As companies focus on customer-centricity, expectations from channel partners are changing across the life cycle, from awareness to post-sales service.
Traditional approaches of lead generation have been augmented using low-touch digital solutions, which provide customers with self-service capabilities, reducing their time and effort in finding the right solutions to meet their needs in their industry context. These enterprises are now looking for partners to deliver consultative expertise and personalized engagement to their customers to help them understand the solutions in their own context over and above the self-service solutions.
As customers are no longer looking for one-size-fits-all solutions, partners are expected to provide highly personalized, bundled solutions. This can be a complex request for partners who used to sell off-the-shelf products. In this scenario, partners should be upskilled to understand a customer’s changing requirements and products with greater insight. Such an enhancement will help them configure and provide first-time-right solutions. Technology companies must invest in training and performance programs to make the partners more conversant in the technologies, business models, products, and services.
Partners should also be equipped with necessary tools such as cognitive product selectors, guided selling capabilities such as ecommerce, configurators, upsell and cross-sell recommendations, intelligent pricing, tailored workflows, and more. Connecting these capabilities through automation enables straight-through processing, improving partner productivity, reducing deal cycle time, and improving overall partner experience in addition to enhancing customer experience.
To accelerate their innovation, partners must create and revamp their value-added services and post-sales support capabilities to align with the innovation cycles of technology enterprises. These will help partners differentiate themselves from others and improve customer stickiness. To illustrate, partners can curate and innovate personalized training programs on the solution packages offered by the technology enterprises. These programs can differentiate customer success in the face of competition.
Figure 2: Transformation of B2B partner roles