Customer Experience and Design

3 Secrets to Driving Partner Engagement (partnerDRIVEN Series: Part 1)

Got indirect sales channels? You’ve also got complex relationships and challenges – whether you’re in the manufacturing industry, wholesale trade, food service or agriculture.

Your customer’s buying journey isn’t a straight path. It involves a lot more time, consideration and investment than most purchases – which makes collaboration critical between your organization and your channel partners. But most B2B companies are struggling to get by with antiquated partner relationship management (PRM) solutions.

We’ll focus on five key components of PRM, including: program management, partner performance, partner marketing, market development funds (MDF) and partner lead management – as well as the right technology to make it all work together.

3 Ways to Increase Partner Engagement

In the age of the connected customer, these are three primary challenges and opportunities for organizations with indirect sales channels.

1. COLLABORATION:

Today’s customer demands require real-time collaboration between you and your partners.

The customer buying journey has changed the game. Your customers expect a seamless experience when they engage with your brand, your people or anyone in your partner channel. And that impacts how you market, sell and deliver your products and services – which is particularly complex with indirect sales channels.

The Digital Essentials, Part 3
The Digital Essentials, Part 3

Developing a robust digital strategy is both a challenge and an opportunity. Part 3 of the Digital Essentials series explores five of the essential technology-driven experiences customers expect, which you may be missing or not fully utilizing.

Get the Guide

Collaboration is two-way street for everything from sales opportunities to negotiating a floor plan swap to resolving a customer support issue.

So when evaluating your PRM solution, keep in mind that the foundation should be built around collaboration, mobility and streamlined business tools to make it a great experience for your (and your partner’s) customer.

2. ACCESSIBILITY:

Partners expect a personalized experience when working with your company. And they want it anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Not only are your customer’s demands putting extra pressure on your PRM strategy, even your most loyal partners are, too. Keep in mind that most partners have multiple portals and partner communities that they access on a daily basis to do their jobs.

Personalize the partner experience by understanding their roles and responsibilities. Based on their role, give them the support, information, tools and business processes they need – without the extra steps and hassle they don’t.

And remember, your partners spend a majority of their time on the road, in the lot and in front of customers. Be sure your solution is designed to be responsive for any device – and available in their hands when they need it.

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3. PARTNER EXPERIENCE:

Your partners need the information, tools and support to make their jobs easier and better serve customers.

Ease of doing business is the number one driver of partner loyalty. Your PRM solution will be the most valuable asset to your channel partners when they have access to the information, applications and collaborative tools they need in their day-to-day jobs.

That means your PRM strategy has to go beyond just a content repository with links to other websites and static sales material. Your partners expect business tools like lead management, MDF, marketing campaigns, CPQ and other resources. They also expect real-time access to data, dashboards and trends to help them make better business decisions.

Watch for Upcoming Blogs: Trends & Solutions

What’s next? Be on the lookout for future blogs as we break down each feature of partnerDRIVEN, our partner engagement solution. We’ll continue the conversation on key trends and techniques for program management, partner scorecards, partner marketing, MDF and partner lead management.

About the Author

Candid. Honest. Driven. Eric is an expert strategist for everything from startups to Fortune 500 companies, and it’s no surprise that he’s a hands-on guy who’s passionate about insights, problem-solving and all aspects of our client relationships.

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