Let’s talk about integration. With everyone working from home and many offices switching to fully remote positions, we are relying heavily on tools and solutions that help keep our teams connected and our customers happy. If you’re using online communication tools like Slack to chat with your partners or if you’ve invested in management solutions and business planning tools, it is so important that these solutions integrate seamlessly with your channel. Integration partnerships are the key to building better partner relationships, and now more than ever, we need to create a one-stop-shop experience for our partners.
Multi-channel Communication Integration
Whether your program has 25 or 2,500 partners, you need a quick and easy way to communicate with your partners. With a huge increase in remote workers, we have been seeing a rise in multi-channel communication tools like Slack and Teams. Companies are steering away from email and instead of leaning on messaging tools to get real-time conversations started and interact on a quick basis. Working closely with your IT and development team to integrate these communication tools with your current channel will help you manage your team, stay connected, and help send out important notifications to your partners. Whether you are sending a quick message to congratulate partners on finishing their certification, sending reminders to finish training, or simply doing wellness checks on your team, we find there is real value in integrating multi-channel communication tools.
Business Planning Integration
Working with a lot of data can feel challenging and integrating tools into your current channel might sound overwhelming. We find that starting the conversation with your IT and development teams to get the ball rolling is always the hardest part of this integration journey. You might think that integration means building and creating a new portal or user interface for your channel, but a lot of solution providers will license their business planning tools so that you can easily and seamlessly integrate it with your channel. Your IT and development teams will draw from the actual business planning dashboards with a parameter that pivots the data within the dashboard for the partner who’s logged in, while still keeping in mind the partner experience they’re used to with these tools. You will be able to see portal traffic going up, updates on sales and be able to track leads with real-time data right in your channel by integrating your business planning tools.
We have a handful of customers that have CRM integrations with their top partners, yes, it is an IT-heavy integration, but the benefits and high revenue truly outweigh the work involved. Applying a CRM integration in your channel eliminates that swivel chair that so many partners have complained about. How many sales reps are your partners dealing with, how many customers do they have, how many portals are they logging into and how many products do they sell? It’s almost impossible sometimes to get them to go in and register a deal, and in some cases, if you’re dealing with a large partner, they won’t allow their sales team to access another portal. Having some of that back and forth eliminated with CRM integration has proved to be very successful for our customers and has resulted in automated actions that expand the functionality of their portal, eliminating the need to jump back and forth between systems.
You may be surprised at how many channel chiefs are experiencing the same challenges you are. If you would like to meet with and talk to other channel chiefs and find out how they are working through their obstacles, join our Channel Chief and Chill discussions every Wednesday morning at 9 am MST for North America and every Friday morning at 9 am GTM for Europe. You can sign up for your respective region’s discussion here.