In the the third stage of the partner journey, Decision, solution providers have narrowed down their options in products, technologies and/or vendors. Now it’s time to decide. How can you make them decide to pick you? Start by taking a closer look at the components of the decision.
In the second stage of the Partner Journey, Consideration, solution providers evaluate the products, technologies, brands and/or companies to meet their needs. The solution providers report they are considering 2.3 vendors (on average) against each other. That doesn’t seem like a lot! But remember, they’ve already reduced the number in consideration during the Awareness stage.
This isn't just a step in the dating process – it's the first stage in the Partner Journey. In this Awareness stage, solution providers are exploring new products, technologies or vendors. How do vendors wanting to recruit and engage new solution providers let them know their company, products and services exist and are relevant? The first step is to find a receptive audience. Don’t waste efforts on people who aren’t interested.
When we industry folks talk about the customer journey, you all know what we're talking about. It's a very popular topic. In fact, a quick google search returns 460,000,000 results including a definition from Forrester: "The customer journey spans a variety of touchpoints by which the customer moves from awareness to engagement and purchase. Successful brands focus on developing a seamless experience that ensures each touchpoint interconnects and contributes to the overall journey." But customers aren't your only customers. Partners who sell your products and services through the indirect channel are also your customers. They need to be approached with similar regard and on a similar journey.
Every year our State of Partnering survey* is inundated with mistakes vendors make as they are engaging a solution provider organization. Take a look at the mistakes partners submitted last year then look at the mistakes they submitted this year. Sadly, some themes come up over and over again.
There are so many moving parts in a channel program. How do you know if your partner program is performing well? Do you just look at sales? How do you know if your partners are successful with your products or their businesses? Do you ask them? Just like we collect data every year on the State of Partnering, you should be collecting data on your channel program. The trick is, figuring out what is the best data to collect. We surveyed vendors to see what they typically measure and we also asked partners what's important to them.
No matter the product or solution, all companies must perform marketing activities and so must their partners. How are vendors helping their partners create successful marketing campaigns and how do co-marketing activities function? The answers vary from company to company and year to year. Take a look at the trends emerging from 2017 and evaluate whether any changes to your partner marketing processes might be beneficial in 2018 and beyond.
All channel professionals care deeply about partner program elements. Perhaps you're one of the channel professionals who spend weeks, months and years designing and re-designing programs. You benchmark the industry, assess your programs against your competitors and plot enhancements and updates years in advance, aligning training and certification with co-marketing, deal registration, co-selling activities
metrics of success.
We've all heard this question thrown around in meetings, video calls and Slack chats. Whether you're discussing ROI, KPIs, MDF or G.O.A.T., folks always want to know how they compare to the other gal. The partnering world is no exception. Knowing what your channel competitors and compatriots are doing with their partner programs may help guide your own programs.
A Shortcut to the Top 6 Takeaways in the 2018 State of Partnering
The maturity of partner programs has changed greatly in the twelve years we’ve studied channel ecosystem trends. As an industry, we are far from perfect but continue to improve every year. We believe the survey, data collection, partner and vendor interviews and subsequent analysis represented in our annual State of Partnering is important to advancing the development of channels. Industry trends, challenges, best practices and benchmark data help prepare our clients for success with their channel ecosystems. The data in this report will help you perfect your partnering – elevating your partner engagement, sales and profitability.