In most developed economies, the term ‘digital native’ is already beginning to sound a little old-fashioned. The vast majority of people in these markets are already very comfortable with digital access to products and services across almost every aspect of modern life.
Customers increasingly expect the companies they do business with to offer compelling digital experiences, highly personalized products and services, and a relationship based less on a rigid ‘ownership’ model and more on fluid, subscription/consumption-based access, as a recent report from the World Economic Forum sets out.
While the global pandemic has accelerated the trend to digital-based campaign execution and relationship building in B2B, in technology channels there are wide variations in channel partners’ ability to meet these rapidly-evolving needs – especially when dealing with a network of potentially thousands of partners.
Digital partner marketing success is not just about being tech-savvy: having the right people in place to orchestrate an increasingly complex channel marketing ecosystem is also key. As Forrester principal analyst Jay McBain said in his 2021 channel predictions piece, “Managing a large ecosystem of transacting, non-transacting, traditional, and non-traditional partners requires a blend of general management skills along with alliance management expertise. The ecosystem mindset will involve finding the right partners, providing them with the tools and motivation to grow their businesses, and orchestrating a trusting environment that encourages value creation, co-innovation, and taking advantage of network effects.”
How do vendors identify and nurture winning digitally capable partners in this complex ecosystem?
bChannels has developed a two-step approach to the challenge.
First, we help vendors assess the digital marketing capability and brand engagement of every partner in their network. We then apply ‘partner lens’ analysis to identify and group partners in a way that they can be targeted with appropriate marketing support and digital marketing activities.
Second, based on this analysis, we have developed a set of partner management blueprints for working most effectively with each group of partners and maximizing campaign success. These enable vendors to plan and execute campaigns that engage partners with exactly the right content, tools and level of support they need to succeed – either directly or in partnership with a third-party provider of packaged or concierge services.
Even with our marketing capability assessment and selection process, a vendor may still have an ecosystem of several hundred channel partners who need guidance and support, and the nature and depth of this engagement varies from partner to partner. It is impossible for a vendor to provide dedicated support to each partner. This is why outsourced concierge services are growing in popularity as an efficient way of nurturing your channel by supporting digital marketing planning, execution, lead generation and campaign performance.
Ultimately, our goal is to help vendors build the right relationships with the right channel partners, based on their strategic fit, level of engagement, and particular strengths. We help ensure the right balance between encouraging partners to make the most of automation platforms and tools, and engage in real human interaction where it’s needed.
Read more about the bChannels targeted approach to through-partner campaign execution by downloading our white paper, 'Building the right relationships with the right channel partners: a targeted approach to through-partner campaign'