We are experiencing a perfect storm in the partner ecosystem of many technology vendors.
First the shift from traditional reselling to recurring revenue and subscription-based consumption models is refocusing partner profitability and success on customer success and lifetime value. Have vendors made that shift with their partners?
Secondly, purchase power in partners’ customer targets is seeping out from IT-centric to a partnership between IT and key line of business executives. In the State of Partnering Report 2016, 25% of partner respondents indicated that more than half of their revenues were coming from line of business executives. This changes the focus for many partners from downstream technical certification in configuration and installation to a front-end customer success lifecycle focus on positioning differentiation, selling to line of business decision makers, and effective pre-sales discovery 1. Have vendors shifted the focus of their partner enablement to support this?
Finally, partner success is dependent on individualized partner initiatives as opposed to large homogenous partner programs. Also critical is to support the partner with individualized enablement and experience. Have vendors personalized their partner enablement and support?
This transformation demands that the Partner Account Managers become Partner Experience Managers, focusing on what will make their partners successful in their target growth markets, with their individual customers, and in each individual deal. For instance as a partner is working their business plan, curation of the right information, content and contacts on demand is critical. Same on specific deals and promotions – being able to collaborate in that context on demand is essential to making partners successful.
But is this “high experience” approach consistent with the “no touch, high velocity” programs many vendors are pursuing. With a static web portal, it would be impossible as it would put untenable pressure on the Partner Experience Manager to create and maintain a unique portal presence for each partner and user role. Not something traditional web-based properties are known for.
But what if the Partner Experience Manager could rely on a dynamic and intelligent system that collaboratively worked with the partner to deliver the specific training, sales materials, campaigns and leads that aligned with their business model, go-to-market approach and customer segments? Instead of a static web portal, what’s needed is experience-as-a-service delivery matching the user (aligned with their location and language), the individual partner or partner segment, and the task. For example, the partner cloud consultant would provide information on their customer opportunity and automatically recommended content and supporting applications would be served in the context of the opportunity to help them sell and close the opportunity. And this would happen with no touch from the vendor, but the partner would feel “always touched”.
This perfect storm transformation is driving a wholesale shift in delivering a productive and high ROI partner experience - delivered dynamically and intelligently as a service, not statically as an interface. Do you have an experience-as-a-service platform driving your partner relationship or just a web site?
1 10 Trends for a 2020 Vision | State of Partnering | Partner-Path.com