In part I of this two-part series, we discussed what channel partner experience (PX) is and what benefits your business could receive from investing in it. After ample time to consider what PX is and what its benefits might mean to your organization, we think it’s time to shake things up.
The challenges you face in channel partner experience
Differing needs & expectations. It’s rare that any two partners are the same—what makes a positive partner experience for one does not necessarily make a positive PX for another. Determining how you deliver an excellent experience for partners with different needs and expectations efficiently and at scale often prevents channel marketers from achieving a consistently positive PX.
Difficult tracking & management. Channel networks, by definition, are comprised of several partner businesses widely distributed geographically. Distance significantly increases the difficulty of gaining engagement visibility and maintaining control over their experiences. Unsupervised and unmanaged, negative interactions go unaddressed and begin to amass into a wholly negative experience.
Shifting focus from product to partner. Because the purpose of a channel partner—or distributed marketing—program is the break into new markets (and increase sales, of course), channel marketers often become fixated on their product. Without shifting that focus from product to partner, PX falls to the wayside and the relationship fails to grow, becoming stuck in a transactional state.
Partner participation & adoption. It’s difficult to improve a partnership you don’t have any visibility of, but even more so when there’s no participation to see. You can offer incentive programs and support technology, but the task of getting partners to buy into those programs and leverage the platforms is an initial hurdle that presents a challenge for any channel marketer.
How to develop an effective PX strategy
Partner experience is all about making life as your partner as easy and enjoyable as possible, so that the business relationship can develop further and produce better benefits over time. Being aware of the challenges you face is the first step to any effective strategy. It allows you to prepare and resolve issues before they can cause any true damage to the partnership.
The next few steps will set the stage for a positive experience and a successful partnership. First you should seek input from current or potential partners. They’re the audience you’re trying to reach, so they’ll know best what causes them friction and frustration. In addition to gathering accurate, actionable insight, this step also conveys to partners that you’re serious about solving their problems and firmly establishing communication with them.
Following that step, the best way to gain and maintain control of the partner experience is to implement the right tools. The software and platforms you provide should give partners the power to find and customize branded marketing materials and share insight and feedback on programs and campaigns. These tools should also give you the power to offer partner incentives—whether through Co-op funds or rewards programs—and monitor partner activity.
Despite the challenges that come with orchestrating the partner experience, you can deliver what partners need to grow and develop their partnership with you as long as you have the right insight and tools to facilitate the relationship.
If you’re interested in a single platform that can offer you all of the functionality to necessary to achieve these steps, contact Triptych today.