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How to Build a Partner Program That Will Win Partner Mindshare 

The pandemic caused economic upheaval and dramatic changes in the sales landscape that we’re feeling the effects of today. The acceleration of digital transformation, emergence of new technology, and rising customer expectations have provided partners with more choices than ever.  

It’s no surprise that the increasingly tech-savvy customers of today expect integrated, customized technology-driven solutions that are highly relevant to their needs. The scales have tipped, and it is no longer feasible for providers and channel managers to assume that they have the upper hand in dictating the terms of their relationship with partners. 

Rather than navigating unchartered waters themselves, it’s essential for providers and channel managers to create value collectively with partners. But how can you adapt your channel program to help partners respond to changing customer needs? 

Here are three steps for building a partner ecosystem to support your partners’ business goals.  

1. Co-innovate for growth  

The technology industry is highly competitive and ever-changing, which can make keeping up a challenge. To come out on top of the future market, companies need to be agile in developing new ideas and solutions that address customer needs.  

Accenture reports that the ability to innovate is the number one consideration for partners when choosing their desired providers, and 83% of partners are ready to pivot their business and grow in an ecosystem that fosters innovation. Continuous innovations mean your partners are able to offer custom-fit experiences that are relevant to end consumers, which results in greater sales and growth.  

It can be overwhelming to identify key areas that are ripe for innovation, but by leveraging your partners’ on-the-ground information, as well as advanced technologies like AI and automation, it becomes easier to create a win-win plan to gain considerable market share.  

Find out more: Use a cutting-edge business intelligence tool like Impartner’s Channel Intel+ to extract crucial insights on what drives partner revenue and makes them profitable.  

2. Co-invest for the future         

Partners are constantly expanding roles across the customer journey, moving from customer discovery to renewals. Thus, it’s necessary for companies to evaluate their co-investment model to include partner contributions. There are many ways for co-investing but stimulating investments that drive innovation is key to growing the partner ecosystem further.  

Traditionally, co-investments between partners and providers include Market Development Funds (MDFs) and co-marketing budget allocations to drive the demand for solutions. However, today’s imperative is for providers to dive deep into market innovation funds, and equip partners with financial and non-financial resources that will help them identify, define, and build collaborative offerings.  

Non-financial incentives are also an emerging co-investment method for providers to capitalize on ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. This can be applied by giving partners other perks, such as engineering support on solutions or data insights to grow their business further.  

Learn more: Increase transparency into your incentive program structure and increase partner motivation with Impartner’s Program Compliance Manager.  

3. Collaborate at scale  

The end-to-end customer experience is a value that people are purchasing – making provider-to-partner collaboration more important than ever. This means that your success as a provider is highly dependent on the role you play within the partner ecosystem.  

A study by Dimension Data showed that 84% of businesses that have devoted resources to enhancing customer experience have seen an increase in revenue. So how do you ensure that you’re helping your partners gain more opportunities and deliver customer experience that makes a difference?   

57% of partners have indicated that the biggest benefit of collaboration is the ability to create more complete solutions to meet customers’ needs. As a provider, you are responsible for the interoperability of your product. By ensuring that your products are compatible with your partners’ offerings, you are proactively helping to grow new businesses.  

One of the biggest challenges that partners face when collaborating with other partners is coordinating solution development across different parties. As orchestrators of the ecosystem, providers are in a unique position to provide accessible documentation that enables partners to build on your platform and the tools for solution development. By leveraging a collaborative development platform, your partners can offer products and solutions that create positive, lasting customer experiences.  

When it comes to choosing a solution-driven technology provider to work with, partners are interested in a holistic package of skills and capabilities. Partners look for providers who can provide them with training and learning, as well as additional value across the partner journey. 

An example of this is using co-branded marketing collateral so your partners can easily market your published content to their customers, while ensuring that the integrity of your brand is kept. Partners are empowered to utilize your published content more frequently when it’s readily available at their fingertips.  

Automate partner relationship management with ease  

Providers must foster an ecosystem of co-innovation, co-investment and collaboration to enable a frictionless experience that increases partner mindshare. By creating a partner program that is supported by data analytics and applied intelligence, providers are helping partners grow with changing customer demands.  

At the heart of this is your Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solution. It enables automation of the entire process so you can build effective provider-partner relationships that put customer experiences first. Not sure how it works? See Impartner PRM in action