The Channel Effect: Partner Perspectives

Date

October 15, 2021

Author

Courtney Acuff

VP, Solution Lead, Channel Program Design & Data Services

As a Solution Lead in the Ansira Channel business unit, Courtney is focused on designing and developing partner programs for today, and tomorrow, while also leveraging the data and insights from hundreds of partner programs across automotive, technology, retail, insurance, and QSR verticals for client-specific decisioning and aggregate program trends.

The following information was sourced from Ansira’s The Channel Effect virtual event. For more session thought leadership, check out TheChannelEffect.com.

Without direct consumer interaction, a powerful, large scale go-to-market strategy could miss the mark and yield mediocre results. Messaging that drives customers to points of sales is not always the same messaging needed to help make sales. Frustration can happen when partners must allocate resources to promoting agendas that do not help on a local level or 1-to-1 customer level. Partners are not just outlets for products, they offer a window into the needs of the consumers and end-customers.

Partners are People

Having a unifying brand identity is crucial to a company’s successful roll out of any marketing campaign. Partners desire this consistency because it prevents the spread of contradicting information, but there is also a need for individualized messaging to support their success. Taking away a partner’s ability to position themselves in their local market makes it difficult to serve clients as they know best.

Partner Perspective
Partners are so much more than brand ambassadors. Every day, partners are seeing what truly drives customers to make a purchase or renew an existing license. These ground-level conversations are filled with nuanced interactions that develop rapport with customers and allow partners to convey information that leads to more conversions. With such crucial insight, partners want to engage with the enterprise to give feedback on go-to-market programs and opportunities.

Partner Concerns
Getting partners to engage with programs and offerings can be difficult if the partner does not have the opportunity to give feedback. Partners want to help shape programs with their firsthand knowledge of the customer’s needs. Here are some concerns partners have shared surrounding how they engage with and participate in channel partner marketing programs.

  • Lack of Resources: Promoting a nationwide brand while also doing marketing for their individual branch is taxing. Many smaller partners just do not have the resources to do both.
  • Not Enough Insight: Partners are not always given information as to how other partners or even the company is directly engaging and selling to customers.
  • Lack of Flexibility: Partners need to differentiate themselves from the pack just as much as the enterprise brand does. Enabling partners to better serve their customers’ needs through clear incentive constructs helps to reward both monetary gains and behavioral gains (think certifications or training).
  • Incompatible Offerings: Some brand-wide programs might interfere with or even contradict a partner’s current customer engagement strategies.

Listening on Offense

As a company grows and their number of partners increases, it is inevitable that each one of these partners will have unique needs depending on location and local competition, demographics, etc. The best way to mitigate any issues is to listen, integrate partner feedback, and offer solutions. Here are a few ways to help partners succeed when rolling out new programs.

  • Division of Messaging: Partners need brands to do the heavy lifting in promoting nationwide marketing strategies. This will allow partners the room in their budgets and time to get important, localized, and implementation-specific messages across to their end consumer.
  • Allocate Resources: Partners need to be given resources so they can develop their own customer engagement strategies and go-to-market efforts. This enables partners to maintain customer relationships through the total sales motion and beyond when considering consumption and subscription revenue models.
  • Host “Livingroom” Events:
    Satisfaction surveys are a skewed and out-of-touch measurement; focus instead on the partner experience. Think about it in the context of a journey. Aim to really understand dissatisfaction with a program by learning more about a partner’s “care abouts” and their sales motion. Consider creating a more casual, living room type conversation that complements a formal advisory board or roundtable – meet the partner at their own level to really understand their day-to-day.

With daily interactions with customers in targeted regions and verticals, partners provide insight that is almost impossible to gather otherwise. Listening to and trusting partners’ feedback is an easy way to increase the success of any program.

Learn more ways to improve partnership relations and build a better future for your enterprise brand and distributed partner ecosystem.

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