HomeBlog Partner Experience: Insights From SiriusDecisions’ Channel Roundtable

Partner Experience: Insights From SiriusDecisions’ Channel Roundtable

May 10, 2016 | By Kathy Freeman Contreras

  • Partner experience is an area of focus for many suppliers
  • There are five essential building blocks of a positive partner experience
  • Survey partners to get started and establish a benchmark from which to meaure

Periodically, SiriusDecisions organizes roundtable events to offer clients an opportunity to meet and collaborate with peers about topics of mutual interest. We recently met with a number of our channel marketing clients – both vendors and suppliers – at just such an event, and the topic of discussion was partner experience. 

Our discussion was facilitated by Laz Gonzalez, group service director of Channel Management Strategies, and centered on the five pillars of partner experience as outlined in the SiriusDecisions Partner Experience Maturity Model

  1. Product and profitability: strength, pull and financial return on the offered solution
  2. People and alignment: organization attitude, competencies and collaboration
  3. Programs and tools: deliverables that help partners become more successful
  4. Processes and technology: ease with which partners can interact and do business
  5. Promotion and communications: timely and relevant content, messaging and dialogue 

Roundtable with Hands

We had a very engaging and lively discussion as we reviewed each pillar of partner experience in detail. Each channel leader in the room shared his or her company’s partner experience strategy, posed questions to the group, and openly discussed internal and external challenges related to the common aim of establishing excellence in partner experience. As we concluded the event, the attendees self-evaluated their organization’s current level of maturity regarding the five pillars of partner experience (rating on a scale of 1 to 5). 

On average, the companies identified themselves on the lower to middle range of the scale, which was not surprising given that partner experience is an area of growth for most channel organizations. However, the topic of partner experience was clearly top of mind for all. The consensus was that regardless of the organization’s current maturity level, partner experience is a priority and a critical area of focus for each company this year. 

This mirrors the consensus across our channel marketing services client base – that the topic of partner experience has become not just a trendy topic of conversation, but a criterion of channel success and something that is being instituted formally in best-in-class supplier organizations. 

We see this trend continue to gain momentum as more and more suppliers focus on partner experience. Creating and delivering the right partner experience is not easy. The company must transform its culture into one that values partners and their experiences, and identify a channel leader to campaign for partner experience across the organization and with partners. This leader must have the authority to lead internal transformation and embed partner experience in everything the company does – all of which takes time, effort and money. However, superior partner experience can pay significant dividends in the form of higher partner engagement, performance and loyalty – and it can be a true differentiator. 

If you’re a supplier, how is your organization looking at your partners’ experience? Is this an area of focus for you this year? If so, how are you addressing this goal? 

If you’re a partner, do you think the suppliers you work with are making efforts to establish and improve the experience of doing business with them? Are these efforts having a positive impact?

Watch the video below to learn more about our channel marketing and management sessions at Summit this month in Nashville! 

Kathy Freeman Contreras

Kathy is a passionate marketing and channel professional with nearly 20 years of global experience in defining market and channel strategy and deploying related programs. Her expertise is in devising partner marketing strategy, assessing channel/operational readiness, building global channel programs and driving channel success in accelerated timeframes across strategic alliances, system integrators, solution/service providers, distribution, original equipment manufacturers, independent software vendors and developer partners.

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