Consistently and accurately defining a successful partner experience is not clear.
A Blueprint for an Effective Partner Experience Program
Channel sales and marketing executives have different opinions on what constitutes an excellent partner experience. That’s why suppliers have a hard time finding the right approach to a partner relationship and accurately tracking for what’s working and what is not.
Why Is It Important to Monitor Your Partner Experience?
Many times, suppliers have a hard time maintaining their brand, messaging, and service when selling through partner channels. More effectively monitoring your channels and providing the necessary resources to your partners can provide a better partner experience that will ultimately lead to a better end-customer experience. There are four primary reasons why a well-maintained partner experience is important:
- Channel Importance – Indirect channels are becoming more and more necessary for a business’s sales strategy.In particular, B2B companies are using partner channels more often to drive revenue growth, further brand awareness, and differentiate themselves from other suppliers to gain partner mindshare.
- Channel Choice – With so many suppliers in the market, potential partners can be more selective about their partnerships. Therefore, it’s also much easier for a partner to move to a supplier’s competitor if they are no longer happy with the product or service. Offering an effective, easy-to-use partner experience goes beyond products and services to build a closer partner relationship.
- Focus on Customer Experience – Unfortunately when you are selling through a channel, the channel partner has more control over the final customer experience. Defining an effective partner experience program and offering more resources to partners can help influence partners to provide a better overall customer experience.
- Results – All in all, a successful partner experience drives sales, a higher, positive ROI, increases brand awareness, and offers many other financial benefits.
The Partner Experience Model
You can build your own partner experience model to assess the current state of partner experience, build a partner experience strategy, and manage partner experience on an ongoing basis. There are five key building blocks of the partner experience.
Five Essential Partner Experience Building Blocks:
- Product and Profitability – Of course the product and profitability potential is the most important factor when a partner is choosing a supplier. Partners will look closely at potential for sales, partner reliability and the difficulty of selling a product when they are considering a supplier.
- People and Alignment – Partner experience impacts several company functions and therefore must be a company-wide responsibility. Everyone in the organization must be aligned and empowered to meet both the partner’s and supplier’s needs.
- Programs and Tools – Partners need training, sales tools, and technical support to most effectively sell through their channel. A supplier must understand and provide everything a partner requires to easily and effectively reach - and ultimately sell - to a potential customer.
- Processes and Technology – A key to a successful partner experience is the ease of doing business. The optimization of workflow processes and implementation of effective technology can help partners find what they need, when they need it. This way, partners spend more time selling and less time fumbling around for resources.
- Promotion and Communications – Supplier communication with their partners has a large impact on the success of a partner’s experience. Partners will always look to make sure that messaging is compelling, accurate, timely, and specific to their needs. Additionally, this content and information must be easy to access when a partner needs it.
Benefits of The Partner Experience Maturity Model
- Creating a Shared Vision – This model can help align an organization regarding their partner experience program. It will boost awareness of the current partner experience strategy, what is necessary to help the experience mature, and build a united, common vision for what the organization’s future will look like.
- Identifying Areas of Improvement – The model will identify any weaknesses and strengths with your partner experience. This helps to address any areas of improvement for your organization. You are then able to assess which activities and behaviors are necessary to reach higher partner experience maturity levels.
- Uncovering Previously Overlooked Areas – You’ll be able to notice any overlooked or under-utilized opportunities when following the model. This way you can develop further systems or improve other capabilities to drive improved partner results.
- Providing Objective Comparisons/Benchmarks – The model provides benchmarks and acts as a tool of comparison to partner experience best practices. This will help you stay on track while you work toward your most effective partner experience possible.