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Nuzoo Blog: 2021 – The year of the partner experience (PX)

This week we’ve been chatting about something that’s all too often overlooked in the channel – the partner experience (PX).

You may have already heard of the inverse channel – it’s a model which places the buyer and the partner at the heart of the relationship. It is a world away from the vendor-dictated model with which we’re all familiar.

This new approach, which puts the needs of the buyer and the partner first, was the subject of a session at Impartner’s 3D Virtual Summit yesterday.

There are excellent reasons to look at this model more closely: according to Forrester analyst Jay McBain, “Brands that provide an enhanced partner experience grow faster than their peers, are more profitable and drive higher customer satisfaction and retention downstream.”

As such, the partner experience is going to emerge as a priority in the very near future.
The first step is to establish a buyer-aligned channel strategy is understand buyer needs and preferences to develop a true solution orientation. Forrester’s Maria Chien said it’s important to put the buyer and the partner at the forefront of every conversation.
How can vendors do this? Talk to your partners.

“We speak to many vendors and one of my first questions is always, ‘when was the last time you asked your partners what they needed?’ Vendors have become so entrenched in their own world of believing that their product, or service, or solution is the best, that they’ve lost sight of who is selling it for them. And that’s a dangerous thing to have happened,” said Purechannels and Nuzoo’s Glenn Robertson.

Glenn believes that successful firms will be those that realise that their differentiator is less about the tech, and more about the people.

“How they educate and enable people to go out and sell their stuff is becoming of paramount importance. Vendors are less able these days to stand up on their products, or their tech alone. It is much more about the experience that they give their partner, the understanding that they give their partner, and the way that they support them in going to market.”

Additionally, most partners are starting to become more sophisticated and choosier in who they work with. A lot of their decision is now down to how easy vendors are to work with. How much do they support me? How often do I talk to them? What are they doing to help me sell their stuff?

“This isn’t about partners doing a job for vendors anymore – it’s the other way around. I think it's about vendors doing as much as they can to support their partners in the job that they want to do,” said Glenn.

“The biggest thing that partners can do is demand more of their vendors. There is funding and support available, there are marketing and sales tools available. That’s key to the partner getting what they what.”

Maria said yesterday this new scenario is less now about sales enablement are more about revenue enablement. Vendors must understand and appreciate the lines of revenue that partners can deliver, as opposed to just going out and selling as much as possible.

But this must also be platform-led. “If the platform is right, that’s
a huge enabler in terms of being able to deliver the right partner experience,” said Glenn. “There are many ways of getting that bit wrong. But if the right automation and the right platform is in place, then that gives you a much better chance of being able to deliver an overall better partner experience.”

It also comes down to a matter of egos – vendors have prioritised their own importance, and own experience, for a long time. Making this adjustment to prioritising the partner may take some getting used to, but it must happen if they want to run a successful partner channel in 2021 and beyond.

Author: Christine Horton

Publish Date: 18/12/2020 16:22

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