Leading channel vendors are focusing more on partner success. They understand that one of the keys to building strong, long-term relationships with partners is the joint delivery of customer success, which leads to partner success, and ultimately vendor success. Long-term vendor/partner relationships are driven by mutual success that is achieved by delivering meaningful customer outcomes. This joint customer success results in sustained revenue, improved customer advocacy, and strong value propositions for vendors and partners. Partners should be an extension of a vendor’s customer success strategy.

Vendors enable partner success by ensuring they can profitably leverage their expertise in solving customer challenges. This includes assisting partners in the development of competencies and specializations that create differentiation for them in the market. To provide this enablement, vendors must understand each partner’s business strategy, product/services offering, and customer value proposition. Prescriptive partner journeys should be established to help partners grow their business. These journeys chart a course from a partner’s current state (i.e. competencies) to their aspirational state.

Partners are an extension of a vendor’s Customer Success strategy. By providing partners with services, programs, tools, and skillsets to help them build their own Customer Success organizations, they are facilitating the delivery of a cohesive customer experience.

Vendors will not be able to influence success equally for all partners. Refinement of target partner profiles is required to optimize partner success programs. The quality of partner relationships take president over the quantity of partners.

Partner success requires alignment with the partner’s business goals. Vendor/Partner joint planning can help ensure alignment with these goals.

  • Target markets (horizontal / vertical)
  • Solutions, products, and services
  • Value proposition and differentiation in their markets
  • Customer success strategy
  • Marketing strategy
  • Sales methodology

Partner success programs can help partners meet their business objectives by providing the following elements.

  • Training & Enablement
  • Sales Support / Co-Selling
  • Joint marketing
  • Joint Planning
  • Demand Generation
  • Partner Relationship Automation

In addition to assisting in the delivery of an optimal experience for the end-customer and enabling partner success, vendors must also provide an effective and efficient partner experience. This includes simplifying, streamlining, and automating channel program interactions (partner ease of doing business).  Many partners consider ‘ease of doing business’ of more importance than profitability when they evaluate their vendor relationships.

In summary, customer success is critical to vendor and partner success. By enabling partner success, vendors can build long-term partner relationships that drive sustained revenue, improved customer advocacy, and strong value propositions for vendors and partners. Enabling partner success requires

  • Understanding partner business objectives
  • Providing enablement services
  • Ensuring an effective and efficient partner experience