I’ve been on a tear lately and I can’t seem to get AI, Artificial Intelligence, out of my head. No pun intended. I’m just fascinated (consumed) by the concept and the implications this has on any content that is created for human consumption. I see a future where the only way you will be sure you are talking to a human is when you are physically face to face, in person.

ChatGPT is one of the fastest growing platforms in the world, racking up 100M users in just 2 months, compared to Instagram at 2.5 years, and Spotify at 6 years! AI isn’t new, so why the sudden burst of interest? I think because of timing and market fit.

Now that AI vendors have figured out mainstream applications, people are watching. And investing. Google invested in platform Anthropic for a 10% stake in late 2022 for $300M, that puts Anthropic’s market value at $3B. The catch?  Anthropic is still in closed beta. Meanwhile, Microsoft just launched an AI-powered Bing search engine. In the words of Jeffrey Moore, we have crossed the chasm.

So, what does this mean for channels and partners? I think an AI-Driven Channel is just around the corner and will be the biggest disruption we have seen in quite a while as AI-driven partner management will help to streamline and improve efficiency of partner management tasks, analyze large amounts of data, and make predictions based on that data.  AI is transforming the way businesses interact with their customers and partners.

Imagine what AI can bring to the channel:

  • Partner Profiling – AI will help vendors identify the best partners in your ecosystem on a variety of leading and lagging indicators, markets, fit and program performance.
  • Partner Insights – AI will help vendors monitor performance of their partners along a variety of metrics and provide insights as to what partners are the best fit.
  • Partner Management – AI will help vendors improve the accuracy of the data they collect and analyze on their partners to gain a deeper understanding of their partners and provide a better experience overall.
  • Compliance Management – AI will automate the collection and analysis of partner performance to provide real time dashboards and take actions based on metrics.
  • Funnel Management – AI will analyze sales data and provide more accurate real-time forecasting, just-in-time resourcing and decision making.
  • Lead Management – AI will be able to score leads and match them to the most appropriate partner based on past success with similar leads.
  • Business Insights for Partners – AI will help partners optimize the customer success experience to analyze customer behavior, demographics, and purchasing history to provide a more complete understanding of the customer. This information can then be used to create more targeted and personalized marketing campaigns, which can increase engagement and improve conversion rates.
  • PRM Platforms – AI will completely shake up this industry because when the platform suddenly knows who the partner user is, what they are all about, where they can make the biggest impact, suddenly the relevance of the interaction is so highly customized the user will find it nearly impossible not to engage. Gone will be the days of rigid, boxed-in, one-size-fits-all solutions.  Welcome to the era of “customized for me”.
  • Data Strategy – I don’t think I’ve come across one vendor who has perfect data on their company, their partners, and their customers. Siloed databases will be a thing of the past as AI lets us just feed the AI engine the information and the AI platform will organize for us and make all the data actionable and insightful.  Over time, AI will be a predictor of success and a provider of next steps.
  • Customer Success – AI brings this to new heights. Imagine helping your partners understand how best to service your joint customers, not just providing telemetry data, but proactively finding and nurturing potential new opportunities within your joint accounts.

Of course, this new promise land of channel strategy and partner management comes with a cost. There are no platforms or plug ins that do all of the above. Just like any other business disruption, options are popping up daily and eventually the best will rise to the top, ready for you to invest. You can prepare by having you a clear and well-defined strategy for using AI in channels. Businesses must determine what they hope to achieve with AI, as well as how they plan to measure the success of their efforts. This will help to ensure that AI-driven channel management initiatives are aligned with overall business goals and objectives.

So, what is an “AI-Driven Channel?”  In the words of ChatGPT:

AI-driven channel management is an exciting and rapidly evolving area that has the potential to transform the way businesses interact with their customers and partners. With the ability to automate routine tasks, analyze large amounts of data, and personalize the customer experience, AI can help businesses improve efficiency, increase revenue, and drive business growth.

AchieveUnite is a partner performance company built by experts with extensive leadership experience in channel strategy, program development, partner ecosystems, go-to-market models, leading edge education and management coaching. We empower companies and individuals to create value-driven, lifetime partnerships and drive transformational business results through Partner LifeTime Value®. Reach out to us to learn more!