The Latest in Channel Enablement: Insights from Jay McBain at BthruB 2019

by: Luke Kreitner November 4, 2019

Last month, we had the pleasure of having Jay McBain as the keynote speaker at our BthruB 2019 Leadership Summit. Jay McBain, the Principal Analyst for Channels & Partnerships at Forrester Research, is known for being one of the most influential figures in B2B sales strategy and analysis today. His presentation on channel enablement in the modern sales channel definitely lived up to the hype!

Over the course of his presentation, Jay McBain spoke to the following points:

  • Emerging trends in channel sales.
  • The effects of changing buyer personas.
  • The effects of digitalization and XaaS on channel sales.
  • Leveraging the right data for channel enablement.
  • Identifying and incentivizing key influencers.

Despite covering a lot of ground, Jay McBain has a unique ability to tie threads together to tell a cohesive story, adding compelling insights and anecdotes at every turn. But what really stood out to me is that McBain is able to back up all his claims with numbers.

Channel Enablement Insights from Jay McBain

If you get the chance, we strongly encourage you to book Jay McBain for your next B2B conference. Today, we’ll be sharing just a few of his insights on channel enablement from BthruB 2019.

  • 75% of all world trade (or $80 trillion) flows through a channel.
  • Investments in the channel have a higher ROI than investments in direct sales.
  • Today, we’re in the “Third Stage of Sales & Marketing: Channel Enablement.” McBain predicts, that of the 106 companies in the sales channel enablement industry, five or so winners will emerge.
  • In five years, 75% of all channels will be millennial. It’s up to businesses to adapt to changing demographics and buyer preferences and to provide training and enablement to channel partners, so that they’re equipped to match the new buyer’s journey.
  • With emergent technologies and digitalization, access to data is a competitive differentiator. Supplying your partners with relevant data that enables their success, and incentivizing them to share their data with you, is an increasingly important part of channel partnerships.
  • The modern buyer’s journey requires a higher degree of personalization. This means that vendors have to not only collect the right data, but to be able to act on it. Integration and accessibility is key.
  • The rise of XaaS and the “gig economy” has led to the commoditization of suppliers. Specialization, personalized value-adds, and meaningful sales enablement are the foundation of modern channel partnerships.
  • In the modern buyer’s journey, buyers have more control than ever over who and where they get their information from. It’s up to vendors to identify points of influence within their channel and find ways to incentivize them to influence end-consumers.

What This Means Today

Listening to Jay McBain speak, it becomes clear that, technologically, the future of channel sales is already here. Just because many manufacturers and distributors aren’t utilizing that technology doesn’t mean they aren’t subject to its effects.

The time is now to start investing in your channel, providing enablement to your channel partners, and collecting the data you need to win in the modern channel.


About Luke Kreitner

Luke Kreitner is the VP of Sales at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that specializes in helping B2B businesses accelerate growth, increase sales, motivate channel partners and retain B2B customers.