How today’s current climate has changed the channel
The past few years have brought massive change to the channel and that change means there has never been a more important time to look at ideas to engage your partners in new ways.
Change has always been a constant blowing through the channel. Add in a pandemic and there has been an obvious shift in the way the channel operates. Human-to-human interaction has dropped, events have moved from physical to virtual and, with travel off the cards, partners now have a little more time to engage, virtually at least.
A change in habit is here to stay
It’s hard to miss that most people are now working from home. And by now, we’re all experts at remote working. Some of us haven’t even taken off our robes.
Working from home, and the wider pandemic issues, have changed the way we interact with our co-workers, channel partners and customers. According to McKinsey research, videoconferencing is up 51% among sales reps and 70-80% of B2B decision makers prefer remote human interaction or digital self-service. A conversation that would otherwise be had over the phone, is now a ‘face-to-face’ – albeit remote – interaction. It provides a little more body language and personal insight than usual – and maybe even the occasional addition of a child or a pet – as we venture into the homes of our audiences and gain a peek into the lives of those we work with.
Meanwhile, online training and webinars have replaced events and travel has been cut to almost zero as online engagement becomes the new status quo for channel events. Your partner’s attention is online, and it’s there to stay. Now it’s time to meet them where they are at.
The new digital reality – how do we engage
So if working online is the preferred way to do business, how do we optimise engagement?
Online engagement programs provide a common home base to connect with partners frequently and incorporates multiple communication mediums, from webinars to email. It’s a streamlined approach to engaging your partners online, consistently.
Given the uncertainty around economic recovery, McKinsey research also recommends companies consider basing their targets on a set of different scenarios. By leveraging an engagement program you can easily reward behaviours that support the recovery process.
For example, end customers may not be readily signing up for new technology investments during this period of uncertainty. Shifting a greater portion of your channel incentives to reward new client leads, rather than new customers, ensures the front of the sales funnel is fully loaded with qualified leads that are ready to be converted – and helps keep reps optimistic for the next phase.
You can also use this time to dial up the focus on partner enablement, rewarding them with points, or cash rewards when they complete trainings, webinars, claim sales, take quizzes... the list goes on.
Streamline these activities in your one-stop engagement portal. Motivate them to engage more and grow their points balance by having them unlock rewards when they reach x number of points.
The time is right
Now more than ever we need to consider how we engage with our channel in this new digital reality.
Traditional ‘feet on the street’ account management has dropped significantly and research suggests direct B2B sales is here to stay. Self-serve and remote interactions have made things easier and more efficient for buyers. If it’s working for the channel, lets meet them where they are at.
As the industry shifts to an almost completely online experience, the time is right to make sure your partners are engaged online. Now that you have the channel’s attention, it’s time to capitalise on their behaviour and engage them even more with an online engagement program.
Working online can have its ups and downs. Its important to capitalise on the loyalty and engagement of channel partners by keeping motivation high. An engagement program is a sure-fire way to frequently communicate to channel partners and allow them access to all your product related activities in one easy-to-use platform. Reward them for their loyalty and they will show up.
Talk to us today to learn more about our loyalty engagement programs and start engaging your partners.