Personalize the Partner Experience
- Explain the value of creating a seamless partner experience.
- Describe how personalization and convenience wins partner mindshare.
Just as customers are drawn to companies that deliver great experiences, partners are attracted to companies that curate great working relationships. Forrester notes that ease of use is the number one indicator of partner success. Thus, a successful channel sales strategy hinges on a company’s ability to make it fast and easy for partners to find the information they need to market, sell, and service.
Employees and partners alike demand convenience due in part to the growing millennial workforce. Because this generation grew up with the evolution of the Internet, they expect easy, B2C-like experiences in virtually everything they do, including B2B interactions.
By 2024, 75% of the channel will be composed of millennials (CompTIA 2016 Channel Survey).
When you create a seamless experience for partners, you improve the end-customer experience by eliminating the friction that prevents partners from meeting the needs of the end customer.
Remember, partners have choices on who they want to work with. They’re not going to just look for vendors that have compelling solutions—they want business partners who can help them build long-term relationships with customers. This means partners will gravitate toward vendors who make working with the end customer the easiest.
Unfortunately, most businesses treat partners as a second-class salesforce. The channel is usually the last area businesses think about investing in technology because for most, the channel is a black box. It's hard for businesses to justify investing in a group they have little control over. At best, a business will deploy as a means to bring in revenue with minimal investment.
While 47% of vendors think their portals are effective, only 34% of channel partners agree.
Partners don’t want to comb through disorganized information to find the right resources. What they need is quick access to tools, data, and content to help create a valuable experience for your customer. Partners need all of this in a single location because you are not the only company they’re working with. Accessing and using this information must be convenient, intuitive, and personalized.
That is why personalization is key. Smart businesses think of partners like customers and use partner profiling data to drive each user’s experience inside a partner portal.
For example, most businesses have partnerships arranged in region, program, and tier. Inside each partnership are users who have different roles like sales, service, or delivery. Rather than overwhelm partners by putting everything on the homepage, a business can tap into partner profiling and user data to present only the information relevant for each user. So a sales role sees information on deal registration, while a delivery expert sees technical documentation and training on their respective homepages. This idea of audience targeting is being adopted by many Fortune 500 companies as a means to remove friction from partner sales and differentiate their partner programs.
AI can also be used to make recommendations for partners on how to grow their business based on trends in the channel. For example, partners may have trouble identifying the right piece of content to send to customer that can help progress a deal. AI can help businesses identify when content is being consumed in a deal cycle across the channel, and then recommend that content in similar situations.
Personalized experiences should be available on every device because partners are essentially an extension of your field sales teams. Partners are often on-site with customers and need access to the information in your portal on the go. Mobile optimization is key since the average user spends 3.5 hours every day on their smartphones, about 1.5 hours of which are related to their jobs.
Cloud-based PRM (Partner Relationship Management) software is a good investment to help meet these emerging demands from the channel. Businesses can make sales and marketing collateral, product documentation, and online training accessible in the same
place that partners manage opportunities and register new deals. PRM (Partner Relationship Management) software stores partner profiling data, which then can be used to customize the content, workflows, and experience based on their personal activity,
goals, and needs.
If businesses can make working in their channel simple and engaging, partners can focus on what they do best: sell.