So, we're going to talk about optimizing partner engagement right now and then specifically get into why it's more critical than ever.
It would be accurate to say that 2020's global market disruption is impacting nearly every aspect of the global economy and prompting channel-reliant technology brands to reassess their partner engagement strategy and focus on accelerating digital transformation. We all understand that digital transformation has accelerated with the pandemic. And this is impacting every level of channel relationships, especially the smaller SMB partners, who are really struggling with COVID-related issues and challenges.
One challenge is that the new digital buyer is demanding a whole new level of specialization and sophistication from these partners. And, brands are going to need a new way of engaging partners if they want to be successful at creating demand. Digital engagement is critical today to support your channel partners who are experiencing economic disruption in diverse ways.
If you think about your partners today, they need to understand how the remote buyer’s journey looks and how they are going to meet that specific buyer’s information requirements. From positioning an offering, by recognizing demand type, to introducing an ROI calculator at the right stage of that buyer’s journey offers a new level of specialization and sophistication that has made it very difficult for channel leaders to find and recruit the right partners. Most of those channel leaders have been going through transformation on their channel ecosystem, this has just accelerated it.
In addition to that, on the partner side, the digital transfer acceleration of the digital transformation has created a misalignment of the partner sales process with the new digitally connected buyer.
Digital engagement has gone from a “nice to have” at the beginning of the year, to a “must have” today. Think about it: this transformation has really shifted the partner brand’s relationship, making it clear that brands need to engage partners in their teams as individuals. And, trying to engage partners and their teams as individuals is complicating a brand's effort to simplify and deliver the ease to do business with partner experience. So, brands need to engage partners today and their teams as individuals.
These brands are going to need to think about engagement and engagement strategies, and most of all, the human experience. Think about it: your partners today expect to engage with you just like they do with online retailers or social apps. They're looking for similar features like dashboards reviews and shopping carts. And you need to be able to deliver if you're really going to engage partners in these trying times.
So, how did we get here? Ten years ago, we were doing one-size-fits-all. Then, we added program tiering (or segmenting), not just a one-size-fits-all. And then in the last five years, we got more granular. We created segments by geography and go-to-market, and partner persona. Today, it's really about true one-to-one digital personalization.
One-to-one personalization is going to be needed along the partner journey. Those of you who follow SiriusDecisions probably know and recognize that SiriusDecisions has written extensively about that partner journey and how important it is to really understand what partners go through when evaluating which vendors or brands they're going to be doing business with. And more importantly, which brands are going to be strategic to that partner.
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