During May 2021 Gartner ran its CSO Conference. A key theme was AI. The future of B2B sales is around scalability and automation. Michele Buckley, VP Analyst at Gartner said that: “If you haven’t started looking at AI, you’re going to be left behind in 6 months.”
This is an issue just as much for the sales process required to develop channel partners as it is for end-customer sales. Yet, for many channel sales professionals AI can look like a ‘futures’ issue: it’s hard to see the relevance this quarter. But smart indirect sales organizations are finding ways to use AI that drive immediate benefits. How are they doing this?
Scalability and automation are hugely important for many sales organizations, particularly in relation to ‘digital buyer journeys’. That’s where customers access on-line resources before engaging with a sales professional. Most of us are aware of the importance of technology in this area.
However, less well understood is the importance of technology and AI when it comes to managing partner data and predicting the behaviour of channel partners. By understanding and predicting partner behaviour we can invest in sales activities that will increase short-term revenue.
It’s all about mapping. Smart data tools can segment channel partners based on the way that they present their offer to end customers and how they position a vendor within that offer. We call this the ‘partner lens’.
At bChannels we use our Intelligent IndexTM partner capability database to measure partners on two axes:
Using AI, we analyze thousands of keywords that tell the 'story' of every partner's capability to deliver. Using the Capability and Commitment measurements shown in the quadrant above we can generate analysis that segments partners based on how best to drive sales. The outcome - the right partners are matched with the right activities based on this insight.
Smart sales organizations are customising sales activities to the right partners, using products and services such as our own Growth CapabiltyTM that leverages Intelligent Index,. For some partners – most likely those with high ‘commitment’ scores – lead referral and joint selling are relevant. For other partners – most likely those with lower ‘commitment’ scores – discount incentives and deal registration will be more relevant.
Data and segmentation is as important to sales as it is to marketing. Targeting the right types of sales activity to the right partners saves money and increases revenue opportunity. AI is a key enabler.
To learn more about how AI can help identify your revenue growth opportunities, download our White Paper Finding Revenue Growth Hotspots
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