This month I sat down for a candid conversation with Jessica Baker, our Chief Programs Officer and AI Expert, to dive deeper into the AI Driven Channel and how it’s transforming technology companies.

Theresa: Today I’d like to dig deeper with you into what the AI-Driven Channel means to technology companies working with channel partners. Would you give us a brief overview of AI’s potential in this context?

Jessica: Hey, Theresa.  Absolutely. AI will revolutionize the way we all do business, including how we manage and collaborate with partners.  I can see just about every aspect of how we currently manage the business of partnering and benefiting from AI.  Think about a data strategy that is fueled by AI. Access to information, partner profiling, compliance, lead management, partner success, all of this will benefit from AI.  It helps us leverage data, automate processes, and streamline collaboration, ultimately boosting our mutual success and growth.

Theresa: We are helping companies think differently about how to leverage the power of AI.  Can you provide a specific example of how AI can improve partner relationships?

Jessica:  Let’s take Partner Marketing, and I’m using this because I think it is the first place to see this in a commercial application.  AI allows marketing materials to become hyper-personalized and relevant to individual partners.  Not only are we doing the cobrand with a logo placement, but things like partner value proposition, colors, images, style, and call to action, all of this can be personalized to the partner, making the co-marketing motion super relevant to the partner’s audience, while maintaining the vendor’s key messages.  The result?  No two partners will send the same stale email campaign or have the same landing page again.  All this happens at scale, which means quickly reaching more customers with relevant messages and offers!

Another area is predictive analytics. AI can analyze historical sales and partner performance data to forecast trends and opportunities. For instance, it can help us identify which products are likely to perform best within specific partner networks and customer segments. By sharing these insights with our partners, we help them optimize their strategies, collaborate with us, and create joint wins.

Theresa: Agreed! Those types of partner marketing initiatives using AI are essential for any channel program and partnership. What about day-to-day operations?

Jessica: AI will streamline daily operations.  Think about a virtual assistant that can handle routine partner requests, freeing up team members to focus on more strategic activities.  One client I worked with recently estimated that 60% of their CAMs time was spent answering such queries.  Imagine freeing up your CAMs to work on strategic work rather than chasing tactical requests.  You’d double your productivity at least.  AI will also come to your rescue with onboarding partners, reducing administrative tasks, increasing transparency, and providing real-time reports.

Theresa: Trust is definitely a cornerstone in partner relationships and something we are experts at!   How does AI contribute to building and maintaining trust?

Jessica: Our first example of AI building trust was in operations. AI also enhances trust through security and compliance measures. It can continuously monitor partner activities, detect anomalies, and trigger alerts when potential issues arise. This ensures that the partnership remains secure and compliant with agreed-upon terms, which builds and maintains trust.

Theresa: Can AI assist with personalization?

Jessica: AI excels at personalization. By analyzing partner and customer interactions, it can provide insights on how to tailor offerings and messaging for different partner types and ecosystems. This leads to a better customer experience, which ultimately benefits both our partners and us. I think this is where AI can excel with skyrocketing Partner Experience.  Imagine a PRM that knows who you are, can predict what you need, can perform tasks in real language, can provide a customized experience based on your past interactions, and can suggest next steps, we’ve already talked about marketing materials, now think about training personalized to this level as well.

Theresa: Many have brought up AI data privacy and ethical concerns. How do we address these in our channel partnerships?

Jessica:  It’s definitely a concern.  As with most technical things, there are positive, productive applications and nefarious applications.  So, AI as a whole isn’t new, but the generative AI that is so popular right now is being adopted at record speed and that newness is concerning to most people.  I can see AI policies, just as we’ve seen data policies, becoming a standard set of partnering engagement.  Ethical applications of the benefits AI gives us will be a net positive for our partnering relationships.  Legal agreements must be updated to account for these changes as well. Transparency is key in maintaining trust in this context.

Theresa: Thank you, Jessica, for your great insights. It’s clear that AI has the potential to revolutionize how we collaborate with our channel partners and build trust.

Jessica:  100%, thank you, Theresa.  It is an exciting time for partnering and technology as a whole and I’m thrilled about how the application of AI will revolutionize how we all do business.

I recently spoke about the distrust that AI is creating within society and within communities. It’s therefore very important to reinforce trust, work hard to accelerate trust, and ensure you are deliberate at your companies about ways that you are working with your teams and partners to ensure their trust!  PQI® is a tremendous tool in your tool kit for help with this.

The potential of AI isn’t just limited to day-to-day operations; it extends to personalization, trust-building, and addressing data privacy concerns. As we move forward in this dynamic field, embracing AI promises increased efficiency and, more importantly, strengthens trust within our partner relationships. It’s an exciting journey, and Jessica’s expertise offers valuable insights to both our partners and clients. Stay tuned for more updates and developments, as we continue to leverage AI’s potential to transform our offerings and drive mutual success.

In the past few months, AchieveUnite held two fascinating LinkedIn Lives on this topic. Be sure to check them out if you haven’t already done so: The AI Driven Channel and The AI Marketing Revolution.

How are you embracing AI in your business?