Concentrate on five core capabilities to attract and retain customers.
In today’s rapidly changing world, it’s more important than ever as a channel to stand out from the crowd.
Cloud providers, independent software vendors, distributors and original equipment manufacturers (referenced collectively as providers) are all looking at data to measure their partner’s capabilities. Data and relative performance enable new ways of segmentation through channel programs and finely targeted use of marketing investments to the right partners to accelerate share and growth.
This article outlines the capabilities that providers are starting to track and measure and focuses on five core capabilities that you need to know about. These capabilities are
- Inside-Out — How customers see you.
- Outside-In — How and why customers come to you.
- Digital Impact — Your relative digital performance.
- Social Media — Your reach and ability to connect to new audiences.
- Customer Experience — How easy it is to do business with you.
Your website tells both your customers and your upstream partners everything they need to know about you. It’s extremely easy to track and measure your web site, get insights into what you promote and who you promote. This can be indicative of your focus with one provider over another, one solution over another and one industry over another. It can be used to track loyalty or when providers recruit, to input into their prioritized list. Review your own web site regularly and ensure it is clear about:
- The products/services and solutions you offer to customers.
- Segments and geographies that you serve.
- Industries that you specialize in.
- Key relationships and partnerships.
Organic search data is indicative to how and why customers find you in search queries. The investment you make in SEO/SEM through key word optimization can demonstrate a clear value proposition for your providers’ services and your affinity with them, and serve as a clear indicator for a provider of where best to place marketing investments.
- Regularly track your own web site performance relative to key words searches.
- Compare your organic performance relative to that of your competitors to ensure you get the customer interest first.
There are many third-party tools that can track millions of web sites for key performance indicators. These KPIs show relative ranking of companies within a country, capture the number of visitors, the number of unique visitors, paid versus organic traffic and items trending over time for given domains. It’s good to focus on continuous improvement, which can include things such as:
- Track your own web site on a regular basis to ensure it’s on an upward trend.
- Track and add key words that are driving traffic and compare your site’s relative performance against your competitors.
- Invest in backlinks to promote your site.
Social media offers different journeys for your buyers. Your buyers or buyer influencers are changing, and many are coming from younger demographic groups. They need to be engaged through an omni-channel experience that includes social media. So, consider the following social media services:
- LinkedIn is becoming a highly effective way of building out new B2B relationships. To shine as a leader of your business or as a steward of your company brand, consider the following for LinkedIn:
- Ensure your company profile is up to date.
- Promote key leaders within your business, which is important as potential providers try to recruit you.
- Both for your personal and for your company profile, build out a strategy to add connections/followers.
- Be a consistent poster of content and a thought leader. Your perspective customers will get to know what you and your company are about.
- Twitter and Facebook are additional ways to promote and advertise your services to new audiences. As providers, it’s important to assess your footprint and reach, as it is another way to demonstrate your multiple customer journey paths to new prospective customers.
Customer Experience (CX)
Finally, if you are a reseller and providing ecommerce capabilities through your web site, consider the experience of the end customer. Ensure that customers have an easy pathway to find products, review offerings and a seamless experience all the way through to checkout.
As a channel partner you need to be aware of how providers are using public data today to differentiate and prioritize their channel of the future. Over the next few years, you will start to see channel programs adapt, evolve and start to reward those partners that exhibit some or even all these new digital capabilities. Don’t get left behind.