeting sales personnel in a retail chain, it is possible to provide an incentive to take a short online training course to become better informed about specific products. By aligning training programs to a distinct business purpose such as the improvement of sales, a small investment can pay substantial dividends. And in a world where a multitude of brands are vying for attention, a professionally produced training program is an excellent way to reinforce brand recognition. When implemented correctly, it cleverly differentiates a brand in the eyes of external audiences. Extending Your Enterprise Delivering training to an audience beyond traditional employees is one of the fastest growing segments of the learning industry. According to Bersin & Associates, this type of education is increasing at an annual pace greater than 25%. This level of growth is occurring due to the business and economic benefits that can be realized by professionally delivered training. SumTotal’s Extended Enterprise solutions can help you: • Develop and deliver training to audiences outside your organization • Drive revenue through customer, channel and distributor channels • Improve productivity and information sharing with external partners • Deliver certification programs and share 4
  5. 5. Improving Business Performance through Sales Teams, Partners, and Customers • Eliminate excess training costs while accelerating time-to-market • Increase customer satisfaction and product adoption • Provide consistent training available 24x7x365 Such training can easily be developed and delivered on-demand in a timely manner to customers, partners and resellers with no hardware to install. A Software as a Service model only requires users to have Internet access to complete their training, allowing maximum return on training investment by providing a functional, flexible and scalable solution. More Information For more information on the Extended Enterprise solution: For additional information, send an email to About SumTotal SumTotal Systems, Inc. is the global leader in complete learning and talent management software that enables organizations to more effectively drive business strategy and growth. Recognized by industry analysts as the most comprehensive solution, SumTotal provides full employee lifecycle management, including a core system of record, from a single provider for improved business intelligence. The company offers customers of all sizes and in all industries the most flexibility and choice with multiple purchase, configuration, and deployment options. We have increased the performance of the world’s largest organizations including Sony Electronics (NYSE: SNE), AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN [ADR]; London: AZN), Amway, GKN (London: GKN), and Seagate (NYSE: STX). For more information, or to request a demo, please call +1 (866) 768-6825 (US / Canada), +1 (352) 264-2800 (international) or visit Corporate Headquarters EMEA APACSumTotal Systems, Inc. SumTotal Systems, UK SumTotal Systems India Pvt. Ltd. © 2011 SumTotal Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. SumTotal, and the SumTotal2850 NW 43rd Street 59-60 Thames Street 7th Floor Maximus Towers logo, are registered trademarks or trademarks of SumTotal Systems, Inc. and/orSuite #200 Windsor, Berkshire Building 2B, Mind Space its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. Other names may beGainesville, FL 32606 USA United Kingdom, SL4 1TX Raheja IT Park, Cyberabad trademarks of their respective owners. 11_0325LSPhone: +1 352 264 2800 Phone: +44 (0) 1753 211 900 Hyderabad, AP-500081, IndiaFax: +1 352 264 2801 Fax: +44 (0) 1753 211 901 Phone: +91 (0) 40 6695 0000 Fax: +91 (0) 40 2311 5