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Relayware Partner Relationship Management

Are You Managing Your Channel Partners’ Experiences?

Posted on July 7, 2014 Chris Bucholtz

You might have heard the term “customer experience” used by someone in marketing, or in reference to your direct customers. Maybe your CEO said that creating a better customer experience is a priority, or perhaps your director of support motivates his team by saying that service is critical to creating a good customer experience.

And, if you work as a channel manager, maybe you don’t think that has anything to do with you. If you think that, you’re mistaken.

Your channel program is directly involved in shaping the customer experience of a very important audience: your partners.

Make no mistake: partners are customers. They have many of the same characteristics of traditional customers: their power in the buyer-seller relationship is increasing, they want the buying process to be easy, and they’re increasingly vocal about their feelings about the businesses they buy from thanks to social media. http://www.relayware.com/products/relayware-features/social/  They also, in many cases, have choices, dealing with competing vendors that sell similar products.

If you create a good customer experience for partners, you’re likely to command greater wallet share, inspire greater loyalty among your partners, and drive more revenue from each partner.

But many partner programscreate a negative experience. Using the portal is a hassle and pertinent content is hard to find. Training is badly organized and certifications and accreditations are issued sporadically. Support is hard to get or unavailable through automated resources, requiring a phone call to resolve problems. Visibility (in both directions) is poor and leaves partners guessing at what the vendor is up to.

Many of these are the result of manual management of the channel program. If they describe the conditions your program is creating for your partners, you can’t afford to maintain the status quo – because a competitor will create a better experience and take your wallet share away.

What you’re looking for is a “frictionless” experience for your partners – one that allows them to sell and support your products effectively and to get all the tools they need to do so easily and when they need them. Make the things partners are required to do – like on-boarding, training, co-marketing – simple and (dare I say) fun to execute. And when partners need direct support on the phone, make sure you have the tools yourself to handle their problems quickly.

This is the experience your partners want: one that puts revenues in their pockets as quickly and with as little effort as possible. 

 

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