At your national sales meeting two years ago, your channel partners started bringing up the topic of mobility with you.

Last year, they showed you an example of a competitor’s sales enablement app.

This year, they cornered you at the opening night dinner and asked how long until we get ours?!

You know how important it is to support your channel partners and keep them happy.

So you ask yourself, “Just how much do channel partner sales enablement apps cost?”

The short answer simply is it depends.

Think of a channel partner sales enablement app like a boat.

Remember the famous boat scene from the movie Caddyshack? (Here’s the video link)

Do you want people to notice you in a boat like Judge Smails’ skipjack, or Al Czervik’s sporty double decker party boat?

Sometimes all you need is a skipjack to cruise the lake, but you decide to go big like Al Czervik because… well, it’s totally cool (and it has that awesome horn)!

There has to be balance between what your channel partners need and what it will take for their customers to notice your products.

So, when it comes to giving a sales enablement app to your channel partners—consider what you’re willing to bet on your corporate image. You may think your dealers need a pontoon overflowing with everything you can throw at them, but they will probably want to hit the water in something that makes them look awesome.

That’s because they will be using this app:

  • Every time they meet with their customers
  • Every time they go to trade shows
  • Every time they go to a site for service 

We see manufacturers very confused when it comes to deploying apps that can reach their channel partners, which results in paralysis back into the status quo of mailing catalogs and boxes of brochures.

You’re still mailing print materials right now…aren’t you?

To help you avoid this paralysis, let’s look at some key variables that affect the cost of every sales enablement app and some that are specific to channel partners:

  • The number of dealer reps (100 reps or 10,000 reps?)
  • The sophistication of the manufacturers product mix (1000’s of SKUs or a handful of large complex machines?)
  • The image the app portrays (Whether the sales enablement app needs to have your branding and corporate image or your dealers demand their own branding)
  • The manufacturers’ connection with channel reps (Can you talk to them directly or is there a barrier?)
  • The amount of effort the manufacturer has to put in update digital sales collateral in the app (PDFs, videos, PowerPoint product presentations, etc.)
  • OS upgrades (Think about your smart phone. Often you must update its operating systems. Same goes for sales enablement apps.)
  • Feature upgrades and additions. Inevitably, your channel partners will ask for new and different features. Those features (and what it takes to code them) will surely drive the cost up.

So, the first key is to understand what your channel partners need and will allow.

Then, take that set of parameters to determine the best sales enablement app to match those needs.

After you have that information, we can tell you exactly how much an sales enablement app costs to support them.

Let’s look at some potential options for channel partner apps and some ballpark costs. Think back to the skipjack vs. the party boat.

Simple Web-Based File Sharing App

 Designed for manufacturers just getting started. If you want to test out a sales enablement app with a few channel reps, this is your ticket.

These web-based file sharing apps are limited by their inability to access files without Internet connection.

Examples might include Dropbox, Box, your web-based file sharing system and the manufacturer’s website.

Pricing – It can range from free to $5,000 per year, depending on need. Don’t forget your cost associated with supporting the updating of materials, though.

Positives – Inexpensive, fast to try, common apps and websites are familiar to dealers already.

Negatives – Manufacturers’ files are unavailable without Internet, no branding, no tracking to see who’s using it, and no warm fuzzy feeling from dealers that you bought them a cool new tool.

Complex Sales Enablement Apps

 Designed as fully functioning sales tools. Complex apps are fully equipped for manufacturers with world-wide dealer networks that may range from 100’s to 1000’s.

These apps are large, scalable, and flexible to support different sales channels and multiple languages.

Everything is branded, private and secure to meet high corporate standards.

Pricing – $10,000 to $100,000 per year depending on all the bells and whistles.

Positives – Everything is available offline, without the need to Internet access. These apps make updating products and materials simple, and help make the manufacturer look technologically ahead of the curve.

Service and support are present to help manufacturers distribute materials and the app. They can be branded for both channel partners and/or the manufacturer. Made to handle both 1000’s of SKUs and complex file types. Can be deployed via MDM or in the AppStore.

Negatives – Well, pricing and costs.

So, what do channel partner sales enablement apps cost?

The answer is it depends on which “boat” is the best fit for your dealer team.