Menu
Why channel data is a competitive differentiator

Why channel data is a competitive differentiator

Channel organisations must get into a cycle of automate, innovate and repeat

Jay McBain addressing the channel in Australia and New Zealand during EDGE 2017

Jay McBain addressing the channel in Australia and New Zealand during EDGE 2017

Credit: ARN / Reseller News

Brands that provide an enhanced partner experience grow faster than their peers, are more profitable, and drive higher customer satisfaction and retention downstream.

Smart channel professionals are looking at data across the partner journey as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition and accelerate faster in the market.

Our research found that the effective use of real-time channel data improves a vendor’s speed-to-market, provides actionable insights for making in-flight adjustments, develops a new level of location intelligence to better understand their customers, opens up data accessibility to reduce payment errors, and helps quantify the return on invested capital (ROIC) in the channel.

Partners are putting pressure on brands to deliver a better experience with focus on joint go-to-market planning, strategy, and program design.

They are looking for their specialisations to be recognised through enhanced segmentation and looking for more advanced enablement tools to assist with co-selling and co-marketing.

With the changing economics of how products are reaching the market and buyer preferences, partners are also looking for innovative incentives to keep them engaged with the vendor.

The organisation is also siloed, with our research revealing that only 43 per cent of channel marketers report into the marketing or sales department. It is critical that channel pros have a 360-degree view of partner data to make better decisions and streamline programs.

Without this single source of truth, brands are missing cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, spraying their marketing tactics, depleting resources on manual tasks, setting too wide of a berth on recruitment, and overpaying on partner programs.

The 360-degree view of channel data should include account data, profile data, skills and certification data, incentive data, sales enablement data, and through-channel marketing data, as well as other quantitative and qualitative data.

Many brands already have channel data functionality in their current tools that they are not utilising. Many channel software platforms offer flexible APIs and integrate well with other back-end systems to create a single source of truth.

Several channel software vendors now offer a horizontal approach to channel management that includes channel data management, financial management, inventory, configure-price-quote, through-channel marketing, partner relationship management, opportunity management, incentives, on-boarding, and enablement.

The benefits of moving to a modern platform include advanced and integrated functionality, step-function improvements in agility and flexibility, and often a consolidated operating model.

There are dozens of sources of channel data that can be consolidated from internal, external, and paid sources, although the availability cycles, sequencing, and data quality levels can provide challenges.

Managing a channel is much more complex (and expensive) if it isn’t data-driven. Channel account managers spend a large percentage of their time chasing data for partners and burning selling cycles on preparation for partner quarterly business reviews (QBRs).

Channel pros are struggling with managing lead passing and opportunity progression. In fact, 73 per cent of marketers consider managing partners a major challenge.

Having a data-driven channel organisation also has another benefit. Having more robust, decision-grade data will allow AI and workflow automation systems to operate more effectively.

In the next few years, we will see brands differentiate themselves by having machine-learning systems and bots be able to predict and prescribe actions in real time.

Credit: Forrester Research

We know that channel pros have a difficult time extracting themselves from their “day jobs.” With the average partner program having 90 components, combined with putting out fires on an hour-by-hour basis, an all-encompassing channel data strategy may fall to the bottom of the pile.

Channel organisations must get into a cycle of automate, innovate, repeat, using a better partner experience as the true north. The systemic use of data to understand, test, and optimise will drive the efficiency gains that the organisation needs to break out as a competitive differentiator.

For a deeper dive, check out our recent Forrester research report - Winning In The Channel Requires Data-Driven Program Innovation.

Jay McBain is principal analyst of global channels at Forrester, specialising in research and advisory for global channels, alliances, and partnerships.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Forrester Researchdata

Featured

Slideshows

Reseller News Innovation Awards 2019: meet the winners

Reseller News Innovation Awards 2019: meet the winners

Reseller News honoured the standout players of the New Zealand channel in front of more than 480 technology leaders in Auckland on 23 October, recognising the achievements of top partners, emerging entrants and innovative start-ups.

Reseller News Innovation Awards 2019: meet the winners
Malwarebytes shoots the breeze with channel, prospects

Malwarebytes shoots the breeze with channel, prospects

A Kumeu, Auckland, winery was the venue for a Malwarebytes event for partner and prospect MSPs - with some straight shooting on the side. The half-day getaway, which featured an archery competition, lunch and wine-tasting aimed at bringing Malwarebytes' local New Zealand and top and prospective MSP partners together to celebrate recent local successes, and discuss the current state of malware in New Zealand. This was also a unique opportunity for local MSPs to learn about how they can get the most out of Malwarebytes' MSP program and offering, as more Kiwi businesses are targeted by malware.

Malwarebytes shoots the breeze with channel, prospects
Show Comments