What is partner ecosystem and how can your business benefit from it by enhancing customer experience through collective innovation by partners in this digital world? Read on to learn how can you leverage this fairly novel yet thriving concept.
There’s much talk in the town around the concept partner ecosystem. An ecosystem has been a term that we have been familiar with since our childhood days. In layman’s terms, it simply means a community that includes organisms that engage each other for various needs. In the case of partner ecosystems, it is similar wherein businesses join hands with each other with a purpose. Essentially, the purpose for every stakeholder in such an ecosystem remains revenue generation.
But revenue generation isn’t simple and the customer experience needs to be seamlessly enjoyable to attain the feat. Hence, to elevate customer experience and make it streamlined, the partner ecosystem is a thriving model to rely on. Hence, business-to-business partnerships turn out to be a community that together uplifts customer experience and enhances revenue generation, creating a win-win situation for all the stakeholders.
The concept has only progressed with the operations going digital decade over a decade now. Some prime examples of partner ecosystems include online marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba, and tech giants and their products like SAP, Salesforce, Marketo, etc. You might for instance feel that what is it for you if you don’t see yourself as a partnership manager. However, soon you will realize that without partners, you are left floating all alone in the large storm-laden seas of customers. If you want to tap into the right customers and generate revenue aggressively, being part of a healthy business network in the new-age digital era is a mandate.
If you are investing your time and resource in it, it will certainly help you reap benefits. Here’s how you can learn ways to leverage partnerships in enhancing your business value proposition:
Why Partner Ecosystem? A Company builds its sales strategy to maximize its product reach to the end users. To meet its targets and bottom line, the company follows either or both of the two paths in which a company markets its products, i.e., B2C and B2B.
Focusing on the B2B strategy, sales thrive by building a network of distributors and partners. Partners are further categorized as Authorized Partners (AP) and Value Added Partners (VAP). The difference between AR Partners and VAP is simple. AR partners are mostly opportunist partners who may connect with the company for 1 -2 deals, whereas VAP is partners who focus on the product and services of the company and consistently deliver business to the company. Both parties are equally important given the dynamic of business that they both bring. It’s at your behest, how you want to partner with both of them strategically.
- Optimizing Customer Journey
Reliability always works. Turning a prospective lead into a customer starts way before your initial pitch to them. It starts with an affiliated partner being a touchpoint for the prospective customer of your business. Given their existing relationship with the partner, they make little effort to get into details about your product/ service. Seeing the partnership of your brand and service with a partner with whom they have had a lifelong relationship, the trust factor accentuates thereby enhancing the customer experience even before executing the sale. For example, you make a cold call for your product can be annoying to the customer, but seeing your product displayed at one of their frequently visited shops can make it easier for them to invest in your product.
- Using Technology at its Best
Following the pandemic and the subsequent locked-down lifestyle, businesses have seen unexplored strengths that the digital sphere has helped them connect and prosper. Aiding B2B partner ecosystem, technology helps businesses to leap quicker. The modern-day customer now needs everything at their fingertips. But, how to know whether your product/ service can be made available to them through the digital route?
Partner Ecosystems lets you understand a user’s journey and help you tap the right customer base through research of their behavior across platforms/ websites. These are stored in cookies format by each site and then communicated across the channel partners whose websites the customers may potentially visit.
- Focus on End-to-End Collaboration
Setting a streamlined business goal can help strategize collaboration with partners better. Listing out similar objectives while engaging with each other on different models will streamline operations while reducing friction due to contrasting individualistic goals.
- Co-innovation is the Key
To try and collaborate to understand the customer’s pain points and deliver on the same through an enhanced collective approach is better. Brainstorming together is the key requirement to be on toes to match with customers’ needs which in turn translates to the growth of one and all in the partner ecosystem. Hence, innovation with a joint approach is beneficial for all stakeholders to collectively thrive.
- Scalable Partnership
Say you have understood your customers’ individual needs and have a robust mechanism to recognize and reward each partner for their degree of contribution to the partner ecosystem. Now to keep the results persistent, you must look at expanding in scale. Hence you must have an increased focus on working with your partners across multiple channels to tap into an increasing customer base and making them a part of your building community.
While Partner Ecosystems are still in a nascent stage of adoption in India, there have been certain firms that have been helping corporates to better tap their customers through partners in this digital world. With over 2 decades of experience in working with Partner Organizations, Distribution, and Principal Companies, I have been delivering seamless partner experience.
With a key focus on partnering as Resource Desk – I offer both inbound and outbound toll-free contact numbers for partners across the globe for real-time assistance on Programs, Competency Training, and Internal System Access Resolution. Maximizing MDF utilization for increased returns in Lead and Demand Generation programs is all that partners seek. My extensive expertise in measuring performance and degree of involvement of each partner, I ensure that everyone is recognized and compensated fairly for their efforts, hence creating a growing ecosystem. Notably, I am running a contract center for a globally leading IT Hardware Manufacturing company and providing information across APJ to their partners.
Partner ecosystems will only thrive with time and integration of your services with those offered by your partners is all that you required in the virtually connected world.
(The author is Mr. Arif Kazi, Managing Director and Founder of Dust Value and the views expressed in this article are his own)