The Buyer And Partner Journeys: The Impacts to the Channel and Channel Marketing

February 17, 2016 Claudio Ayub

The Buyer and Partner Journeys

Today’s buyers control their journey through the buying cycle much more than today’s vendors control the selling cycle. The evolution of the buyer’s journey is leading to enormous changes in the channel and the channel marketing support that vendors provide. The digitally connected customer is driving a whole range of behavioral changes between vendors, partners and end-customers, especially when dealing with how end-customers obtain information and purchase products.

Engaging throughout the customer’s buying cycle requires a completely different mindset, as buyers now expect B2B suppliers to be at the right (digital or physical) place, at the right time. Buyers of business products and services are online, in social channels, on YouTube, going to virtual events and evaluating options on their iPads and smartphones. For many product categories, buyers now put off talking with salespeople until they are ready for price quotes. According to Forrester, today’s buyers are 74% of the way through their journey before they reach out to the partner or vendor.  

Without debate, the business-from-business buyer (the end customer) is already much more multichannel than the business-to-business sellers (your partners). Understanding your buyer’s journey and teaching partners how to engage buyers by aligning their sales cycle to the buyer's journey is vital to the success of your partner in this digitally-connected customer environment.   

In 2016 channel marketers must keep the buyer's journey and partner sale cycle in mind when designing and structuring their incentive programs, as properly applied incentives will ensure partner's sales team modify their behavior towards understanding and aligning to the new buyer's journey.

“In our research and consulting on customer journeys, we’ve found that organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards."

-Harvard Business Review

Helping partners modify their sales process around the buyer's journey will improve the alignment between sellers and buyers while providing insight into opportunity flow and pipeline velocity. Keep in mind that there are three common distinct buyer journey models, and that each stage of the sales process includes four attributes – buyer inflection points, observable outcomes, sales assets and sales activities.

How are you addressing issues surrounding the changing buyer's journey?  

Let us know!

About the Author

Claudio Ayub

Chief Strategy Officer Claudio Ayub brings over 20 years of global channel marketing experience to Perks.He has executed major go-to-market programs for a variety of vendors, including Bing, Cisco, Dell, EMC, IBM, Kaspersky, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Seagate, Symantec, and VMware among others.

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